News in Spring 2015

Written by Michelle Tocher.

Step Into A Fairy Tale for the Weekend!


On April 11-12, 2015, I'm delighted to be offering the annual THREADS weekend workshop at the Textile Museum. We'll immerse ourselves in Catherine and Her Destiny, an Italian fairy tale about a young woman whose destiny appears to her one day in the form of a Goddess. The Goddess gives her a choice: "What do you wish? Happiness in youth, or happiness in old age?"

Catherine chooses happiness in old age, which makes for a very interesting tale, and one that prompts all kinds of considerations, including what it means to be happy, and how we've met "fate" and "destiny" in our own lives. 

In the workshop, you'll find your connection to the story through storytelling, writing, and spontaneous re-enactments. Then you'll be given the opportunity to share your "threads" -- and see how this wonderful Italian tale weaves through us.

TIMES: Saturday, April 11, 10 - 4 pm; Sunday, April 12, 1 - 4 pm.
VENUE: The Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Avenue (Dundas St. W & University Ave., St. Patrick subway)
FEE: Early bird $134 (before March 23, 2015); After $150
REGISTRATION: Storytelling Toronto is hosting the workshop, so you can register by going to the Storytelling Toronto website. It's probably a good idea to register soon, because the workshop tends to fill up quickly!

The 13th Wise Woman Speaks

If you go to my recent blog, you'll meet Nancie Patterson, who, in her early 80's, entered the Grimm's story of The Briar Rose, and strongly connected with the 12th wise woman. Once she had done that, she moved into the person of the 13th wise woman, and began an amazing exploration of this excluded character. I had lost the tape of my interview with Nancie, which I made in the mid 1990s, and then, on Friday, February the 13th, the tape turned up. With the help of Gilles' wonderful technical support, we've been able to provide you with selections from the tape, and an overview of Nancie's extraordinary telling.

HIGHLY Recommended Resources

Want to read the original tales collected and retold by the Grimms before the heavy editing that they did between 1812 and 1857?  Then I would highly recommend Jack Zipes new translation of the Grimms: The Complete First Edition of the Brothers Grimm. As Zipes says in his introduction, the stories are "stunning narratives precisely because they are so blunt and unpretentious."  They haven't been "vaccinated" or censored with Christian sentimentality or puritanical ideology, because, at the time the brothers first published, they were keen to reproduce the tales with as much accuracy as possible. Zipes' translation is clear and flowing, and the silhouette illustrations by Andrea Dezno are stunning. 

My other recommendation is Penguin Books' new collection of discoveries: The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Tales, edited by Mara Tatar. The stories, collected by folklorist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth in the 1800's, were found by Erika Eichenseer, who ferreted them from the Regensburg Archives. I haven't yet read the stories, but they are reputed to be "bawdier, racier and significantly more scatological" than the Grimms' 1857 ediition, upending the stereotypical roles of heroines and heroes, and putting us in close contact with the pre-industrial folk imagination. zipes-original

An Easy Way to WonderLit!

As of November 1, 2014, we've been offering WonderLit to you in a way that I hope will be more accessible if you're coming in for the first time. We're offering the WARM UP package for six months, which means that you can do a shorter exploration of a story. By the end of the four chapters, you'll be able to retell your story, you'll understand why it speaks to you, and you'll see the underlying myth the story is challenging.

If you want to do all the levels of the WonderLit course, you can take the JOURNEY package, which will give you all three parts of the course for a year. WonderLit takes you through three levels, each one deeper than the last, and I can say from personal experience that life becomes much more interesting when you're walking with a story that's playing in the background. It's definitely an antidote to boredom or lack of inspiration!

So, if you're circling around WonderLit, consider doing the WARM UP. You'll also get access to the Forum where you can share your writings and thoughts with other WonderLit subscribers.

Want More Information?

If you'd like more information on WonderLit or the courses that are being offered, don't hesitate to contact me. You can also find my books, stories, and more videos on fairy tales here on my main website.