Saturday, November 12, 2011
When two hearts are carin’,
Memories we’ve been sharin’ . . .
I’ll never forget the moment we kissed,
The night of the hayride,
The way that we hugged to try to keep warm,
While takin' a sleigh ride.
--from Magic Moments by Burt Bacharach and Hal David
During my senior year in high school, Perry Como's hit version of "Magic Moments" was on the radio so often that it was impossible not to memorize the song, much less get the lyrical music out of one's head. Anyone in love--or who wanted to be in love--could identify with the concept of magic moments, those special times spent with the person they were going steady with (as we said then).
I can testify that after one is married the song still applies--not that I'm still listening to that old song. I can hear it, though as I type this post.
In those days, I was buying my first books about psychic and mystic phenomena. Like today's books, most of them offered recipes for various techniques that (purportedly) would yield wonderful results in faithfully practiced. I can testify, after years of reading those books, that if one doesn't practice those techniques faithfully, there will still be magic moments.
How to replicate them on demand is a skill I have not mastered. Nonetheless, I get a lot of vicarious pleasure watching the characters in my novels do the magic that still remains the stuff of my dreams. In an interview with author Smoky Zeidel, I said that my characters to what I cannot. At the time, I was referring to primarily to travel and mountain climbing.
Amazon used to have a concordance that could be accessed on most of its books listings that showed the significant phrases used in the text. Quite often, most phrases were the names of the primary characters, their figures of speech, and the book's primary locations and settings. ("Holy Bear Puke" was a "significant phrase" in my 2004 novel The Sun Singer because it was a pet phrase of my character Cinnabar.)
At any rate, with the proper algorithms, perhaps such a concordance might also list a book's magic moments. Some of these might be kisses, rainbows and starry nights. Others would demonstrate true magic. In contemporary fantasies like The Sun Singer and Sarabande, the instances of magic per one thousand words would be higher than chance. Certainly, books by Tolkien, Rowling and Bradley would also have an above average amount of magic. Unlike real life where magic isn't usually accepted as real (much less as good), magic is a common and expected moment in fantasy novels.
That's why I write them. They show the world I believe exists just slightly beyond my everyday perception. Had I practiced the techniques in those books, I might see farther than I do. My protagonist in Garden of Heaven: an Odyssey (magical realism) climbed K2 and Mt. Everest, mountains I planned (while listening to that Perry Como song) to climb one day.
Likewise, in all three of these novels, characters borne out of my youthful dreaming and my adult imagination can see what the eye cannot see, hear what the ear cannot detect, and raise healing energy into the sky in the colors of the northern lights. I have given them many magic moments, and I am content with that.