01 March 2010

Lesson #12: There is magic in the world.

This is the first post I've actually had trouble writing.  Not because I don't know what I want to say, like in Lesson 2.  Not because it kind of sucks to admit, like Lesson 7.  I think it's just where I am tonight.  Or maybe I'm getting cynical in my old age! Noooooo! 

..alright, I was somewhat cynical before.

Still, I believe in magic.  Not the card game.  Not the Harry Potter kind.  Forget Tolkien.

I'm talking about something that transforms a person, an experience that changes them, even if it's just for a little while, or just during the course of one day.  Sometimes it can be the little things (Lesson 9), or something that touches us, or the way a loved one looks at us, or smiles at us. These are special things.  They have their own magic.

There have been times when running has been this for me.  Either the act itself, or the time I get to myself when I end up running alone.  It's thinking time, purifying, finishing.  It makes me pay attention to my body.  I feel different, usually better, when I'm done.

I also get this through writing, and reading.

There's a DH Lawrence quote that I love:
"After all, the world is not a stage -- not to me: nor a theatre: nor a show-house of any sort. And art, especially novels, are not little theatres where the reader sits aloft and watches... and sighs, commiserates, condones and smiles. That's what you want a book to be: because it leaves you so safe and superior, with your two-dollar ticket to the show. And that's what my books are not and never will be. Whoever reads me will be in the thick of the scrimmage, and if he doesn't like it -- if he wants a safe seat in the audience -- let him read someone else."

I love the idea of a book drawing you into the middle of its world, because thats what great books do - regardless of whether they're called classics or not, and regardless of drama.  They create something, and it's new and different for each reader.  My vision of the world and the characters might be entirely different from yours.  The author may be guiding me, but I'm also coming to the story with my own experiences, my own perceptions.  And, using those, I can lose myself in an entirely different universe for a little while, until I surface, time has passed, and I feel (maybe) like I'm coming back into reality.

The magical part is that there's such a strong experience, one that's unique but also on some level universal, squashed between two covers.

That's cool.

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