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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What is your story?

I have recently been told of a theory that in all literature, there are only two ‘types’ of story:

  • A love story – this includes hate as an extension or opposite form of love
  • And a ‘fish out of water’ story – one where a person is put into an entirely alien situation and is unsure of how to proceed

At first glance, this appears a strange thing to say. Surely it cannot be that every piece of fiction can be labelled so broadly? There are intricacies to consider, character fluctuations, magnificent creatures and unknown worlds battling in never ending wars.

It is a theory you read, scoff at, and discard without consideration.

However, in the past week I have made the biggest step of my life so far. I have moved to a new city and undertaken a degree in that which I love the most: English with Creative Writing. I have had to deal with faulty door keys, broken boilers and cookers with no marked temperatures or functions. In short, I have had to grow up in an entirely different way than I have ever experienced.

So I began to wonder if this theory may have a point – for wouldn’t it be wonderful if at least something in this world could be so brilliantly simple?

I am the first to admit that we all have a tendency to over complicate matters to the nth degree, calculating and compensating for possibilities and actualities, fighting over figures and statistics to come to one measly conclusion. Why is it that when we look at a collection of books we assume that they are all completely separate from one another? As with all things in life, everything written is intertwined with something or someone else. A poem is written in response to a novel; a novel in response to a play; a play in response to real life. And what is it in Life, that everyone values above all else? What is it that writers and directors and singers strive to portray in their work to connect with the audience?

LOVE and LONELINESS.

When you strip down the contents of a library to its bare essentials, you will find pages of exactly that. From Shakespeare and his star crossed lovers; to J.K.Rowling and her orphan protagonist thrown into the ‘wizarding world’.

Stop trying to factor in metaphors and hyperbole. Stop analysing syntax and rhythm. Just absorb the core message at the heart of a text and listen to what it is trying to tell you.

And then maybe try this when all in your world is becoming too much. Strip away the leaking washing machine and the poorly cat. Throw down that magazine telling you that by eating this combination of nuts you may get cancer. Disregard that person who purposefully slammed into you when you walked past them. And just think.

What is your story today?

sphere-itize me, captain by Demi-Broke

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.