Lone Star Stories, #13, February 2006

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“10 Archetypes in 2000 Words” by Cherie Priest
“Evergreen” by Angela Boord
“Can’t Buy Me Faded Love” by Josh Rountree

Lone Star Stories #13, features three short stories that revisit and examine different myths and characters by changing elements in their setting or plot. 

Cherie Priest’s “10 Archetypes in 2000 Words” is an interesting transposition of folktales.  Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel all find a new place and time in the story.

The story is really an ensemble of internal monologues of various folktale characters that Priest transfers to our world.  The idea of deepening or humanizing the portrait of renowned legendary figures is not new.  However, in this case, what is particularly interesting and telling is the fact that the change of setting seems to be enough to dictate an astonishing change in characterization.  Alternating moments of downright cynicism and irony to moments of moving humanity, the story represents the endeavor to find archetypes in two directions.  If the protagonists of the monologues are archetypes returned to reality, their new, realistic characterization represents human types that have become archetypal in our times. 

In Angela Boord’s “Evergreen,” seventeen-year-old Nick gets lost in the woods.  While looking for shelter, he sees a naked girl: the elusive Evergreen.  After a short exchange that leaves Nick bewildered, Evergreen disappears in the woods.  Nick has little to look for in the outside world, and he is too entranced by Evergreen to leave.  Hoping to see Evergreen again, Nick stays in the woods.  He finds hospitality in exchange for work in the house of DeAnn, an old woman, and Wolf, a boy of about his age.  As will become increasingly clear, DeAnn, Wolf, and Evergreen have much more in common than Nick first thought.

The central theme of “Evergreen” is growth.  The story contains many references to Peter Pan and the hypocrisy of a self-contained world, but has also much criticism for the outside world and its faulty relationship to dreams.  The story sometimes lingers excessively on particular moments, or repeats itself, and runs the risk of losing its reader.  Nevertheless, there are some very charming moments of real insight in the psyche of its protagonist.

“Can’t Buy Me Faded Love” by Josh Rountree pictures an alternative imaginary career for John Lennon.  After leaving The Beatles at an early stage, John flies to the States to meet his idol: Bob Wills, the fiddle player in The Texas Playboys.  After playing together for some time, Bob and John form The Quarrymen.  An intense father-son relationship develops between the two, but fame, drugs, and musical discordances have a bad influence on their relationship.

“Can’t Buy Me Faded Love” effectively invents a new myth.  The story is a collage of interviews, extracts, and letters that depict the story of the relationship between the two artists.  Rountree makes many musical references, and I for one discovered that The Texas Playboys are actually a very nice swing band worth checking out.  The story may be hard to appreciate to its full extent for the less knowledgeable reader as Rountree relocates existing bands and musicians, and plays with the different styles and references.  However, the story is also enjoyable and moving for the less musically bent reader as its main focus remains the father-son relationship between John and Bob.  Also impressive is the vividness of the new myth Rountree invents: one can almost see John and Bob, the old and the young artist, loving each other like father and son, discussing their music and playing together.