Inspiration for “The Pining”


Recently, “The Pining” came out in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. The story is about a half fairy who enters the fairy realm after living among humans, only to find she can’t eat the food in the fairy realm because it will make her captive forever. She struggles for a way to stay alive, see through the illusion of beauty and get past her “pining.”


I have always loved fairies—good fairies, bad fairies, Brian Froud’s fairies, Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies of the Garden, and all kinds of fairytales. As a child I often wondered why there weren’t more fairies in fairytales. Aside from an occasional fairy godmother, we didn’t see much of the fairy creatures in fairytales. Maybe those weren’t the stories my mother read me as a child because the real fae were too scary in old tales. And maybe it was because there weren’t a whole lot of stories about fairy godmothers, the tooth fairies or actual mermaids who enjoyed being mermaids and didn’t want to become—ick—a human, that I began to draw and write my own.

Illustration for

I write about the wonder and awe I experience when I step into that magical word where fairies exist. And sometimes I literally step into that world. In 2010, I attended my first Fairieworlds in Eugene, Oregon. You can check out their photo gallery and see some of the sprites and nymphs photographed, but it doesn’t capture the ambiance the music creates, translate the feeling in the Neverland area or other details that the imagination expands on when there. I attended Faerieworlds with science fiction/fantasy author, Mary Lowd and her family. It was incredible to see her four-year-old daughter walk around in awe and reverence just like I would have as a child. She was able to tell people afterward that she knew mermaids were real because the one she met sitting in the pool of water gave her a seashell and that was her proof!


After attending my first Faerieworlds, I went home and I immediately wrote “The Pining.”  Longing plays a big role in that story. I think my pining for the fairy realm that I can’t have translated into the character’s hunger for sustenance. Also, I sat down and wouldn’t get up for longer than five minutes while writing that story, so I was pretty hungry by the end too.

When I’m not writing fantasy stories or doing research, I might be posting topics on fairy lore and research on my blog. If you have enjoyed this post, consider signing up for my author newsletter.


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Photo credit:

Photo of Sarina Dorie taken by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, friend and author, at Faerieworlds



“A Window as Clear as a Mirror Illustration” originally published in Shimmer Magazine



“Prince Charming” originally published in Allasso