Imagine the Re-Imagined

What happens if you don’t remember your imaginary friend but remember believing in fairies? In disgruntled bears complaining about the lack of porridge or a dish running away with a spoon? Fairy tales and make-believe characters provide us with fantastical characters that are capable of anything. Dumbo could fly, Pinocchio lost his strings, Genie existed!

Now, what if someone told you these characters need to grow up? That it’s time they faced the real world?

Read teeth by Ryan Norman.

Yet here I am, can’t even see a window from my cubicle. The vent blows cold air on me all day, so I wrap myself in blankets, sit on my feet. I used to work out in the field until they clipped my wings. You rip one kid’s molar out and you’re sent to the office forever.

Here, we are presented with a tooth fairy banished to a life within a cubicle. We learn that this is not the tooth fairy we learned about as children, the one our parents told us about that would take our teeth in the night in exchange for money. Norman’s tooth fairy is a hardened criminal filled with get rich (or teeth) quick schemes that have eventually landed them in the moment we see in this micro.

            Consider what we learn, not only about the tooth fairy, but about the world in which this tooth fairy resides. It’s not made of teeth, nor is it in dreamland. Rather, it’s very corporate, an office filled with paperwork, Excel spreadsheets, and a completely absent of windows. Norman provides us several concrete details that not only transform our perception of the tooth fairy but provide a completely different narrative from what we are told, a world we can relate to because it is based in reality.

            “…can’t even see a window from my cubicle.”

            “Little freaks.”

            “We didn’t always have lapel cameras to keep us gentle, benevolent traders.”

            “I’d flutter in through the window with my black-market sand…”

As you prepare to write today, really consider how you can combine the fairy tale aspects of a character with that of reality. Norman’s tooth fairy had their wings clipped as punishment, there is black-market sand, and there are consequences for bad behavior. Consider what might happen should the Wolf be on trial for trying to devour a little old lady? Jiminy Cricket’s will (if you’ve read the non-Disney version of Pinocchio), or the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk complaining how he’s the villain when, clearly, someone broke into his house and stole his most prized possessions!