LiturgicalCredo is an online journal of contemporary parables, fables, and fairy tales in 500 words or less.
Those modes of storytelling can be expressed with the forms of poems, nonfiction, fiction, and one-act drama.
What are new myths, parables, fables, & fairy tales?
Consider those words in their broadest possible senses. We’re not so much interested in precise definitions. We’re pursuing the wonders within good storytelling.
That being said, a few quick quotations can help explain what we’re up to. Please note we’re intentionally including some quotations about myth because they suggest the ethos and aesthetic we desire.
“Parables invite the hearer’s interest with familiar settings and situations but finally veer off into the unfamiliar, shattering their homey realism and insisting on further reflection and inquiry. We have the uneasy feeling that we are being interpreted even as we interpret them.” — Ron Hansen, in “Writing as Sacrament,” from his essay collection A Stay Against Confusion
“Bringing myths down to earth and inflecting them in human rather than heroic terms, fairy tales put a familiar spin on the stories in the archive of our collective imagination.” — Maria Tatar, in The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales
“The wisest thing—so the fairy tale taught mankind in olden times, and teaches children to this day—is to meet the forces of the mythical world with cunning and with high spirits.” — Walter Benjamin, quoted by Tatar
“Fairyland is nothing but the sunny country of common sense. It is not earth that judges heaven, but heaven that judges earth; so for me at least it was not earth that criticised elfland, but elfland that criticised the earth. I knew the magic beanstalk before I had tasted beans; I was sure of the Man in the Moon before I was certain of the moon. This was at one with all popular tradition. Modern minor poets are naturalists, and talk about the bush or the brook; but the singers of the old epics and fables were supernaturalists, and talked about the gods of brook and bush. That is what the moderns mean when they say that the ancients did not ‘appreciate Nature,’ because they said that Nature was divine. Old nurses do not tell children about the grass, but about the fairies that dance on the grass; and the old Greeks could not see the trees for the dryads.” — G.K. Chesterton, in Orthodoxy
“We seek to be surprised, not by a trick ending, but by the feeling we get from reading the piece. At their best, these stories will make you pause, tilt your head and say ‘oh,’ providing a tiny revelation, a new way of seeing, or a new way of saying something you’ve seen and been unable to articulate.” — Sam Ruddick, in his essay “Tiny Revelation,” quoted by Jennifer Pieroni in “Smart Surprise in Flash Fiction,” from The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction
“The fairy-story that succeeds is in fact not a work of fiction at all; or at least no more so than, say, the opening chapters of Genesis. It is a transcription of a view of life into terms of highly simplified symbols; and when it succeeds in its literary purpose, it leaves us with a deep indefinable feeling of truth; and if it succeeds also, as Orwell set out to do [in Animal Farm], in a political as well as an artistic purpose, it leaves us also with a feeling of rebelliousness against the truth revealed.” — C.M. Woodhouse, in The (London) Times Literary Supplement, August 6, 1954
“Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.” — Thomas Aquinas (quotation found here)
“These tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.” — G.K. Chesterton, in Orthodoxy
“What flows into you from the myth is not truth but reality… Myth is the mountain whence all the different streams arise which become truths down here in the valley… myth is the isthmus which connects the peninsular world of thought with that vast continent we really belong to. It is not, like truth, abstract; nor is it, like direct experience, bound to the particular.” — C.S. Lewis, in “Myth Became Fact”
“In the Jewish wisdom tradition a parable (mashal) could be a dark and ambiguous saying like a riddle, but the dominant use of parables among contemporary Jewish teachers was as a means of clarifying scriptural difficulties. As an analogy in narrative form, it could lead someone from an understanding of the familiar to an understanding of the strange.” — Luke Timothy Johnson, in The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation
“For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.” — C.S. Lewis, in “Blusphels and Flalanferes,” from Selected Literary Essays
“In life and art both, as it seems to me, we are always trying to catch in our net of successive moments something that is not successive.” — C.S. Lewis, in his essay “On Stories”
“Myths are things that never happened, but always are.” — Sallustius*
The “is-ness of the was” — Nicholas Berdyaev*
*Quoted in “The Myth-ing Link (Or, Linking Up to Myth)” by Pamelyn Casto in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction
Some of Our Notable Contributors
Under our previous mission statements, we published poetry and short fiction as well as nonfiction. Some of our notable contributors have included:
Peter Reinhart, winner of James Beard Foundation Awards, twice has contributed to LiturgicalCredo, most recently with an essay entitled “Food of the Gods in the City of Peace.”
Rhett Iseman Trull, editor of Cave Wall, published “Counting Miracles at the State Asylum” at LiturgicalCredo. The poem was later anthologized in After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery, edited by Tom Lombardo. Trull eventually published “Counting Miracles” in her first collection of poems, The Real Warnings.
LiturgicalCredo is always open for submissions. To submit a manuscript or to request more information, email Colin Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please limit manuscripts to 300-500 words. We prefer to receive submissions as email attachments of Word documents for manuscripts.
Editor & Publisher
LiturgicalCredo is edited by Colin Foote Burch. Colin has a bachelors degree in English from N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C., and a master of fine arts in creative writing, with an emphasis on literary nonfiction, from Queens University in Charlotte, N.C.
Colin is a lecturer in the Department of English at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C. He worked for 10 years in the newspaper business. He was the business editor and later the features editor at The Sun News, a mid-sized daily newspaper in Myrtle Beach, S.C. In 1996, Colin was a semi-finalist for the Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellowship. He holds awards from the N.C. Press Association and the S.C. Press Association.
Colin spent the first three months of 1998 at the L’Abri Fellowship branch in Greatham, England, where he informally studied the histories of Western philosophy and theology.
In the middle of his journalism career (2001-2003), Colin and his wife opened and operated the now-defunct Living Room Coffee Bar & Used Book Store, which featured paintings, performances, and book signings by local and touring artists, along with the best coffee and espresso available in the Myrtle Beach area.
In 2006, Colin received a scholarship to attend the C.S. Lewis Foundation’s Summer Institute at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., where he studied under poet and playwright Jeanne Murray Walker, a faculty member at the University of Delaware.
In May 2008, he taught a graduate seminar at Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., entitled, “The Role of Imagination in Literary Nonfiction Narratives.”
For six weeks in January and February 2011, Colin taught an adult education forum at Trinity Episcopal in Myrtle Beach, SC, entitled, “C.S. Lewis: A Soldier’s Imagination.”
Other presentations include:
- “‘Environment Is Everything’ is Not The Message of This Book: The Quest for the Mystery Behind Nature in Annie Dillard‘s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” Feb. 29, 2012, guest lecture at the North Myrtle Beach Library, North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The lecture was part of the series, “Let’s Talk About It: Changing Places, Reflections on the Natural World.”
- “Lazy G,” a public reading of an essay for the Words To Say It Visiting Writers Series at Coastal Carolina University, Conway, S.C., April 8, 2014
- “Immerse Your Reader in the Scene: Shaping the Details You Have (and the Details You Don’t Have) in Your Nonfiction Narratives” — Lecture for the Writer’s Workshop at Conway Library, Conway, S.C., April 24, 2014
In addition to his work at The Sun News, Colin’s writing has appeared in New Mirage Journal, Circumambulations, The Charlotte Observer, The (Sumter, S.C.) Item, The (Columbia, S.C.) State, Iodine: A Poetry Journal, Appraisal: The Journal of the Society for Post-Critical and Personalist Studies, and The Weekly Surge. His flash fiction piece “Booze Cream” appeared in the print anthology Ironology 2015. While features editor at The Sun News, he contributed to special travel sections that appeared in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, and several other newspapers.
- T.S. Eliot and the Demise of the Literary Culture (commentarymagazine.com)
- Two new poems by David R. Cravens (liturgicalcredo.wordpress.com)
- Publishing Tips: Nonfiction (shannonathompson.com)
- Real Life: Nonfiction Definition (english.answers.com)
- An Introduction to Charles Williams (liturgical.wordpress.com)