Sometimes there needs to be a last word on the topic of children’s books. Sometimes there actually needs to be several. Enter Nicole at Ninja Mom and her very astutely named Character Assassination Carousel. What she has done is lend space and a voice to those last words and let her dedicated force of character assassins revel in mischief and discontent.
If you are new to the Character Assassination Carousel, visit last month’s trouncing of the Cat in the Hat from Leah from Chapter Four. And next month, Cathy at very VERY busy mom will most politely, dare I say, very, very politely, assassinate another beloved character whose time has sadly come.
For much more of this insanity, head over to the CAC HQ and see what your children have been missing – fateful, and most needed, last words.
For me, I share what I found the other night, after all my kids were squarely tucked into bed. I sat up late watching my daughter’s Sleeping Beauty DVD (which is a whole other story) and came across this interview in the Extras section.
(Camera pans back to see the host sitting in a chair addressing an audience.)
Host: Well, I am really excited to talk to our next guest. She has recently undergone some extensive surgeries but is back on her feet and on tour in an Off-Broadway production entitled “My Life: The Real Beauty.” Ladies and gentlemen, a big hand for the great Maleficent.
(Maleficent enters, shakes the host’s hand, waves to the audience, turns and sits.)
Right idea, wrong place, wrong time. But, right idea.
Maleficent: Thanks for having me.
H: You look good. How have you been doing?
M: Very good, I have to say. The surgeries did a good job of getting me back in form. The scales hardly show anymore.
H: I’ll ask the most important question first. Why, Maleficent, why the nasty spell on Princess Aurora?
M: That is a fair question. Let me start by saying, first, no one invited me. I am royalty too, you know, and I had made several contributions to the king’s campaign over the years. I pay my taxes and royalties and no one even sent an invite. Second, did you see what those monster fairies were doing? Bestowing her with beauty and song? Talk about a life of unrealistic expectations! I mean seriously? I felt it was my prerogative to give the Princess Aurora some reality. She was already in an arranged marriage and she was still a baby, for Christ’s sake. Someone had to help her, and those fairies were leading her down a slippery slope which could only end in darkness.
H: But the spinning wheel?
M: (chuckles) That was amusing. I was so angry at those fairies with the whole “gold of sunshine in her hair and lips that shame the red rose” crap that I made a spell with the first thing I thought of. Earlier that day, I had been knitting a small outfit for my daughter’s doll and had run out of yarn. After having a minion spin a bit more so I could finish, I pricked my finger when I removed the bobbin. Funny thing how those things get stuck in your head.
Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Most times, you just lose.
H: I can understand. It seems to make more sense now in that light. But considering what you did after the princess disappeared … what were you feeling?
M: Well, I have to say that I didn’t see that coming. I had intended on visiting the princess the next day to remove the spinning wheel spell and replace it with some math or accounting skills, you know, something she could really have a career with. But the king made a big deal about it. Next thing I know, the princess is gone and all the spinning wheels burned. You know that it took me over 16 years to finish that doll’s outfit.
H: 16 years?
M: I looked for her, but I have to say it became a back-burner project. I was busy with other things and having kids to raise and a business to run … time just gets away from you. I assigned a project manager run it for me, but finally I had to turn to a professional. Can you believe the project manager was still looking for a baby? For 16 years? Hah! Well, I had to fire him, naturally.
H: But then you found her and actually pricked her finger on a hidden spinning wheel.
M: Well those were my darker and sadder years. I had been so besieged by the kingdom and their savvy spin machine, I felt I was cornered into a role to play, so I played it. Let me just say, I am not proud of it. I had a real opportunity to help, but things just got out of hand.
H: You mean the whole thorns, dragon, fighting with Prince Phillip?
M: Exactly, yes. Again, let me stress that I am sorry. What started out as a good-natured idea just turned into one hot and sticky mess. I felt the only way to get though it was to play the bad cop and just follow the script. I have to say the kingdom’s spin machine did a superb job – I really had no way out. Everyone hated me. My story never had a chance to unfold. I was just trying to protect the princess in my own way and give her a talent that would not limit her career. Instead, those meddling fairies made her out to be some blond beauty with no talent except singing. Talk about a dead-end career. And let me remind you that this was years before American Idol.
H: Well, even with the best intentions, you really made a mess of it all.
M: Yes I did, I admit it, but all’s well that ends well, they say, right? I was able to rise from the ashes to a new start. The princess was happy in the end. I mean, I don’t see how, but she was. I never had to deal with those fairies again. And I was able to start a my own private practice counseling misunderstood witches and sorceresses. I was really able to help people again. The trick is to first get them out of their pre-determined rolls. Let me fill you in on a real secret: There nothing like a fall from rocks or, for instance, getting stabbed by a boat, that really creates a nice escape scenario. I am proud to say everyone I have counseled has turned a corner and never returned to their former life.
H: That sounds great. You have really turned yourself around, from, I mean, what we thought.
M: The key is listening. If everyone had let me finish then this whole mess could have been cleared up. It all turned out in the end. I have my health, my family and even a Broadway show.
H: That’s right, you’re on Broadway, or should I say, Off-Broadway.
M: I sure am. I play myself in a one-act play entitled “My Life: The Real Beauty” where I explore the notion of real beauty in a wicked shell, like the rose surrounded by thorns. Hmm, thorns, it all does take me back, you know? Regardless, I feel everything is back on track.
H: And no spells or smoky appearances I should know of?
M: (chuckles) No, I do a little freelance now-and-then, but all of that is mostly in my past.
H: Ladies and Gentlemen, the great Maleficent. You can see her Off-Broadway or at her offices on Guild Street.
M: (waves to audience) Thanks again for having me.
H: Join us tomorrow, where Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, will be our guest. He has just written a new book entitled 10 Tips to get to the Front of the Pack and will be here to tell us about it. Thank you very much.