That old black magic
“That Old Black Magic” is the name of the popular 1942 song sung by Frank Sinatra and others. We’re accustomed to the notions of “weaving a spell,” “icy fingers,” and “old witchcraft.” At least that’s how we saw magic during World War II and the years when I was growing up.
I’ve been thinking about magic this week because of the Magical Realism Blog Hop, now in its fourth year. There are over 25 posts on the hop at present, a wonderful variety of views about the genre many of us can’t do without as readers and/or writers. I contributed two posts two the hop. Those posts force one to pull together the why and what about how one writes, things normally out of sight and out of mind while one writes–just as one seldom thinks about just how they ride a bicycle while riding a bicycle.
My novella Conjure Woman’s Cat is magical realism. So is the sequel that I’m hoping to have ready for release this fall. My approach in the books–and in my blog hop posts as well–is that magic is just as natural as breathing, though many of us were taught as kids that it’s nonexistent, bad, or weird. Sure, we may be willing to say a lover has cast a spell on us, but otherwise magic is off the radar for a lot of people except when they read about it in fantasy or magical realism novels and stories. I see a lot of spirituality coaches, books and websites around the Internet, so perhaps more people are exploring what’s available outside the limitations of their physical senses.
I’ve studied magic all my life, though it’s not something I bring unless I’m talking about writing. People seem a little more open about it now than they did when Sinatra’s song came out. Many aren’t so quick to condemn it as evil and/or nonsensical superstitions. For me, magic is about what mainstream science hasn’t discovered yet or isn’t quite sure about. It’s also about the power of positive thinking as opposed to concentrating one’s thoughts on the worst that might happen.
I write fiction to tell a story, hopefully a story readers will enjoy. I don’t write it to convert people to a magical way of life. There are plenty of books out there that show how to meditate, use the power of attraction, take mental journeys, and focus thoughts on where one wishes to go rather than on fearful events.
Bad things happen in my books because they make stories compelling. It’s hard to write a story without conflicts. My characters combat the bad things with magic. I’m drawn to those kinds of stories and they’re very satisfying to write.
If you’ve read and enjoyed a few magical realism books, or are curious about the genre, I invite you to click on the link in the second paragraph and read some of the posts people have uploaded during the past three days. Of course, you don’t have to believe in magic to enjoy a good story.