Thursday, 16 February 2012

A Kind of Magic


Do you believe in magic?

I do. You may call it different things depending on your outlook – coincidence, synchronicity, serendipity, chance, intuition, ‘the universe’, flow, fate or grace. Whichever, it exists for me just as surely as the material world does.

A tiny example: yesterday I slept late and switched on the radio at 10am. The first words I heard were the Woman’s Hour presenter introducing journalist Sophie Radice. Sophie’s novel, The Henry Experiment, has just been published by Linen Press Books – my publisher. Coincidence, yes. But it brings something else, a heightened awareness, a sense of something special happening – as someone I know recently described it, it’s ‘the sparkle in the eye of life.’

Magic is what happens when you go ‘into the zone’, whether writing, painting, running, sculpting, singing or speaking. In these magical moments, all that’s required of you is that you turn up and apply yourself – or, the case of writing, you apply the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair and begin. It’s like turning on a tap. Gradually, as you move more and more into your ‘flow’, words come to you. Ideas appear. Where did that felicitous phrase come from? How did that simile work so well? They certainly didn’t come through your thinking them up. They just arrived, seemingly fully formed, on the page. It’s the same with painting. I look back at paintings I’ve made and have no idea how I did them, or indeed how I could replicate them now. They ‘just came’.

It puts me in mind of Winnie-the-Pooh and Rabbit, and how Winnie-the-Pooh sits and lets things come to him, while Rabbit goes out and fetches them. Though perhaps a better analogy is that of the sculptor who ‘knows’ that the finished form already exists within the stone – it’s her job to chip away the extraneous material to reveal it.

Perhaps our stories are already there, deep in the recesses of our unconscious, waiting for us to trust our process enough to begin. Perhaps synchronicities arrive to remind us of this. Who knows?

I was sitting in front of a blank screen with no ideas for this post, having just read an email from my father entitled 'Magic'. Why not, I thought?

Do you believe in magic?

12 comments:

Sandra Davies said...

I like this post - and know exactly what you mean. Magic? Certainly feels like it when it happens. And if we found a way to do it to order it would soon cease to be so. I wonder, though, does exercising increase the likliehood of it occuring?

Sandra Davies said...

Damn - I've spelt 'likelihood wrong again - apologies

Helen Black said...

Being from oop north, magic and the like is not really in my DNA.

But I do believe in the sparkle, as you put it. It's those moments when you hear a song and know exactly what the lyrics mean, or when you see a painting and see deeply into the artists soul.

And for me, as a writer, it's when the story comes alive.
HB x

Derek said...

Magic - whether it be childhood wishes, folkloric traditions or that WOW sense of wonder - takes us into the slipstream of what could be rather than what convention tells us is supposed to be. When we are 'enchanted' the world appears truly enchanting.

Roderic Vincent said...

Thanks, Susie, I enjoyed that. The one or two things I've written that I am satified with, they all have a sense of not being written by me. Perhaps they came by magic.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Sandra, I wonder about the exercising thing too. The only conclusion I've come to is that this stuff happens when I am relaxed and receptive. So I guess all you can do is to practise receptivity.
LOL, Helen, you Northern pragmatist, you! Maybe magic is, as you so beautifully describe, soul and sparkle and understanding and aliveness all coming together in a moment.
Derek, that's a lovely thing to remember.
Rod, it seems to me that the joy of creativity is the combination of magic being channelled through a particular individual. Those poems wouldn't happen without you,
that's for sure!
Susiex

Neil said...

Ah yes...I had a little of it this morning. Woke with a head full of new ideas for my wip which I'd been pretty blocked on, ran for pencil and notebook to jot down a few headlines quick, then wrote with fresh enthusiasm for four hours non-stop. Sometimes I love being a writer.
Not exactly magic, but it is a mystery sometimes where it comes from.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Oh, that is definitely magic, Neil. How lovely. :)
Susiex

Debs Riccio said...

I think my wand needs an MOT :)

Susie Nott-Bower said...

LOL, Debs!
Susiex

Kath said...

I definitely believe in magic and I believe that we tap into it when we open ourselves to the possibility. As writers, that's our job, and though it should be easy enough, sometimes it's bloody tricky. But brilliant when you really do get into the zone.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Kath, I agree - magic won't happen unless we are open to it - but that's the hard bit!
Susiex