I'm thrilled to invite KT Bryski back to the blog to share on her newest stories with us, Six Stories, Told at Night.
Hi! I’m KT Bryski—Canadian author, podcaster, and playwright. I’m so thrilled to be back on Mel’s blog—it’s a delight every time. :)
I’ve recently released a one-woman audio drama: Six Stories, Told at Night. Five traditional Canadian folktales interweave within a larger framing narrative. Our heroine Sam is trying to save her friend Joëlle from the Faerie realm, and the only way to enter the Otherworld is to tell the Faerie Queen a story she’s never heard before. Hence, my folktales.
In preparation for this project, I read a lot of fairy tales. That said, I’ve been reading fairy tales for as long as I can remember, so it really wasn’t too different. You might say that I’ve been steeped in them. So what has a lifetime of reading fairy tales taught me?
Take the first step
For an adventure to happen, you actually have to…you know, set out on an adventure. Fairy tales usually start in a place of calm and stability: the family farm, the castle, the once upon a time. And then something happens.
And then, you have a choice. Stay by the fire and pretend things are still the same?
Or leave the safety of your cottage and venture into the woods?
There are always helpers
Sometimes, it’s a fairy godmother. Sometimes, a talking cat. Sometimes, it’s a giant’s wife, or the mysterious old crone down the lane, or a kindly king. Sometimes, it may even be your neighbour, your former high school teacher, your best friend.
But there are always helpers. Even (especially?) when you feel most alone.
Magic often comes disguised
Much like the polar bear who’s actually a prince, or Donkeyskin labouring in the kitchens (I know she’s not magically disguised, bear with me), the best things aren’t always apparent when you first see them. Sometimes, it takes a while to recognize the magic. The key is to never stop looking for it.
The deep, dark woods is never where the story ends
The deep, dark woods is the testing ground. It’s the descent to the underworld, where our hero or heroine undergoes figurative (and sometimes literal) death and rebirth. But for all the fear, trials, and pain, the deep dark woods is never the end of the story. It’s the hour of the wolf, the darkness before daybreak.
So when you find yourself there—push through. Even when the shadows are at their fullest, it is never, ever the endpoint.
A real “fairy tale ending” is transformation
So the story’s over, and you’ve got the castle, the gold, and the glory. That’s a fairy tale ending, right?
Not necessarily. Remember how the deep, dark woods is a place death and rebirth? The ending of the fairy tale is the hero/ine transformed. It’s like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis—after a time of darkness and change, you emerge as something else. Something that can soar.
Transfiguration isn’t always pretty. It’s not always gold and glory. But ultimately, I think it’s more satisfying.
Thanks again for having me, Mel. You can check out Six Stories, Told at Night wherever fine podcasts are found—and navigate the woods with our heroine.
KT Bryski is a Canadian author and podcaster. She has short fiction in Daily Science Fiction, and stories forthcoming from Strange Horizons and Apex. Her audio dramas “Six Stories, Told at Night” and “Coxwood History Fun Park” are available wherever fine podcasts are found, and she is currently at work on her next novel. KT is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing. As you may have guessed, she also has a mild caffeine addiction. Visit her at www.ktbryski.com.