Some stories are easier to hear/read than others. For me Bluebeard was exceptionally difficult to read; and yet I could tell Mr. Fox, a variation of Bluebeard, with no difficulty. I believe part of the difference between the two stories was my introduction to each of them.
Mr. Fox was a story on Connie Reagan-Blake and Barbara Freeman’s cassette tape, Chillers, which I acquired back in the 1980’s. I heard Connie tell it in the bone chilling way she has. It was my signature Halloween story while I was working at a High School and Middle School library.
Bluebeard is one of the first stories Clarrisa Pinkola Estes puts forth in her book, Women Who Run with the Wolves. My mother purchased the book for me at my request when it first came out. I tried several times to read it and could not make it through Bluebeard without whimpering. The first time the phenomenon occurred, I kept looking about to see where the whimpering came from. When I realized it was me, I put the book aside. I’m happy to say I finally made it all the way through the book two years ago, and I got a lot out of it.
Beside the fact that one story was heard, for the first time in a gathering of librarians, and the other was read by myself with no one else around; what is different? Why was I able to tell one of them and could not even finish the other?
Perhaps it is the fact that in Mr. Fox, Mary is not married. She is free to choose rejection and does. The youngest sister in Bluebeard actually marries him and is captive in his castle. Is that how I saw my marriage? Was I a captive? Did I deserve my fate? As a younger woman, I thought I believed all that. Now, as I was two years ago, I am wiser.
Our lives are reflected in the stories we tell and don’t tell. Do you try to tell difficult tales?