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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

November 5, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Fairy tale characters as wayward millennials: Q&A with author of a hilarious Tumblr blog

Fairy Tales for Twentysomethings creator Tim Manley both writes and illustrates the popular Tumblr blog. (Image used with permission)

A couple weeks ago I posted about one of those hilarious, addictive Tumblr blogs — this one a spot-on sendup of my generation called “Fairy Tales for Twentysomethings.”

Among the posts: “The prince and the pauper unfriended each other on Facebook because neither one could stand the other’s political status updates.”

I reached out to the creator, just in case he’d be willing to let us take a quick peek behind the scenes.

And what do you know — 27-year-old Tim Manley, of Queens, N.Y., was only too happy to oblige.

Check out the blog if you haven’t already. See if you don’t laugh out loud after a few posts (he illustrated the recent ones). Then come back and get the scoop …

Q: What do you do for a living?

A: I worked for 3 1/2 years as a high school English teacher at an awesome public school in Manhattan called School of the Future, and I loved it, but this year I left to work on a novel I’m writing (separate from the fairy tales). So at the moment I make a living by tutoring. Know anyone who needs help with the SATs?

Q: What inspired “Fairy Tales for Twentysomethings”?

A: I’m trying to make sense of what’s happening in my life. And I think a valid question for anyone to ask regardless of age is: “Are the things I’m concerned with meaningful, or kind of dumb?” The fairy tales are a way to poke fun at these concerns but also validate them. This is all just part of how the story goes.

Q: What was the moment you knew it was kind of a hit?

A: One day a little over a thousand people went to the site, which was about a thousand more than the day before.

Q: How do you come up with new ones?

A: I know (my version of) the characters pretty well at this point, so it’s really just about continuing their stories. As far as what the process actually looks like, I stare at a computer screen for a while until I think of something. I type a lot of sentences until I get to one that doesn’t suck. Hopefully.

Q: What do you friends think about you writing these?

A: My friends were supportive of the stories from the start, which was great. Nobody has said to me, “Hey, why did you tell the Internet about the time I quit OkCupid and bought a vibrator?”

Q: Clearly this blog lampoons our generation. What about our generation do you find particularly deserves this treatment?

A: In general, I think most things in life are allowed to be lampooned. Why not? But as far as the “generation” goes, I’m not really sure. It would be oversimplifying to make any broad statement about people in their twenties. There’s also a good deal of tenderness mixed in with the lampooning in the fairy tales, and I think that’s an important piece of them.

Q: Who’s your favorite fairy tale character?

A: Hmm, good question. As a kid, my favorite characters were probably Peter Pan and Robin Hood, because they’re just awesome. But today? I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Cinderella. In the Disney version she sings “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” right when she wakes up in the morning, trying so hard not to give up hope. I’m really rooting for that girl to make it through.

Q: Anyone else you want to give credit to for the blog?

A: I’m grateful to anyone who’s shared the site online. There are also a few friends and family members from whom I seek advice about it, and I’m very much indebted to them.

Q: Lastly, have you done any of the following:

A: Haha. Let’s see:

Used OkCupid: Yes.
Unfriended someone because of politics: No.
Apologized to a significant other via text: No.
Gone on a road trip/vision quest: I went on a big road trip, though I don’t know if I’d call it a vision quest.
Facebook stalked anyone: Oh yes.
Dumpster dived: Nope.

Seen a story that caught your eye re: digital life? Email me at or reach me on Twitter or Facebook.

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