Friday, January 23, 2015

Into the Woods and Off the Beaten Path

Today I'm Going Into the Woods...

I'm veering off the beaten path, posting on a Friday instead of a Thursday. This means ANYTHING GOES! So I thought I'd take you with me on a trip Into the Woods.

I’m captivated by a couple of beautiful lyrics from a song entitled, “Children Will Listen.” It’s from the musical Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim, now a major motion picture.

I am personally most fond of this version by Bernadette Peters. But one line sticks out to me as a writer.

“Be careful the tale you tell, for that is the spell…”

The whole musical is about wishes and using magic to make those wishes come true, but then what happens after the wishes come true is sometimes not as fabulous as the wishers thought it would be.

One couple wishes for a child. Another lies to her child and wishes to keep her close. And we come to a place in the story where we learn that truths or untruths we tell our children can make or break them.

Looking at it a different way, the stories we pass on to our children may determine the paths they take into the future.  Where they come from may determine where they will go, whether by driving them toward something different or holding them close to home…

Be careful the tale you tell…Do you tell tall tales? I do. As a writer of fiction. But I strive to tell the truth in my fiction. And I hope the stories I tell will ring true, captivating the audience…like a spell. And I hope the words I write might inspire and encourage.

But there’s always a risk, putting words out there into the world. Because someone might read them. And believe them. Or take them to heart. And pick them apart. And if my tale is not true? Well, that wouldn’t do…

So I’m careful with the tales I tell. Because I’d like them to cast a beautiful spell on my readers. One that is memorable, but ultimately very good.

Thanks for indulging me today. If I’ve sparked your interest, go see Into The Woods this weekend. It’s magical. Or actually go into the real woods for a spell, you’ll come back with a tale to tell. (sorry - I can’t stop rhyming!)

Have you read a novel full of truth? What’s the most recent fiction you’ve read that communicated a truth you still carry with you?


  1. I think that most stories carry some sort of truth. You just have to be open to it.

  2. I like that, "casting a spell" on your readers. Very visual way to put it.

  3. Powerful post, Jennifer. Thanks for veering off the path.