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128 pages, Kindle Edition
First published October 5, 2021
“I used to see Sleeping Beauty as my wildest, most aspirational fantasy—a dying girl who didn’t die, a tragedy turned into a romance. But suddenly I saw her as my mere reflection: a girl with a shitty story. A girl whose choices were stolen from her.”
“I don’t know about the moral arc of the universe, but our arcs sure as hell don’t bend toward justice. Unless we change them. Unless we grab our narratives by the ear and drag them kicking and screaming toward better endings. Maybe the universe doesn’t naturally bend toward justice either; maybe it’s only the weight of hands and hearts pulling it true, inch by stubborn inch.”
“I start to type back an apology then pause, wondering about data rates between Ohio and wherever the hell I am and how exactly I have cell signal, before that wild hysteria bubbles over. I write sorry babe. got spider-verse-ed into a fairy tale.”
“I wish briefly but passionately that I’d been zapped into a different storyline, maybe one of those ’90s girl power fairy tale retellings with a rebellious princess who wears trousers and hates sewing. (I know they promoted a reductive vision of women’s agency that privileged traditionally male-coded forms of power, but let’s not pretend girls with swords don’t get shit done.)”
“At some point I suppose I should stop being surprised when the princess is more than a doe-eyed maiden, ready to faint prettily at the first sign of danger. I’m always annoyed when people are surprised that I have a personality beyond my disease, as if they expect me to be nothing but brave smiles and blood-spotted handkerchiefs.”
“My only friend in this entire backwards-ass pre-Enlightenment world is about to be married off to a sentient cleft chin.”
“Right now you’re thinking: this isn’t how the story goes. You might not have a degree in this shit but you’ve seen enough Disney movies and picture books to know there’s supposed to be a handsome prince and true love and a kiss, which can’t be consensual because unconscious people can’t consent, but at least it breaks the curse and the princess wakes up.
But in the very oldest versions of this story—before the Grimms, before Perrault—the prince does far worse than kiss her, and the princess never wakes up.”
I wish briefly but passionately that I'd been zapped into a different storyline, maybe one of those '90s girl power fairy tale retellings with a rebellious princess who wears trousers and hates sewing. (I know they promoted a reductive vision of women's agency that privileged traditionally male-coded forms of power, but let's not pretend girls with swords don't get shit done.)