Stumble Upon Magic

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We all have a place where we find magic. It might not always be in a place that makes sense, it may creep up on you, it may only reveal itself to you in its absence – but we’ve all found it.

I’ve found magic on my travels this summer. In the people I have fallen in love with, the places I have discovered, and the challenges I have overcome, something everlasting and pure and fizzy has bubbled under the surface of the everyday. I felt it in the air last night: in the brightness of fairy lights as they hung from trees, and in the furry skins of stuffed toy animals. I piled my bags into the taxi on my way to finding home, and I met a man who held a very different kind of magic.

The driver had a thick tongue that caught on the roof of his mouth as he spoke, and a lawn of midnight black hair wrapped around his lower skull. He gripped the steering wheel with an attentive hold, and would anxiously glance back to make sure I was comfortable, pointing out bottles of water and offering me gum.

Soon he began telling me stories about his past as a musician, his qualifications from Trinity College in England, his passion for the drums.

‘But I don’t play for the world anymore. I play for Jesus. I play for him.’

I am not a religious person. I don’t know if my faith would have a label, but if it did, it wouldn’t be Christian. I wouldn’t name a being called Jesus. I wouldn’t clasp my hands over rosary beads and mutter to the heavens.

But I am in awe of the faith that resides in those that do all of those things.

I asked this man why he stopped playing for the world, asked him why the world doesn’t deserve his music any more.

‘Ten years ago, my life did a 180. I was a bad man, doing bad things. I drank too much alcohol, and I smoked – oh I smoked 80 cigarettes a day. Soon, everyone hated me. My wife, my children… they only stayed because I had money.

Then one day, during a rehearsal, I fell down with a heart-attack. For two days I lay in a coma, and while I was unconscious I had a vision. It was Jesus. He came to me and said ‘I want you. Come to me.’ When I woke up, I told my doctors and my family. My wife was always religious and she cried on my face. They ran tests and found no nicotine in my blood, no alcohol. I don’t care what scientists call it, I call that a miracle. Jesus brought me back and gave me new blood.

‘Every day since, I play in the Church. I serve. I don’t play for the world any more, but I do serve it. I make sure people like you get home safe at night, and I play them my music, and I tell them about God.’

So it was at midnight last night that I found a new blossom of magic on the freeway to home. I saw this man and I felt that buzzing feeling when he spoke. Something extraordinary was thrumming behind his words; that something that I had felt earlier in the lights hanging in the air. Like me, that man knew magic existed.

And like me, he was going to hang on to it as hard as he could. 

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I think I am possessed.

To my dear readers of this blog post –

Today, this blog is taking the (albeit vague) form of a letter, which is down to the fact that I have spent my entire day writing a short epistolary story. I have come home, exhausted, with my first draft tucked neatly away in my documents folder, happy with what I’ve accomplished…

…but at the same time, full of the emotions of the character penning the letters.

In short, at the tender age of twenty, I am currently feeling like an exhausted widow, having just said goodbye to her husband and daughter.

Heavy stuff to deal with on a Wednesday afternoon.

But isn’t this, at the same time, absolutely fantastic? That you can spend the whole day writing and become so immersed in the tale you’re creating that it crawls under your skin and refuses to separate itself when you put it away? Right now, I feel possessed by this character – but it is a welcome possession. I am waiting with baited breath for a voice to whisper to me the next line of a letter. Crazy though this may sound, I revel in the absolute control a story has over me when writing. Whenever this happens to me, I feel I have created something a little bit magical.

Someone I look up to a great amount in the world of writing once said that it is when you manage to write your greatest truth, with nobody, not even yourself recognising it in your work, that you have achieved something truly special. The piece I wrote today may not be special to anyone but me, but I am fine with that. I am happy in the knowledge that there is a tiny piece of me in that story, that there is a nugget of pure honesty nestled away waiting silently for recognition.

As long as what you write is true to yourself, you can ask for no more.

So today, I want to celebrate writing. I want to celebrate the fantasies, and realities, and topsy-turvy worlds of craziness that are penned by the minds of writers. Greatness in the shortest haiku or the thickest doorstop of a novel is something to shout out in happiness about to the whole world!

Today I wrote something true and I am proud of that.

Tomorrow, my lies may be true for another and I will be equally proud of that.

Either way, creation is a gateway to greatness. Let it take hold.

What did you create today?

Yours, in anticipation of tomorrow,

Elspod.