RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V3 #537

From: Frederick Zackel ( fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 18 Dec 2000

Maura has it downpat: Michaela Shayne! Maura should send it to one of the NY houses. The title of course is "Lady Dick." She has a winner.

"Fantasy is the Great Equalizer," Sue Grafton told Publishers Weekly last year. (Her new book comes out next month: P is for Pomp? P is for Ponytail? P is for Pocket Change?) But I shouldn't tease her. She is after all the most successful of lady dicks, and she has hit her targets more often than not.

The lone wolf is myth. Myth is centered in the heart, not the head. You feel myth. You don't "know" it. Yes, fantasy is about power. For men, it's the sword battle with the Dragon over the Maiden in Distress. Very Freudian. The dragon is the Authority Figure, the Maiden represents the Sexual Conquest, and the sword is the penis. The Quest is about getting your first sexual experience.

Women tell Quest stories, too, although minus the sword. Fifty percent of all books sold in the USA are romances. And I mean that in the old 13th century definitions. Adventures with marriage at the end of the book. Women are on the Quest to find a monogamous mate.

Pornography is about power, too. Male fantasies are great equalizers. Their "swords" perform with legendary adeptness. (Spelling?) And the women in porn are dumb enough to agree "Oh, how long your sword is!" In real life most women recognize the power of the fantasy, and they justifiably feel the threat. (For a variation on the theme read a batch of the Coyote stories from Native Americans -- very anchored in sexual adventures and misadventures. Coyote as Yuppie Stud: "Wanna see my sensitive side?" And the Old Women laugh at him. "Oh, that's just Coyote playing his tricks!")

But consider another ubiquitous fantasy, the Cinderella story: That fairytale has over 750 variations and is told in every culture in the world.
(You'll notice the Cinderella story is the secret story behind almost all of Ophrah's monthly Book Club Choices. Hmmm. Wonder why??? Do you think Ophrah sees herself as a Cinderella?)

The story goes like this: Once upon a time -- that means it happened once in all time and will never happen this way again -- a girl relegated to being a Kitchen Bitch for her entire life gets help from her Fairy Godmother -- an old crone witch who befriends lonely single girls -- and Cinderella can now
"bewitch" a Prince Charming -- who is so stupid, the only way he can tell women apart is by seeing their shoe size. Cindy gets rich, moves to the castle, where she harasses all the Kitchen Bitches who didn't get lucky.

Look at the Maltese Falcon story again. Brigit O'S thought she was Cinderella. She thought all Prince Charmings are stupid fools who would walk up Burritt Alley with their tongues hanging out. Spade -- the Blonde Devil -- The Warlock? The Gamester? The Trickster? -- almost fell for it too.

Compare Brigit's description with the Woman playing dice with Death in the second boat of Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner. They are indentical! Both are archetypical. Both are myth.

Myth you feel in your heart, not in your head.

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