excerpt du jour ~mccammon

You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.

After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm.

That’s what I believe.

The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It’s like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you “sir.” It just happens.

These memories of who I was and where I lived are important to me. They make up a large part of who I’m going to be when my journey winds down. I need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic again. I need to know and remember, and I want to tell you.

~Robert R. McCammon, Boy’s Life


4 thoughts on “excerpt du jour ~mccammon

  1. This is amazingly true. I don’t think parents, teachers, rabbis, nuns, and other caretakers and authority figures mean to take our magick…but they do. Getting it back is magical in itself. It means returning to a pure heart like when we were a child and we believed in fairies and elves and Santa.
    I love and embrace the world of magick and all that is involved in that simple way of being. Thank you for sharing this today. You made my day. Hugs, Brenda

    • I’m so glad! I was so taken with this passage when I came across it…I’ve always believed in magic, though often in secret, since most “grownups” don’t.

      Years ago, I played a role in a fairy tale ballet in which I transformed from an old crone garbed in black into a beautiful queen in sequins and crown, right onstage. In reality, after the first scene as the crone, I changed costumes, but put the old crone’s black cape back on, so that the queen costume was completely covered. So, in the next scene, all I had to do was do a turn and throw the cape and hood back over my shoulders and voila! Glittery, shiny queen!

      Anyway, we always had a little tea after the performances so the kids could meet the dancers and the other characters. One day, a little girl came running up to me (dressed as the queen, of course) after the performance, threw her arms around my knees and hugged me, and asked with wonder in her eyes, “How did you change from the old lady into the queen?” I began explaining how it had been done, but I saw her eyes clouding over, so I stopped mid-sentence and said, in a conspiratorial whisper, “It was magic!” Her face lit up with a combination of awe and satisfaction…like she was thinking, “Wow! I knew it!”

      Having taught dance to children for many years, I’d always known how fertile the imaginations of children are and how much they live in that place of believing in things unseen, but that day really brought home to me just how important it is to nurture and keep that place alive for them. That little girl wanted to believe in the magic that day…who was I to spoil it for her? :)

  2. I love your story. When I go into the woods with any of my grandchildren, no matter their age, I always hunt around for fairy kingdoms in broken trees. They are fascinated, as am I, and of course we always find at least one kingdom in tact. I am still mesmerized when I sit outside and watch all the leaves on a tree remain motionless while only one leaf or one branch sways. I think there may little sprites on that branch!!

    • I love that! One night at bedtime, my sister started telling my niece a story she made up on the fly about “Lily the Flower Fairy”. Now the “Lily stories” have become a regular thing. I think there’s a children’s book in there somewhere (my sister is also a writer). :)

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