18,000 words later… Fairy Tales and Foods

I’ve submerged myself in magic.In cannibalism. In poison apples. In talking pies. In candy houses and starvation.

And young people.

And it’s amazing.

Three times a week, I meet with a small crew of teenagers from Acme Theatre Company. We play around. Do improv. Freewrite. Tell stories. And we eat. There’s always, always food. And then I go home and I write. And write. And write.

This was the first meeting with Emily, Acme’s one adult:

A meal with inspirational food images and Emily Henderson.
A meal with inspirational food images and Emily Henderson.

Davis is a town surrounded by agriculture, so food intrigued her, and she’d met with someone at the local Co-Op grocery story about a fundraiser involving food besides… And we knew we needed a starting place, and the Grimm’s brothers, with their Hansel and Gretel and embrace of cannibalism and poison apples felt right.

I set about reading the tales. A little bit over two weeks ago.

210 of them. It was quite tiring.

From those, I earmarked about 40 of them to read again.

From those I took 20, the ones where food was functional, important, magical, or just interesting.

The teenagers became experts in those. And from their energy and work, I started to transform the ones that stood out into short plays. Throw on a few fairy tales they invented, and I’m at 10 of the 12 we’ll eventually land on.

I write and then cut. I’m at 18,000 words. A great many of these words, or rather the order they’re in, suck, but not all of them.

And it’s a blast.


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