Monday, April 18, 2011

Short Story Monday - The Very Best of Charles de Lint Part 2

At turns whimsical, dark, and mystical, this extraordinary collection of retold fairy tales and new, modern myths redefine the boundaries of magic. Compiling favored stories suggested by the author and his fans, this delightful treasury contains the most esteemed and beloved selections that de Lint has to offer. Innovative characters in unexpected places are the key to each plot: playful Crow Girls who sneak into the homes of their sleeping neighbors; a graffiti artist who risks everything to expose a long-standing conspiracy; a half-human girl who must choose between her village and her strange birthright; and an unrepentant trickster who throws one last party to reveal a folkloric tradition. Showcasing some of the finest offerings within the realms of urban fantasy and magical realism, this essential compendium of timeless tales will charm and inspire.
Today is part two of my discussion of The Best of Charles de Lint with Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings. This week he came up with the questions about the tree stories. Enjoy!

Stories Read This Week:
'The Badger in the Bag'
'And the Rafters were Ringing'
'Merlin Dreams in the Moondream'

1. Naming and the power of naming is a really big aspect of "The Badger in the Bag". Did you ever name an inanimate object, like a musical instrument, bicycle, vehicle?
No. I have lots of friends that name their cars and things, but it has never been something I have done. I always think about it, but then never actually do so. Even with my eReader. Apparently one of the companies has a slot where you can name it, so I thought maybe I would name mine. Never done so... I think my computer has a name, but that's only because they make you and I have no idea what it even is. I guess I am like Meran in the early part of the story with this idea.

2. Like the previous Meran stories in this collection, "And the Rafters were Ringing" is set in a time of belief in spirits, both good and evil, (and mischievous). In many ways we are better off living a less superstitious (for lack of a better word) life. What, if anything, do you feel we have lost as a people in not being as open to "magical" things?
Imagination. I have a big imagination and hope to always. It's why I read fantasy and other types of fiction. The other day, though, I was watching a childhood movie and there was a 12-year-old there. By the end of the movie I was shocked because he is still really young, and all he did was criticize the magic of the movie. I have to admit that the movie was sort of ruined because I can see messages that I didn't really see when I was a child, but I still enjoyed the fairies and other magical creatures. And, I could not imagine being 12 and not wanting to believe in those things at all. I think it comes from having ideas and then having them be shot down, so you start to think so logically that you can't see the magic in the world.

3. "Merlin Dreams in the Moondream" wood has a big emphasis on trees. Or one tree in particular. Actually these past 4 stories (with Meran's life tree) have acknowledged an important bond to trees. In what ways have trees played a significant part in your life, imagination, etc.?
I loved this story! I always enjoy Arthurian retellings, though, and I thought that this one was really well written! I have always been a tree person. To this day I constantly look at trees and see more than just the tree. I think that is why I enjoy the Ents in Tolkien's work so much. And, the trees in C.S. Lewis. The trees are alive in a way that is magical and I have always wished that was true. I think that trees have spirit and personality. I refuse to allow the cc to cut down our weeping willow because of the tree in Disney's Pocahontas. It was also one of the aspects of Avatar that I actually enjoyed. The idea that trees are all connected, that they are more than just trees, that they have personalities and feelings of their own... The use of trees in de Lint's stories are one of my favourite things. I believe that is why Meran is growing on me so much!

Previous Weeks:

1 comment:

  1. Actually got mine up early today! :) Early for me, anyway.

    I like the way the LOTR films rendered the trees of Fangorn forest. You hear them grown and their leaves rustle. I also like the way they "moved". You didn't see it happen in the film, but it was no less magical when suddenly the forest was there on the doorstep of Helms Deep, awaiting Saruman's forces. I've always looked at trees as more than trees, but my adult exposure to Tolkien's work certainly heightened that experience.

    I mentioned in my answers on my post that we bought our house because of its trees. Last summer I sadly had to have my favorite of those trees taken down. It had been struck by lightening years before, was being steadily eaten by bugs, was ENORMOUS, and was leaning towards my neighbor's home. I could no longer live with the fear that the tree would fall in a storm and crush the little old lady in her sleep. It was so sad to see it being systematically dismantled, and I miss it very much (expect for the leaves, I don't miss raking those in the fall).

    I agree with what you say about kids and magic. I do think that we discourage our children and their imaginations if we get too busy, too wrapped up in things, or try to be way too "realistic" with them and shoot down their ideas, hopes, dreams. I think it is sad that our entertainment-laden society often exposes young children to images and ideas that they shouldn't have to tackle that early in life, which I think robs them of their childhood and the magic that childhood should hold.


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