Archive for July, 2020

I am really enjoying THEY, a biblical tale of secret genders. It’s making me want to go back and refresh my memory on how some of these Bible stories have usually been taught. I especially appreciate that you give us a glimpse at so many times when there is a gap between what Tamar is thinking and what she says. I like that there’s a general underlying premise that we can all think about weighty issues like this for ourselves and figure out our own way forward.

—ShellEy Krause



To learn more about my novel THEY, a biblical tale of secret genders (published by Adelaide Books New York/Lisbon), click here

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Yesterday, I got harassed online by someone saying he felt sorry for me because I had to live my life in a fairy tale. After a quick scan of this person’s Twitter page, I determined that he wasn’t conservative. Rather he was just a Negative Nelly — a type that is often found online.

I turned the harassment into a Buddhist exercise and sent him positive energy.  Then I did a mantra of positivity for all the negative people.  And then I ended up sending positive energy to the whole world.

I thought I was done with the entire thing, but my mind kept returning to the idea of fairy tales.  I like fairy tales. And rather than living in them and being trapped by them, in my book it’s okay to inhabit them and change them. It’s okay to wake up and write a different ending.

In my book Tea Leaves, a memoir of mother’s and daughters (Bella Books; 2012), I write about my grandmother working in a textile factory when she was a young woman. Naturally she would have thought about fairy tales. They do connect us and inform us.  I imagine one of the primary purposes of fairy tales was to convince young girls and women that the frog would turn into a prince. All you had to do was to marry him.

In Tea Leaves, my young grandmother is inspired by the rhythms of the heddles in the textile factory to daydream and those daydreams were informed by fairy tales. As a girl, my grandmother had daydreamed about becoming an actress. She went as far as taking bit parts in a neighborhood theater company. But being an actress was a pipe dream.  As my grandmother later — repeatedly, habitually — said to my mother “Art doesn’t put food on the table.” Since she was a young girl, my mother had shown considerable artistic talent.


But my grandmother was right. Art doesn’t usually put food on the table. But it does feed the spirit. So my grandmother worked in a factory. Even as a young young woman raised on fairy tales, she must have realized that the workers were treated badly and paid worse. At the end of her daydream, the rhythm of the heddles turned into the heavy sounds of workers marching in the streets.

My grandmother went on to become a single mother. The frog she married didn’t turn into a prince. And then he left.  She gave birth to my mother, a thwarted artist, a feminist ahead of her time, and a frustrated housewife. My mother gave birth to me. In elementary school, I briefly wanted to be an actress. In high school, I designed silkscreens.  I had a lot of pent up rage in me and I eventually became a writer. It took three generations, but we got there.  And fairy tales were part of the process.

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