Another Kind of Fairy Tale

Sunday, May 20th 7:07 AM (written about Saturday, May 19th)

While much of the world was watching the fairy tale wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry yesterday morning, I was sharing the day with a group of like-minded folks chasing another kind of dream. Getting their writing published. (By someone other than themselves, that is.)

I attended a seminar taught by Kathie Giorgio on how to market and publish my writing. It was hosted by  All Writer’s Workplace and Workshop  based out of Waukesha, Wisconsin, (although they work with students all over the world).

I’ve taken a lot of writing technique classes in my day. In fact, one of the very first creative writing classes I took that wasn’t a college requirement was taught by Kathie Giorgio, All Writers founder. That was back in spring of 2001. I remember that because a flight attendant sat near me in class and I got to know her a bit. I was worried about her when 9/11 happened a few months later.

Yesterday’s class was different. It was about how to publish with a real life publisher, not a self publisher or Amazon self publishing. We talked about how to submit, where to submit, and what to expect (and not expect — as in a boat load of money) should a piece get accepted.

But I already knew there wasn’t much money in writing. With the rare exception of writers that get large advances from publishing houses (think Stephen King caliber writers) or writers that happen to get movie contracts (Wisconsin author Jacquelyn Mitchard comes to mind) there isn’t a lot of money to be made in writing.

There was another reason 40+ people chose to spend six hours of their day learning about how to get their poetry, short stories or novel into the hands of a magazine or book publisher other than money.

They’re all chasing the dream, the thrill of seeing the words they birthed go out into the  world and speak to others in a way no other writer can. It takes time and sometimes money to learn the craft, but I think it’s a worthy dream.

When I got home and went online I saw the news sites and social media were flooded with another kind of dream. A real present-day fairy tale. The Royal Wedding.  Pictures of Meghan’s dress. What crazy hat was Princess Beatrice going to wear this time? Would Kate have shed the baby weight?

There were some stories about people in the US gathering to watch the wedding together. One site showed some pictures of mothers gathered around the tv sharing the experience of a real life fairy tale unfold with their little girls.

Everyone has dreams, and one isn’t loftier or more deserving of our attention than another. But I’m glad I spent my day with my dream and not the one across the pond.

It’s not that I begrudge the Royals their grandiose wedding or people back here in the US enjoying it. I get that it’s big news for America because the bride is American. Personally, though, the Royals just aren’t my cup of tea.

I wasn’t always such a curmudgeon. In 1981, when Charles wed Diana, I was 14 years old. Almost 15. This was before the internet and social media. I spent hours pouring over newspapers and magazines reading about the couple. I bathed in the romance of it all. A young woman, only five years older than myself, swept off her feet and from her normal life to become a princess and eventual queen.  I even kept a scrapbook of the news clippings which I still have, although I don’t know why I keep it.

It’s sad now to look at the picture of Diana knowing how her fairy tale ended. How she must have been thinking she was marrying her prince when in reality she was just cast in a role she didn’t even know she auditioned for; the ingenue that would save the prince from himself. Classic fairy tale plot line.

I even remember a tv broadcast the morning of wedding that discussed how a doctor had examined Diana to ensure she was a virgin prior to marrying Charles. Fourteen-year-old me had no issues with this even though I knew the stories about Charles romancing women all through the 1970’s.  It was fine for a woman to held to a more rigid standard than a man. The monarchy couldn’t let some slut bear the heir to the throne, could they?

Some fairy tales can be dangerous to young minds. And to young women.

Diana’s fairy tale didn’t end well as we all know. Some believe it cost her her life. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I think it’s fair to say it cost her her happiness. She never had a chance of saving Charles from himself. He never wanted to be saved in the first place. I do think she shook things up a bit for the monarchy.

Now times have changed, right? After all, yesterday the Royal Family accepted a bi-racial, divorced American actress into their ranks. Except that we have to note that she’s divorced and Bi-racial and the monarchy is still accepting her into the fold. Now if she could just be Meghan Markle marrying Prince Harry without her back story, I’d be more inclined to believe the change is real.

Is that the monarcie’s fault or the news media’s fault for calling attention to it? I’m not sure. I can’t help but wonder, though, if Meghan would have been given the same welcome by the Royals had she been marrying Prince William who will become king and bears the heirs to the throne, instead of marrying Prince Harry who is very unlikely to ever take the throne.

There’s the curmudgeon coming out in me again.

I do hope Meghan ends up happy in her new role. Considering she’ll be living under public scrutiny, palace rules and abandoning her acting career I’m not sure how that will work out of her. Maybe there’s other aspects of the fairly tale I don’t know about that will compensate?

That’s the things about dreams and fairy tales. One never knows if they will actually come true. And if they do, will we want them to? One think I do know is that I’m still going to keep working on mine

8:16 am (darn! Eight minutes over today.)

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