Friday, December 2, 2011

Romancing the Phooka

Photo removed by author

I’ve decided to sit down and work on Faerie Friday before Friday came and went.  I know.  I’m cutting it close.

You see I do actually spend a fair bit of time thinking about my posts.  I’m not saying that they are masterpieces, but I do take it seriously and I do want to write a great post every time.  I’m finding that my Pixies Don’t Have Wings blog is one the great joys in my life.  So yesterday (I usually write Faerie Friday on Thursday evening) when I found myself lacking both imagination and motivation, I decided that it was best to walk away for a day or so. 

This week’s Faerie Friday post was inspired partly by the illustration of the Phooka by Brian Froud.  I love Froud’s illustrations.  I’ve lost hours flipping through both Faeries and Good Faeries, Bad Faeries.  I spent most of my afternoon fantasizing about this picture.  Not in the I-want-to-have-sex-with kind of way, but in contemplating the haunting loneliness that I was sure I saw in his expression.

My other inspiration for this post is Beauty and the Beast.  It’s is my favorite fairy tale by a mile and I love, love, LOVE the Disney movie.  Time Warner had been advertising it On Demand for over a week now.  I spent the better part of an hour on Sunday trying to find it on the various digital channels.  I almost called Time Warner.  I own the movie on VHS but I knew no matter how I try, I would ever been able to cram a VHS tape into a DVD player.  Alas, I wasn’t going to be able to watch the movie.

As I flipped through the channels tonight trying to find something to watch and lamenting that I couldn’t watch Beauty and the Beast because Time Warner had lied to me, I started thinking about how much writers of Paranormal Romances and Urban Fantasies have romanticized some pretty freaking scary creatures -- Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies.  It’s as if we have taken leave of our good sense.  We want nothing more than to make these monsters misunderstood, tormented creatures that are waiting around for the right person to come along.  Just like Belle and her Beast.  The Beast isn’t really a horrible beast after all once you get to know him.

I am not immune to this.  I have spent the entire month of November writing about a guy that kidnaps, blinds and maims people on the bequest of an insane Faerie Queen.  Talk about a guy in desperate need of redemption.

If I were writing about the Phooka in a romance novel, he would be in fact a lonely man, tormented about what he is and by what he can’t have.  He would be tragic.  He would be misunderstood.  (He would also be fabulously wealthy, hot as hell and a tiger in the sack.  Just saying.)

In reality, the Phooka (also called Phouka, Pooka or Puca) is an Irish shape shifting Faerie and a real shithead.  It takes the form of a goat, pony, horse, bull, dog and even sometimes an eagle.  Like the German Aufnocker I wrote about in October, it takes an unsuspected person for a terrifying ride to only deposit them in a bog or over a cliff or in a well.  And sometimes, like the Aufnocker, it jumps on someone’s back and takes them for a ride.

The Phooka is also known to abduct children, blight crops, commit acts of robbery and spook livestock. 

Not exactly the romantic lead I’m looking for in the novel, but I think I could work with him.  I’d name him Padraig.

P.S. In a YA novel, the Phooka would be the best friend of the heroine and no matter how hard he tried, she would never see him as anything more than a funny looking goat.