> jumping into life.

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What magic is there in storytelling but this? The heart creaks open on its secret hinge, peeking round the second-floor banister to listen. Faces rise out of the ether, grow motivations and limbs, and we imbue them with our own souls. We animate them with our own souls; Frodo and Harry are nothing if they are not also me. This is the magic of storytelling: for six and a half hours last week I was Harry; I was Hermione, I was Voldemort, I was dead and rejoined the world. This is no new revelation. This is old magic. I think it might be the oldest drug: six and a half hours of self-medication, of oblivion, of remove from war and hunger and unpaid bills. My grandmother watches four hours of soap operas every day, four hours of self-medication, four hours in which she is young and daring and romantic and not old or alone.

This is the oldest magic. Outgrow stories and you outgrow your own soul, you trap it in the tiny limited sphere of your own psyche. Stories animate us in turn, they draw the boundaries of the world and its rules, and they point the way off the edge of the earth (second star to the right and straight on 'till morning). It is stories that weave the fabric of self and society, whether we mean them to or no. If we are not creating stories on purpose, we get stuck in the stories of the subconscious, the stories of the ego. Better to call the wolf a wolf, and wear our fear like a scarlet cape; to call the wolf Mother and suckle; to call the wolf home to the hearth where he will turn three times before settling down to sleep.

This is powerful magic: deny it at your peril. Write your Hero's Quest or it will write you. The human animal needs heroes as surely as it needs rain; seek them in stories or you will press whomever is at hand to the job, and most will fail. There are dragons in the mountains; there are dragons in the waters; there is no need to slay them, only to give them their due. If they aren't reigning in the wilds, they will surface elsewhere. Personally, I'd rather climb astride and feel the wind on my face and the shifting scales beneath. Personally, I'd rather sneak into the lair and steal the gold myself. Personally, I wish Harry Potter'd had more dragons.

Gorgeous, K.


What a beautiful, sun-bursting post. May we swim with the stories until the ocean dries up!

Thanks, Douglas! Nice to see you here. ;)

I love this post. I did the same thing with that book. And your story musing is in direct parallel with an ongoing conversation I'm having with a friend of mine who lives in SF, when we can fit phone calls in between work and moving and ferrying kids and playing catch and what I'm doing right now which is half-typing, half-watching a bright iridescent green hummingbird drink from flowers.

great post. more than any other reason, what you described there is why i write, why i believe in writing. How i justify all the silly hours i dig to find, to spend alone at my computer...


Thank you bery bery much. Loved the prose and the message.


cc - Glad you survived your move! Those long-distance conversations in installments are often more rewarding than they seem, I find. Sometimes it seems like that's what blogging really is.

Jenn - Heya! Even though I'm not as much of a story-telling writer in the usual sense (ie fiction), it's why I write, too.

Scott - Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

i have a date with my favorite cafe today for a cup of tea and a letter to you on stacks of paper i've saved up at work to reuse as stationery. stand by for letter

nika (harry bloody potter...one day i will be stuck in a distant land with no english books except harry potter to read, and i will either have to work exceptionally hard to read what i can in the language of that land or i will have to give in and read the potter. we shall see who wins.)

Yay letter! I miss you.

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