In Each Retelling Finds The Twists In The Tales
Jasmine Garcia shares my love of stories. We've played in several TTRPGs together, and we love discussing how various books, movies, and TV shows have helped us shape the characters we inhabit during our games. Now Jasmine has expanded that conversation into a podcast called In Each Retelling, where she and her guests discuss and dissect the tropes and tales that have shaped pop culture. I recently took some time to ask Jasmine about her interest in storytelling and how her podcast helps people see old stories in a new light.
1) What inspired you to create this podcast?
I've always wanted to do something related to retellings. I am an aspiring author and have a number of retellings of my own in my works-in-progress list, but I also really enjoy discussing existing art and media. I thought about doing a show called The Fairytale Critic with basically that premise, and then I considered a video essay format. But as Ben Schwartz once tweeted, "Video killed the radio star, and now podcasts are out for revenge." Thank goodness the people in my inner circle seemed to think it was a good idea and said they would help me out.
2) When did you first become interested in adaptations and retellings of classic stories?
Storytelling has always been my greatest passion. As a small child I was writing crossovers of different fairy tales and Disney properties. When I was barely out of elementary school, I was devouring the likes of Gail Carson Levine and other writers that were doing postmodern takes on these old stories. By the time I was about 13, I knew I wanted to try to write my own. As I got older, I became more aware of the way retelling old stories from new perspectives could be a means of letting more marginalized people have their say on the so-called "Western canon." As a fat, queer Latina, that's so important to me. To quote one of the topics we'll be tackling soon, "Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing." I'd expand that into believing that your voice matters in your culture's storytelling and is just as powerful.
3) Many of your guests approach stories through different lenses: multicultural, socio-political, and so on. Have these perspectives helped you see myths, legends, and folklore in a new light?
Oh, absolutely yes. It was always one of my goals in this podcast to do exactly that. One of the beautiful things about storytelling is that no two people are going to have the same view on a piece of media, the same way no two retellings will ever be exactly alike. I feel like I learn something new whenever I record an episode, because I'm blessed with a social circle full of people who are all intelligent and insightful. As you said, they are able to come at these episodes from different angles, whether it's a more academic, analytical approach, or a creative, almost fan-creator mindset of, "Let's script doctor this 30-year-old film."
4) Why do you think so many classic stories and tropes endure, despite sweeping changes in society?
Part of it is definitely how ubiquitous these stories often are. More likely than not, the first story you remember being told is a fairytale or folktale that's existed for centuries, and most of us have read a Shakespeare play or Greek myth for school, if nothing else. At this point, many of these stories have taken deep roots in our culture. I doubt we'll ever stop talking about them, let alone retelling them. I also think these stories all have some aspect that we can relate to as human beings. Like I said before, every person will have a unique perspective on these works, which means there'll always be a new interpretation to find.
-- Katie Duffy