Monday, April 14, 2014

The Grimm Project: Tale 2 (The Gold Key) {Giveaway}

Tale 2: The Gold Key  
Once in the wintertime when the snow was very deep, a poor boy had to go out and fetch wood on a sled. After he had gathered it together and loaded it, he did not want to go straight home, because he was so frozen, but instead to make a fire and warm himself a little first. So he scraped the snow away, and while he was thus clearing the ground he found a small golden key. Now he believed that where there was a key, there must also be a lock, so he dug in the ground and found a little iron chest. "If only the key fits!" he thought. "Certainly there are valuable things in the chest." He looked, but there was no keyhole. Finally he found one, but so small that it could scarcely be seen. He tried the key, and fortunately it fitted. Then he turned it once, and now we must wait until he has finished unlocking it and has opened the lid. Then we shall find out what kind of wonderful things there were in the little chest. The Grimm Brothers, "The Gold Key"

What wonderful things indeed. The first time I read this story by the Grimms, I was unbelievably frustrated by it. The tale completely leaves the reader hanging. Like any good, old-fashioned reader, I wanted to know what was inside that box. I don't generally like books that leave everything open-ended at The End, books the point of which seems to be to befuddle. I like a traditional Victorian novel where all the threads are tied up very neatly by the writer as the pages turn toward the close. A well-wrought mystery. A joke with a strong punch-line. Open-endedness makes me uncomfortable. In life and in literature.  

Petite Golden Key from Dollieboutique
The magic of "The Gold Key," however, is that anything could come out of that box. ANYTHING. Golden snakes could slither over its lip. Flying monkeys could shoot out on brooms. Little doll versions of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty could dash out on unicorns, chased by Bluebeard dressed up like a swashbuckler. Whatever your brain can conjure up, it's in there. 

"Pandora's Box," Kiersten Eagan
I think the box in "The Gold Key" is really the Grimm's book. When you open it (or any book for that matter), you open the Pandora's Box of the imagination. The key here, also, is that you open it. Not someone else, as in a film or a tv show that recreates a story for you. The power of the imagination is in your hands. Yes, you're relying on a story that someone else wrote, but the images that emerge from the deep cool pools in your brain are entirely your own (that's why so many women have fought tooth and nail over what a character like Christian Grey should look like on the screen ... Reality is almost always a disappointment). 

“Hope,” 2009.
So, today, I charge you to open a book. Let it work it's sorcery upon you. We're giving one away, if you're interested. A little ditty by Anne Sexton called Transformations, which incidentally opens with a poem called "The Gold Key" and is one of our favorite volumes of poetry ever. A/J

Anne Sexton's Transformations. Who wants it;)??
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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