Reflection: Mining for a Good Life

In reflection of this class, there was one dynamic and defining choice I made during the semester. That choice, was to completely overhaul and rewrite my fairy-tale adaptation, give it a different direction and a more original story while paying homage to my sources. The original story itself was a loose adaptation of Rumpelstiltskin with elements of Road to El Dorado and King Midas thrown in, more so the latter than the former. While the story was given pretty receptive and encouraging praise from my peers, I felt like it was missing something, essentially, missing the point of writing our own story. So, I rewrote it from scratch, keeping the female protagonist, Aurea, but instead of having her taken by a Monarch to use her famed “golden touch” I instead had her climb up a mountain and become trapped within. She eventually has to mine herself out through a gold vein in the wall while being followed by an old man who picked up the pieces after her. One of the themes I was going for was Gold as Fertility, and in this sense it worked much better, with Aurea picking up small gold pieces and stuffing them in her shirt, swelling it, and as she worked her feet and back ached and swelled, reflecting pregnancy, or literally fertile with wealth. Not to mention having a mysterious child by the end of the story whilst being well set financially for her family and herself.

Now, the obvious consequences for this choice were; more work for me, and having to revise a story and make another one from scratch. Fortunately, I had been visualizing the story in my head for a few days, so I was able to roll with it right off the bat, though it still took me some time to make sure I had what I needed and to keep it at a reasonable length for the nature of the class. In the end, I thought it was worth it, the story was so much better in my mind, and had it’s own identity even if it borrowed elements of other stories. I think it was a more worthwhile story for people to read and enjoy, and I think the end justified the means of doing more work for a better put together project.

I feel I would have made this decision regardless of the audience, save perhaps for young audiences who can’t really get the symbolism of pregnancy or like, nor would I like to put the idea of wealth being the end all for a good life to them. I think it takes a mindset that’s more mature to read into the subtext of gold and fertility, so aside from younger audiences, I believe that most audiences of an analytical mindset, or those interested in reading a short story in general would enjoy it, which at the end of the day, is my intent.

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5 thoughts on “Reflection: Mining for a Good Life

  1. I can only imagine how much work it would take to start a project over again. Great job on managing to pull it off, while making conscious, creative choices. You chose specific elements from different stories and made it your own. I do agree with you regarding the audience. It takes a specific mindset to discern what the underlying meaning is. While age or other demographics come into play, people will still find a way to enjoy a good story. It’s too bad I didn’t get to read yours. It was probably great!

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  2. I think it says a lot about your character when you know that what you have done isn’t up to your standards so you re do it. I feel like the first story was pretty good. It definitely showed effort. however upon the second story and the analysis given I feel that it went from good to epic. The insight put into this work is amazing and how you thought of the woman and the mountain and the fertility is just brilliant. It also reminds me of the Alaskan story about Mt. Susitna and how she laid down and the mountain grew on top of her. overall outstanding work and keep it up.
    – Coleman Smith

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    • I have to say to completely rewrite your story is a risky one, the fact you pulled it off shows a lot about your character. I like how you were able to combine many aspects and meanings into a short retelling of a story. I agree that it does take a certain mindset to understand the wealth and fertility aspects. I think it is pretty cool to say that even though you may have taken ideas from other stories you still were able to make it your own.

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  3. I remember when you made your first draft and expressed your hesitancy about how you felt on it. I thought it was quite admirable that you went against what everyone said and you did what made you happy. I do have to admit, I liked both drafts that you did, and also thought about the possibilities that you could’ve done with it. I suppose though that in writing, it is more important for the writer to be happy with their work than the audience. But nonetheless, you are a very articulate writer and as I said before, kudos to you for doing what made you happy, and also simultaneously making the audience happy again.

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  4. Starting over when you already have what others would consider a good final draft is always a tough choice. Do you keep what you have and simply edit, or do you start over? It entirely depends on what you’re writing and the reason you’re writing it. Since this exercise was to get us to write something unique based on existing symbolism, I think you made the right choice. As a writer you have to like what you wrote or no one else will.

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