Writers Guild contemplates the fate of Cinderella

POINT PLEASANT — In the days before radio, movies and television, stories of fair damsels in distress being rescued by Knights in Shining Armor, Guardian Angels and Fairy God Mothers were handed down by word of mouth and finally put in print by such authors as Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, and Charles Perrault, original author of “Cinderella.”

In most of these fairy tales, the heroine rides off with her Prince Charming and lives happily ever after. Or so, the story usually ends. But, for members of the Point Pleasant Writers Guild, Cinderella’s story might not have ended in such happy bliss.

For example, Marilyn Clarke offered her version of Cinderella’s fate, entitled “After the Ball,” in which Ella was never really accepted by her mother-in-law, the Queen. As a result, her life was miserable. She couldn’t even dance in bare feet in her own bedroom when she was happy. “It just isn’t done!” remarked the Queen. “Learn to embroider.” Meanwhile, Charming met a beautiful girl asleep in the forest and fell in love with her. After his divorce from Ella, and his marriage to Beauty, the rascal Prince took up with Snow White. So much for living happily ever after — the cad.

Phil Heck did a little research and found that the author of “Cinderella” did not end his story with “They lived happily ever after.” Heck’s spoof on the tale had Princess Cindy and her Prince ignoring all the royal wisdom of the King and Queen by living in a hunting lodge instead of the castle and teaching their children how to swim, fish and hunt for food, not sport. Cinderella invited her father, step-mother and step-sisters to live in the castle in her stead. By the power of her Fairy God Mother, the enchanted coach, horses and footmen of Cindy’s Pre-Prince days continued to serve her and her family all their days and their oldest son became an important figure in the shipping business. As Heck wrote, “Even happily ever after comes to an end eventually.” Heck’s research also included the gruesome fact that Grimm’s original version included chopping off of toes in an effort to fit the glass slipper on some of the unfortunate ladies attending the ball. Ouch!

Sue Underwood admitted that she could not take away such a happy ending as Cinderella riding off with her Prince Charming, so her version had them leading a pleasant and charming life because of their love for each other, and years afterward they passed peacefully into the hereafter together.

April Pyles’s Cinderella had Prince Charming away on business so much that she felt stifled. Finally, after two years of an empty marriage, she disguised herself as a peasant and ran away to another part of the kingdom where she found employment as a hair dresser for the upper-class women in town. One day word reached the people that the Prince had met with a fatal mishap while riding his horse. Cinderella felt a sense of sadness, but also of relief, for she could finally marry the town’s grocer, a pleasant little fella who made her feel more like a Princess than the Prince ever had.

Heck read his short story, “The Phone Call,” about a couple whose fate depended on a cell phone with a 30-Day Plan. Pyles shared “Where You Are,” a letter to her sister who passed away a few months ago.

Discussion followed on the usage of certain phrases found in a lot of today’s books that may or may not be incorrect. For example, is something “different from” or “different to” something else? Which is correct? “We took a carriage to the country,” or “We took a carriage into the country.” Is a speech a “declamation” or a “declaration”? Words, fashioned in such a way as to share your thoughts with others, makes you a wordsmith. The printed word enables us to communicate the same message to any number of people. Think it, write it. Your story awaits.

The next writing assignment for the Guild is to finish Heck’s short story entitled, “No Return,” in which a group of mysterious and silent people make their way to a barren landscape in the middle of nowhere. A sloping rock formation leads them into an underground passage, at the end of which is a big wooden door with a brass handle. What is beyond the door? That is the question.

In addition to those already mentioned, Carol Newberry and Will Jeffers attended the meeting.

The Point Pleasant Writers Guild meets the first and third Wednesday of the month, from noon-2 p.m. With the advent of warmer temperatures, meetings will take place once again at Krodel Park. A white placard will mark the location. All writers are welcome to attend.

Submitted by April Pyles.