The 3 Things Barbara Maitland Being a Badass Fairy Godmother Can Teach You About Being a Better Storyteller

Are you scared of the Ghost with the Most? So scared you won’t even say his name? So scared you flinch a little when a friend says it?

I get it.

When I was a kid, I thought Bumpelstitlskin (as we’ll call him for safety’s sake) lived in my basement. I could not for the life of me be convinced otherwise.

Even as an adult, when I was still living with my parents, I came down to breakfast one morning and my mother was very convincingly dressed and made up to look like him.

I froze.

I didn’t know what to do. I heard my mother’s voice say “Good morning!” I heard my mother’s voice laugh at my having frozen.

And I couldn’t trust that it was in fact her laugh.

Bumpelstiltskin had — after all — spoken on behalf of Lydia at the wedding that — thankfully — wasn’t.

Eventually, and very slowly, I went into the kitchen and got some breakfast, but it left me really worried. Why did the ghost from our basement still freak me out so much still? Hadn’t we left him in the Old-Old House when moved out?

Like any sane adult might do, I decided to get over it by over-analyzing it. I rewatched the movie again and again that day until I had all the information I needed, and I haven’t watched it since.

Until now. I mentioned the name in front of a friend who immediately flinched, and I shared with them why they didn’t need to be scared of my having said the name once. And it occurred to me that I should probably make that info available to … well … everyone.

But that wasn’t enough for me, so I also decided to rewatch the movie to pull every useful DEET out of it (get it?) until I was able to find three core lessons that can help anyone improve their storytelling.

So I downloaded the movie, re-watched it, took copious notes, and went live sharing:

  • What the devil is in all the DEETZ (now, do you get it? They’re called the Deetzes and Deets is short for Details!);
  • How to spot the feminist fairy tale under the spooks and jokes; and,
  • Why this is just as important in your daily life as it is in your storytelling.

And all you gotta do is watch a video. You don’t have to say my name three times or anything!