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Over the years I’ve had the privilege to witness how people have been altered by the myths or fairy tales that have spoken deeply to them. A little while ago, I set out to interview some of these mythic adventurers, and ask them how a story changed their minds, hearts and lives.

They’ve been very generous to share their experiences, and I am most grateful. Nothing can compare with the firsthand experience of people who have ventured into a myth, not to change it, but to be changed by it. Here we see what everyday mythtellers have discovered and recovered—for themselves, and for us.

Andy Frank, The Handless Maiden

Andy Frank retells The Handless Maiden in his own words, and gives us a bold, candid account of his own dismemberment and the way the way story helped him to heal. Listen to his retelling of the story and the connections he makes as he discusses the loss of the artist, the “man-made man,” and what the maiden’s recovery looks like in his life.

Annie Jacobsen, The Magic Drum

Annie Jacobsen takes us into the icy, arctic regions of an Inuit tale called The Magic Drum. Annie discusses how she related to the Inuit “skeleton woman” when she suffered a series of losses that culminated in the loss of her life. Annie died of cancer in May of 2005 but her writings and her artistic spirit powerfully live on. This is a candid interview that she lovingly gave me permission to share. I have incorporated excerpts from her Skeleton Woman poems to show the depths of her stark experience and the beauty she made out of it.

Beth Cook, Cinderella

Beth Cook “walks a mile in Cinderella’s shoes” and shares her insights into a story that she did not slip into easily, at least not at first.

Ilene Cummings, Snow White

Ilene Cummings gives us a lively retelling of Snow White and shares her insights about what the evil Queen is suffering and what Snow White is healing in the world. Ilene also sings a few of the delightful songs she composed as she connected with the characters in the tale.

Katie Curtin, Cinderella

Katie Curtin shares her unique perspective on Cinderella, which is informed by her bereavement experience and her work as a coach for people who are grieving and making big changes in their lives. (She’s also an amazing mask maker—check out the masks in her photos, they’re all her own creations!)

Pina Marchese, Befana

Pina Marchese sweeps us up into the magic of La Befana, Italy’s version of Santa, who flies on her broomstick and brings gifts to people world wide. Listen to Pina’s magical retelling of Befana’s tale, and discover how the story has touched her heart and changed her life.

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