Fairy Tale Wisdom: Stories for the Second Half of Life
Later life, for all the challenges and changes that come with it, is a time to embark upon a uniquely exciting adventure. It is, in many ways, an inner journey, one of deepening our understanding of our lives and our selves by tapping into the rich cache of experiences that have assembled silently inside of us through the years. When viewed with insight, openness and wonder, aging is an adventure in truly growing older, rather than-passively, resignedly-getting older.
In Fairy Tale Wisdom, authors Bill Randall, Barbara Lewis, and Andy Achenbaum crawl inside an assortment of fables, parables, and other stories that they recall from their childhood and revisit them as older adults. They re-read-and re-member-timeless tales like Hansel and Gretel, The Ugly Duckling, The Tortoise and The Hare, plus many others, through the lens of the still-unfolding stories of their own lives, with all the losses and loves, the layers and learning that 70-odd years involve.
Reflecting on these stories with a blend of playfulness and seriousness, the authors find themselves asking questions, making out patterns, and stumbling onto truths (not always comfortable) to which they might otherwise be blind. This delightful book is an invitation to see these old tales with fresh eyes and celebrate the wisdom that lurks between the lines of your own life.
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About the Author
"Fairy Tale Wisdom contains the personal reflections of three sensitive and intelligent people on a few of the great stories. They put themselves into the tales, or put the tales in them, and offer ways to both appreciate important narratives and make sense of your life, especially as you grow older. I like most the sincere probing that goes on in the reflections of these extraordinary authors."
- Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and Soul Therapy
"A refreshing, new and practical approach to traditional stories. Now as elders, the authors return to tales that affected them in childhood, and reflect on the evolving impact the tales had on them. Their comments move from personal history to the perennial questions that inevitably arise, such as the meaning of tragedy and chance in life. Their approach invites sharing with other people and would be invaluable in seminars and workshops."
- Allan Chinen, M.D., author of In the Ever After and Once Upon a Midlife
"This revelation of a book invites us to view narratives that formed us in childhood through the lens of maturity. What a pleasure to think about how life has changed us and what matters to us most now. An important and fun contribution to the conscious aging genre."
- Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., author of The Making of an Old Soul
"Fairy tales are for all of us. I am simply thrilled by your book and can't wait to share some of the stories with our granddaughters. Fairy Tale Wisdom is an indispensable contribution to this field of work."
- Harry (Rick) Moody, Ph. D., retired VP for Academic Affairs, AARP
"This unique and delightful book challenges the reader to pack a bag full of familiar tales and plot lines and travel into the turbulent currents of time's quaint stream. Reading it, I became an active traveler who, along with the three writers, found myself navigating, reinterpreting and reimagining the intersections of stories and self over a lifetime. It's not a book that tells you how to achieve growth and wisdom through age but that brings you along for the ride."
- Kate de Medeiros, Ph.D., author of Narrative Gerontology in Research and Practice
"After reading Fairy Tale Wisdom, I doubt you'll see your life or fairy tales in the same way again. The authors' mutual love of and belief in the power of stories to enrich and shape our lives shines through every page. Deeply personal, illuminating the wisdom of each author as they reflect on their chosen tales, you'll find guideposts to help you mine your own stories. Poignant yet playful, this is a beautifully written, evocative book that you can and should pull from your shelf again and again. It is a wonderful meditation on the art of growing older and proof that fairy tales are truly for children of all ages!"
- Karen Skerrett, Ph.D., Psychologist, Consultant, and author of Growing Married
"An inspiring, fanciful, and most valuable new resource for exploring later life, Fairy Tale Wisdom is, in the authors' words, 'a way to the light' and thereby serves as an important counterweight to those images of darkness and decline that so often characterize the process of growing old."
- Mark Freeman, Ph.D., author of Hindsight: The Promise and Peril of Looking Backward
"This is a fascinating journey through the lens of childhood fairy tales, from a soulful exploration of the authors' life stories to the potential wisdom of later life."
- Gary Irwin-Kenyon, Ph.D., author of Pathways to Stillness