Cinderella’s New Year

A Fictional Story by Michelle Tocher It comforts me to think that there are things we can leave behind in the old year.... and somehow, in the tumult of letting go, there's a finding of something essential that will carry us into the year ahead. That's the inspiration...

A Little Solstice Story

Dear friends, The other day, coming down the steps of the subway, I saw a homeless man who was sitting by a pillar with a sign. He had been crying and he was trying to compose himself as people streamed down the escalator. My heart was caught by the sight...

Song of a Spinner

During the 1990s, when I was enduring the worst of the symptoms of chronic pain and fibromyalgia, I moved inward and shifted my attention to the feminine characters in fairy tales. They seemed to know a lot about being cast out of the mainstream and thrown...

Soul-Shocked

The 100th anniversary of Armistice Day has not passed by me unnoticed. This milestone that marks of the end of the First World War is something that I have felt to the core. The day after Remembrance Day, I met with a friend who gave me this link to the Canadian...

Ship of Fools

Lately, I’ve been doing some research on the history of madness and the way the fool is portrayed in literature and fairy tales. The fool has always fascinated me, but especially these days. It’s not difficult to feel that we’re all on a “ship of fools,” floundering...

My Old Friends

At the end of this Thanksgiving weekend, I went looking for an old poem that was coming back to me. I feel the same way today as I felt then about my old friends. This one's for you. My Old Friends Memories bubble light to the surface Pockets of air in a pool— A word,...

Mermaid Wisdom

Here is an improvised recording I made a little while ago. On that morning, a mermaid swam up from my depths to speak. And sing … if you're willing to wait for it!

Sensitivity

At the risk of talking about a sensitive subject, I'd like to offer a fairy tale perspective on "sensitivity." Lately, people have been using the word "sensitive" to describe audiences who are reactive and easily triggered by words that seem to negatively...

Real Nightingales

Lately I’ve been using WonderLit to explore the Anderson story, The Emperor and the Nightingale. You might remember that the story is about a nightingale who is captured and taken to the palace of the Emperor of China. She has a voice of unparalleled...

Speaking with Hansel and Gretel

At the Storytellers of Canada conference in Peterborough this month, Mark Jenkins and I had the privilege of spending the day with a fabulous group of storytellers and exploring the ‘thresholds’ in our fairy tales and lives. As we led the group through the...

Rat Oratio, The Rat’s Speech

A few years ago, when I was exploring Charles Perrault’s version of Cinderella, I had quite an enlightening chat with the rat. You might remember that when the fairy godmother shows up, she puts Cinderella to work. She has to fetch a pumpkin from the field...

What the Bee Knows

According to Pamela Travers, who wrote What the Bee Knows (and Mary Poppins, and a raft of wonderful essays for Parabola magazine) the bee is one manifestation of the miracles that are everywhere in nature. "The natural is enough," she writes....

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