What is Psithurism?

Friday, March 21, 2014

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I think the one question I am asked the most as an aspiring authoress, besides 'what are you currently working on?' and 'do you ever go outside your house?' (hmph) is what Psithurism is. People want to know what it means, what it's about, and why I chose the title.

Alright, well, if you're short on time there is an FAQ page for that sort of thing. You can read it in about two minutes and have a nice, simple view of my (dare I say favorite?) work-in-progress and go about your day without having to put much energy into learning.

But if you're more interested, I'll chat with you. We could go on for a good while, beat around the bush and brush on other subjects and I would eventually tell you, in a load of more interesting language that Psithurism is a fairytale. 

Bet you didn't see that coming, did you?

Elizabeth Rose and I had the pleasure of meeting dear Emily Chapman a couple days ago, and among various discussions I mentioned that Psithurism was, in fact, a fairytale - and how I don't prefer to tell people that. The reason behind my reservations is namely the stigmatism that it gives a person: when I say 'fairytale' you've already got an image in your head of what this book will be like. This view is probably of something childish, outlandish character names included, with a leafy forest book cover and heavily-curled script-font title.

I also will get the Why-Are-You-Writing-A-Fairytale-You're-An-Adult look. Because aren't these fantastical stories for children?

Maybe not. I cannot speak for all fairytales - in fact, I can't speak for any but my own. But I can tell you this: Psithurism started off as your not-so-typical-princess-in-a-castle story that every teenage writer begins with. But as I've been rewriting it, I have discovered so much more to the story that I could not have known to include two years ago. Psithurism is not fluffy. In fact, my father was reading the first two chapters and told me quite honestly it was violent. Fairytales are violent. (Now. This is not to glorify violence and/or say it's a necessary aspect to a book. But that's a whole new kettle of fish.) I think we often forget that, because the princess and the castle and the prince saving her life are more important to us. But these stories are told to children because their lessons need to be learnt early on in life; they are, in the words of Larry Arnn, "lessons for a lifetime." And when we return to these fictitious works as adults we find those lessons still hold true, despite the years that have passed since we first read them.
"Fairytales are more than true, not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten." -G.K. Chesterton
I think that's why I write fairytales. Because they are good for all ages - and though they are best appreciated by children, they are best understood by adults. Psithurism is not a fairytale for children - it is a fairytale specifically for those of us who have 'grown out' of the old stories, so we can be reminded of their truth. (God willing, they will point to the ultimate Truth.)
"Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again." -C.S. Lewis



  2. I'm looking forward to reading Psithurism someday. :) It sounds lovely.

    1. It so pleases me that people are interested in my little brain-child! Thank you, Emma. :)

  3. This was beautiful. And no, it was not because my vain little self warmed at the fact that you mentioned me. Though I appreciate how you deemed it "various discussions." I'm pretty sure our tongues would have continued going at an alarmingly rapid pace for approximately three more years... non-stop. But ho hum, there's such a thing as schedules and time and gosh golly, I'm beginning to ramble!

    This post actually made me think of the quote by C.S. Lewis. "Since it is so likely children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage."

    I really love how you described fairy tales.

    And I really love the title PSITHURISM. Particularly because I now know how to pronounce it. I'm really beginning to want to read it. (*flutters eyelashes in a way that certainly does NOT imply at hinting*)


    1. Emily!
      I'm pretty sure we could have gone on talking for hours. Bother schedules for getting in the way! ;)

      Lewis has fantastic fairy tale quotes.

      I'm so very glad to know you're interested in Psithurism. (And knowing how to pronounce things is always nice.) And while I can't really promise anything as far as reading it soon goes, I can assure you that snippets will continue to be shared for a good while yet. That's promising, right? ;)


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