So, there you have the weekly update of work on this graphic novel. I intend to extend it further next week as I work on the scanning and the putting pieces together to get a clear and well-reproduced comic product. I will re-post these pages and the added pages each Saturday as I work towards completing this unfinished work.
I have always thought of myself as a science fiction writer. I admit that in 2006 I realized that my province was not serious science fiction, but rather humor-driven science fiction.
In 2015 I wrote Magical Miss Morgan, a novel about being a teacher, but basically also a fairy tale. So, I guess, with fairies invading my fiction and magically taking over at least half the stories they are part of, I am turning into a fantasy humorist rather than a straight science fiction writer.
I am at the moment re-reading my novel Magical Miss Morgan for Goodreads.com now that it has reached publication in 2018. I am experiencing all the cringes and all the “oh, no!’s” of being a writer in print. You end up thinking, “How could I have been so stupid as to write THAT?” way more often than is good for your continued mental well-being. But I am also still tickled by and laughing at the best jokes and funnies in the novel, at least enough to know it is (however self-delusional it is to say this) still a good book.
But that book is not the end of the fairy invasion. Oh, no. In 2016 I wrote the book Recipes for Gingerbread Children. This book was not only about an old German woman and holocaust survivor who is a very good teller of fairy tales, but also about the fairies of Tellosia who live nearby and invisibly attend to her constantly. She even creates for them a whole race of magical gingerbread men fairies.
This book is currently a part of the Inkitt novel contest and is available to read for free on their site this month. Here is the link; Recipes for Gingerbread Children. You can actually read the whole thing, and hopefully review it to help me get the needed buzz to get it published through Inkitt.
So, why fairies? I have to admit… I don’t know. I think I have been be-spelled, bewitched, and serious glammered with pixie dust.
I grew up in a small rural town in North Central Iowa. It was a place that was, according to census, home to 275 people. That apparently counted the squirrels. (And I should say, the squirrels were definitely squirrelly. They not only ate nuts, they became a nut.) It was a good place to grow up in the 60’s and 70’s. But in many ways, it was a boring place.
Yes, there were beautiful farmer’s daughters to lust after and pine for and be humiliated by. There was a gentle, supportive country culture where Roy Rogers was a hero and some of the best music came on Saturdays on Hee Haw where there was a lot of pickin’ and grinnin’ going on. There were high school football games on Friday nights, good movies at the movie theaters in Belmond and Clarion, and occasional hay rides for the 4-H Club and various school-related events like Homecoming.
I lived in a world where I was related to half the people in the county, and I knew at least half of the other half. People told stories about other people, some of them incredibly mean-spirited, some of them mildly mean, and some of them, though not many, that were actually good and actually true. I learned about telling good stories from my Grandpa Aldrich who could tell a fascinating tale of Dolly who owned the part of town called locally “Dollyville” and included the run-down vacant structure the kids all called the Ghost House. He also told about Dolly’s husband, Shorty the dwarf, who was such a mean drunk and went on epic temper tirades that often ended only when Dolly hospitalized him with a box on the ear. (Rumor had it that there were bricks in the box.)
And I realized that through story-telling, the world became whatever you said that it was. I could change the parts of life I didn’t love so much by lying… er, rather, by telling a good story about them. And if people heard and liked the stories enough, they began to believe and see life more the way I saw it myself. A good story could alter reality and make life better. I used this power constantly as a child.
There were invisible aliens invading Iowa constantly when I was a boy. Dragons lived in the woods at Bingham Park, and there were tiny little fairy people everywhere, in the back yard under the bushes, in the attic of the house, and building cities in the branches of neglected willow trees.
I reached out to the world around me as an artist, a cartoonist, and a story-teller and plucked details and colors and wild imaginings like apples to bake the apple pie that would much later in my life feed the novels and colored-pencil pictures that would make up my inner life. The novels I have written and the drawings I have made have all come from being a small town boy who dreamed big and lived more in stories than in the humdrum everyday world.
I have not been well. Six incurable diseases combined with colder, wetter weather will do that.
But Mickey has been busy. Yes, my goofy writer alter ego has been pecking away at a novel that pushes the boundaries of “strange” into a purple dimension where having a president that looks like a racist sour-lemon-flavored cookie dipped repeatedly in Orange Fanta with fingers covering the eye holes almost makes sense.
The novel is called Rezepte für Lebkuchen-Kinder which translates to Recipes for Gingerbread Children. The more I let Mickey work on it, the stranger it gets. It currently is about an old German lady who lives in a little Iowa town where she likes to bake gingerbread for children. But it is also a fairy tale where the fairies of Tellosia are still fighting their never-ending war against darkness. And in this story with a magical fairy war in it, there are gingerbread men who magically come to life. There are also teenage nudists, evil Nazis from the past, fairy tales that can solve life’s problems, and a lurking possibility of werewolves. (This is a companion novel to The Baby Werewolf and happens simultaneously to that story.) It has hit the 20,000 word mark. And you know how novel writing works. Too many words all put together into the same thing will magically merge and metastasize into book form. I know this is true, because I’ve seen Mickey do it before.