Thursday, June 3, 2010
Finding Baba Yaga
This week, in leau of another snippet in our Baba Yaga Saga, I thought I'd expound a little on why I started writing her story in the first place.
First of all, I don't know of any little kid that isn't intrigued by fairy tales. We all loved to see the hero/heroine beat the baddies and get the guy/girl in the end. Usually there is a moral, or lesson, to be learned. But that soaks in more subtly. Give a kid a story with dragons or faeries and everyone's a happy camper.
Then there's me... while I did love a good fire breathing dragon getting the scales beaten off of him by some dashing dude, I much more preferred another character: that crazy lady that lived in the woods.
I'm not sure why, but I always felt sorry for her. There was never much information about her to go on. How did she come to live in the woods? Was it by her choice or someone else? Did she really eat children for dinner? Was she really magical or just nutters? Just trying to get to the crux of her character was enough to compel me to try and weave a story around her.
Another thing that led me to love her was her unconventional wisdom and knowledge. For all intents and purposes, Yaga is an "old soul". And as someone who reads too much into things, I always loved that this batty woman in the woods was the one everyone went to for all the answers.
Imagine not knowing what to do with your life, which direction you should go it, or how to solve the riddles of your being. For the sake of story, the answer to all the questions of our hero could be found in the woods. Where Baba Yaga would wait for you.
There are a lot of different takes on Baba Yaga. She's been incorporated into numerous tales, including an appearance in the comic "Hell Boy". What I had noticed was that people tend to stick to the traditional archetype- the Yaga who was witchy & evil. What I have attempted to tell in my take was a Yaga who was more of an earth mother and caregiver. Not so much evil, as merely misunderstood.
Granted, I still like the image of a batty old bitty who'd rather skewer a couple of rowdy young'ns and use their skulls as decorations. One of those people who, if she likes you- she loves you. If she doesn't like you- she'll probably at least think you're tasty.
So call me crazy, but I think she's ten kinds of cool. Hope you do too!
Stay tuned next week for next adventure! Same Yaga time, same Yaga channel! :)