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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Black Cat

You are my feline, whispering stealthily from ear – to head – to heart. Promises you can / cannot keep, wishes you grant / cannot grant; I hear the purrs and grasp your neck between my fingers.

Be mine.

You are still. Frozen; you know I have caught you but instead of bending to my will you pretend you are not there. You embody, you become the oxymoron. Fluffy feline and foxy predator. If I hold my breath for long enough you will think I am no longer there. And oh, so wrong you will be.

Longing does not exist with lust. Longing is the aftermath of lust, tinted with ‘what ifs‘ and ‘should I’s‘ and ‘maybe’s‘. I long for you. With every breath I wish you closer.

And with every breath I wish you gone.

Walking home in the dead of night, you visit me. Sleek black coat, claws that click on pavements, sharp eyes that glint. A tail swishes from left to right in the afterglow of an orange street lamp.

Still here.

Waiting.

Embracing.

Inkmen

When nib kissed paper, electricity fizzed outwards in a spider web of sparks and you were born.

You shocked me at first. You were thinner than I had planned, with a smudge of a moustache on your upper lip. A rumpled suit hung off your body; a pair of spades for hands poked out from the sleeves as if curious to see the world. When you walked, your chest curved inwards on itself, shy, despite the confident stride of your loafer clad feet.

Not a word was spoken until sunset. You sat in the margin and hugged your knees while I sat on my giant’s throne and squinted down at you. Mine. My tiny creation, perched on the edge. When you looked at me, I gasped: I had forgotten to give you an eye colour. Two dark coals were buried in your sockets, burning with a flameless heat. Who am I? you asked.

I haven’t decided yet. I think your name might be Jonah.

You rolled the name around in your mouth like an oversized marble, raising one eyebrow. Every move you made was beautiful to me. I picked up my pen again, eager to fill you out, but you stood up, shaking your head in fear. You hurled your thin body at me and tried to batter down the walls between us. Vaguely frightened, I looked on in wonder. The screams coming from your mouth were strangled, muted. There is no escape for you here, I tell you. This is the world I built for you.

I don’t like it. This is not what I wanted. Oil tears fall thickly down your face and silhouette hands press into your eye sockets. Your shoulders shake.

It is not what I wanted either. Heart pounding, I throw my pen to one side, slam the pages of the notebook shut and stuff it hurriedly onto a crammed shelf. Not only yours, but many muffled sounds issue from the long row of identical jotters: snippets of song, laughter, the miniscule taps of feet pacing. If I close my eyes, I can almost see every birth, every creation.

And I wonder if it was good.

Well, dip me in ink and colour me purple!

The most magical moment in writing is when what you are carving out, letter for letter, comes to life. It breathes, it sings, it roars, it flies from the page and into the aether. And you are Creator.

Now, this is not new to any of you. In fact, I am certain that you have had many more of these moments that I could ever lay claim to – and I envy that. When the characters on a page run away from you and say something you had never planned…and something you could now never discard. When a world is built up around you brick by brick…until the bricks melt away and turn to seamless marble. When a monster twists and mutates…and becomes the most beautiful creature ever dreamt. I hope to have that. I hope to one day look back at my work and be able to point to the sky and say: ‘I made that. That is me up there.’

The thing is, I have learned recently that we bring things to life every day, and not necessarily in writing. Talking to a small child we find ourselves telling stories of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, shaping that tiny person’s mind and filling it with imagination and wonder. The first time we question the ‘Meaning of Life’ or some equally daunting prospect, we are cooking up a whole recipe of ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ and stirring them until they match the consistency of what we feel but cannot quite say. Telling someone you love them brings to the surface a lifetime of expectations, of puffy white dresses, of fat little children, and the wrinkles of old age.

We are living not in one static world, but a mismatch of thousands. We are eternally creating endless possibilities, beginnings of the new, memorials of the old, promises of the future. We are conductors of silent music and summoners of dreams. We nuture in nature and blur features in a mirror. We are eternally Creators of ourselves and all of those around us.

So those days when you feel like there is nothing of worth you can offer and you’d be better off staying in bed? Hell, do it. Stay under that duvet and don’t even get a glimpse of the sun until you are ready.

Instead, spend the day dreaming up fantastical notions of dragons, and power, and magic. Dream, and create, and mould, and adapt.

And then, Creator, get out of bed and share it with the world.

by littl3fairy

by littl3fairy

It’s all in the eyes.

We all have a story. It may not be the most dramatic, the most romantic, the most heroic…but it’s still a story. That man you walked past this morning? He’s just found out his wife is pregnant. The teenager you saw waiting at a bus stop in the rain? She’s just stood up for herself to the boy she loves. The old couple feeding the ducks by the pond? They’ve been together for 56 years and have never stopped loving each other.
Every story is different and yet equally precious.

One of the most amazing things about human beings is our ability to miss magic. Sure, we’ve all read Harry Potter and it was fantastic but it wasn’t REAL. It’s people that are real. With their flesh and bones and blood and feelings. There are REAL LIFE stories happening to REAL LIFE people all over the world-they’re happening to you-and yet we are so consumed by our own dramas that we don’t stop to consider that there may be something bigger out there, waiting quietly in the corner until it attracts our attention.

It’s all in the eyes. If you stop, if you REALLY stop and look at other people, you can tell. You can read happiness in an eye, you can read sadness. You can tell if someone is exhausted or excited or high. All of these stories are right in front of us to see and yet we don’t even bother to look. It’s life that is the magic here.

I recently lost someone I loved. He was an amazing man. One who would sing to you and dance with you and deliberately get your name wrong just so he could share a cheeky wink with you when nobody was watching. He loved life-you could see it in his eyes. He had so many stories to tell, so many more to create. And then, in an instant it seemed, his story ended and none of us were ready for it to end. We hadn’t heard enough of it, we hadn’t paid enough attention when it really counted.

Don’t ignore the stories that are all around you. Don’t waste your time looking inwards when a few steps to your left is the next Mozart, his fingers fluttering out the melody of his next timeless masterpiece. Forget Harry Potter. You-WE-are the real magic.

And it’s all in the eyes.