Magic Words: Why We Read and Why We Write

by Guest Blogger May 07, 2009

[M]y favorite books are those that have a bit of magic or the supernatural in them, from childhood favorites like "The Secret Garden," Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" series, and Cecily Mary Barker's "Flower Fairies" to adult versions like Salman Rushdie's "Midnight Children" and even the pop-culture "Twilight." What I love most are those books that intertwine the real and the supernatural in a natural, almost subtle way. When I was growing up, I often wished for supernatural powers - ESP or the ability to move things with my mind - and played games that involved magic with my best friend in her hilly backyard. Under the oaks and in the dry, crackling California weeds, we played out scenes from our favorite book, "The Dark is Rising." As my children, now almost 3 and 4 1/2, mature, their games and play become more and more intertwined in the magical and make believe. My son loves to play superhero games and battle as his original "Stinkbug," even going to the grocery store in character. My daughter flits around as a princess who can cast spells and recently paid me the best compliment, telling me "You're not a woman. You're a fairy, like me." I watch them with their current children books and am thrilled to think about all the amazing stories they have ahead of them. Writing, in itself, whether it is about magic or the supernatural is magical in itself.  Writing is magical in our ability to use words to create books and in the act of setting out a world on a page to share with others. If you write, you may have had the experience of writing a piece, completing it, setting it aside, and picking it up sometime later to find that you have no memory of what you wrote. This is such an amazing experience, a magical experience. When else do we pour ourselves into creating something - a baby, a meal, a garden - to forget what we created? I am in awe of God's gift to man, starting with Adam who was given the job of naming the animals, of words. There is, indeed, something supernatural - even magical - in our ability to use words and to create worlds with them.


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