Thursday, October 6, 2011
Cinderella, Dressed in Moolah
I subscribe to far, far too many blogs/websites/timesuckers in my RSS feed. Sometime I cull them; most of the time I lose time in them. Some of them are what I call "industry-specific" -- blogs I read because they're pertinent to writing and publishing. Some of them are blogs that feed particular areas of interest for me, feeding my soul, so to speak. And then there's kottke, which linked post featured a nifty little video, Vonnegut on the shape of stories.
I loved that last little bit, where he's illustrating that third story type, which we all know and recognize as Cinderella. How many different cultures have a Cinderella story? I remember watching Saturday morning cartoons, and one of those shows that adapts children's books into a TV episode (or two) had one based on a Chinese Cinderella. I remember being very amazed that there was a Chinese version of Cinderella, and thought it was way too cool, and I think that was my first introduction to how related we all are through stories (yes, I have Campbell on my shelf, two feet from me, in my "to-read" pile). But I digress. What I thought was interesting was where Vonnegut says, at one point, it'll make you a million bucks.
He's right. Look at Harry Potter. If that isn't something of a Cinderella story . . . .
Think about it. Kid loses his parents, is orphaned, and ends up a virutal slave to the family he does end up with. Granted, the Dursleys aren't a stepfamily, but I don't think that really mattered to poor Harry, not while he's scrubbing the floor. Granted, he wasn't sleeping in a bed of cinders, but I don't think the Aga has one of those, so off to the cupboard with you.
I suppose I could go on and point out all the corollaries between Harry Potter and Cinderella, but except for pointing out Hagrid as Fairy Godmother (can anyone else see Hagrid singing, "Bippity-Bobbity Boo"?), that's probably not necessary. But I will point out how Ms. Rowling did make a gajillion bucks with that little Cinderella story of hers. So when I watched that Vonnegut video and thought about Rowling and Cinderella, I wondered if I should make a go of writing a Cinderella story. Except I already wrote one, and it's not so much a Cinderella story as it is a story about what happened after the events of "Cinderella". Honestly, I don't think I have an honest-to-goodness Cinderella story in me, so I'll have to make do with "Ashes", which will be out soon.
(Okay, and you know what should have been in the NEWT level exams? transforming mice into thestrals. That would have been awesome.)