Today’s post is a little bit off the beaten track for me, but I think it’s one I need to write, seeing I’m a fantasy author. I write about magic, and in this blog, I’ve written ABOUT writing about magic, but that’s all well, fantasy stuff. I realize I’ve never written a post about where I see magic in the real world. I felt magic this afternoon, and feel compelled to write about it.
Roald Dahl once wrote, “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole word around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Well, I think Dahl was onto something there, as is an older women I met in my time at the University of Alabama who once told me she believes everyone is born with a superpower. Her definition of a superpower just isn’t what you’d think.
“You ever been with someone who’s just so exhausting to be around they suck all energy out of a room? Well, that’s a superpower. That’s their superpower.”
I guess I felt the opposite effect of that today hanging out with a good friend and her daughter, who’s almost seven months old. That baby, I’m telling you, is just the sweetest little thing! I’ve been in a bit of a negative place lately, but when that baby was smiling at me, I’m telling you, all the negativity just melted away. Everything was right with the world for those few moments. You just have to see this kid: her smile and laugh have that effect on everyone. I’ve spent quite a bit of time around her, and I’ve seen it happen time and again. I can’t tell you how many people I have watched just melt away at her smile. Some people might wonder how I consider that magic, but really…. I wonder how someone could consider it anything else.
Magic doesn’t have to involve spells and incantations. It needn’t be the result of potions or wand-waving, or bring about invisibility. Like G. K. Chesterton, who writes in “Orthodoxy” that he is Catholic because the faith allows him to believe in fairies, and that children are drawn to fairy tales because they know, instinctively, that each fairy tale holds actual, necessary truths about the universe, I believe that our lives and our world are magical. One of the reasons I’m drawn to fantasy literature is because it exaggerates what we all know and feel every day: magic is all around us. Chesterton believes it’s magic that the grass is green and the sky blue, when the grass could just as easily be yellow or red, or the sky a muddy brown. I believe magic exists all around us, and I think it’s absolutely amazing–and humbling–to realize some of the most powerful magic-workers among us are also the most innocent and defenseless.
So, those are my two cents for the day. I promise I’ll get back soon to posts centered around the writing process. I think that, sometimes, it can be just as useful to examine why we do something as to think about how best to do it, and well, today reminded me about why I write fantasy. I think I chose the right genre back in college!