I got on a particular kind of roll yesterday, and forgot to talk about something…
…So, if not so much an update, consider this an addendum.
There are a lot of things I don’t believe in. If you read the last post, you know some of them already. But here’s the thing: I may not believe in them, but I still have a deep love and interest in them.
I know, crazy talk.
As an insanely curious person, I love to learn about all manner of topics. And I’ve learned a lot of stuff in my 35 years so far. I’m particularly fond of any thing having to do with the supernatural. It is my first love. Has been for as long as I can remember.
So, following that curiosity, because I was never really told not to, I went on to learn – and continue to learn – an enormous amount of information concerning things supernatural.
(I.E. ghosts, spirits, angels, demons, gods, monsters, miracles, and magic – of all sorts.)
I’m by no means the foremost expert in any of those fields, but unless you’ve done your homework, if you ask me about any of them, prepare to listen, a lot.
(Did I mention my favorite holiday is Hallowe’en? No? Well it is.)
And, maybe, learning about these things has made it so I can’t believe in them any more. I’m okay with that. I still think they’re magical, and spooky, and thrilling.
And this is one of the reasons that the fiction I write tends to be genre fiction, of one form or another. Because the world doesn’t have real magic – outside of illusionists – or real monsters of the non-human variety.
(At least, not in my experience.)
In genre fiction I can imagine a world where these things are real, and have a real impact on life. And, if I write it well enough, I can create that world, allow it to be inhabited by wondrous creatures and, hopefully, entranced readers, (and myself), at least temporarily.
In that, I think the impermanence is necessary. If it lasted forever, it would lose its spark, its sense of somehow being special because it only happens so often and never lasts for very long.
(This is one of my biggest bitches about the ever-stretching of the holiday seasons. It spreads out the wonder and magic so thinly that it becomes ordinary. And there is nothing worse than an ordinary thing that used to feel extraordinary. Nothing so depressing as having the magic wrung out of life. But I digress.)
Back to impermanence.
I, regardless of what I believe or don’t believe, really wouldn’t want those things I write about to be real, and/or a consistent part of our reality. I just wouldn’t.
Can you imagine a world where magic is real? I’m not talking about illusion, but the actual restructuring of reality by ritual and force of will?
Picture the insane amount of trouble people would get into with that kind of power, which might be exciting to watch if isn’t your house being eaten by some nameless horror your neighbor’s teenage son has summoned up from the abyss in order to get back at the girl who dumped him at homecoming.
And that kind of thing would probably sort itself out. The casualty rate would be high, along with the collateral damage, but eventually the world would reach equilibrium.
What would we have then?
A world plus magic.
And utter boredom.
Think about it. If you consider magic as just another form of technology, and realize how quickly popular and useful forms of technology become ubiquitous, and how that leads to a decline in attention, eventually, after all the portals to hell dimensions closed, and people got tired of rubbing lamps and making wishes, the world would settle back down. Everyone would have magic, and it would be no big deal…
And then I’d have to write adventure stories about accountants.
(Okay, if I wanted to drift into the horror genre I could make them about tax accountants battling the dark sorcerers at the IRS, but it would still be about accountants.)
(By the way, I have nothing against accountants. Let’s face it, someone has to protect us from the wicked necromancers that wield the power of the Infernal Federal Tax Code. But I digress…)
I really don’t want to write stories about accountants.
I want, and endeavor to write stories that have that spark of magic in them; that feeling I had, as a child, listening to ghost stories, watching the jagged silhouettes of Autumn leaves whipping in the wind outside my window when the nights grew cold and shadows grew long.
I want to create magic in the hearts and minds of my readers, and myself, for just a short while.
And this is as close to a supernatural thing as I have ever experienced.
Very interesting to me that a guy who has no belief in the magic of a God is transfixed by the supernatural. Wonder why?
To me, magic has always been about wonder, and possibility. If we wanted to get seriously analytic about it, we could talk about how a lonely and troubled childhood effects a person’s sense of wonder and imagination. But really, no one’s being paid for that kind of work, and who wants to delve into such a boring history? And really, to some extent, I think all human beings are transfixed by the supernatural. I think it’s a product of our species’ evolved mental tendency to attribute agency to the unknown. But, in the end, it really doesn’t matter. Wonder is wonder. As long as we still have some of it, life will always be just a little bit brighter, a little bit more beautiful and mysterious. I’ll take that, over some of the more somber alternatives, any and every day.