A green forest that looks magickal

Magickal Place

Writing sets me free.

I wrote my first story at the age of six. No, I don’t still have it. My sister read it and made fun of it so, in a flurry of tears, I threw it away. I still have the same reaction with some editors, but I no longer throw things away.

Still, I was only six years old when I tried to create my own world. It was a simple story, a whole three pages long. Written in my childish printing, it talked about a princess with a special horse-friend who helped her escape the castle. Okay, so the story had some holes. What castle? Why did she need to escape? I don’t know. Didn’t know then. Still, I remember that feeling I had while I was writing it. I was just learning my letters, so I took great care to print carefully. I sat and wrote that story all afternoon. When it was done, I put it on my bed so I could show it to my dad later. I never did show it to him.

I remember the feeling I had when I read it after it was finished. There was a feeling in my tummy. Not butterflies, not exactly. Dragonflies. I wasn’t nervous. How could my own story make me nervous? I’m still stumped when writers are nervous about showing their work. Either it’s good or it isn’t. If it isn’t, you go back and make it good.

Those dragonflies in my tummy, though, flitted around with a purpose. I was excited. Even as I read it I wondered what adventures the princess and the horse would have. Sometimes I still do. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something about seeing my words on the paper. Something…

This was my first contact with magick.

Magick, unlike magic, is real. It’s all around and it’s a part of everyone and everything. I was six when I first saw it for what it was.

Magick.

I suppose that’s why I cried when my sister made fun of it. How could she not see the magick of it? Then I got scared. Maybe my dad wouldn’t see the magick, either. I tore it up and threw it away. I remember that incident and it still brings tears to my eyes.

Since then, I’ve learned a few things. My parents understood the magick of the story better than most editors I’ve met in my life. My mother had a grade 8 education and my father had only a grade 6. My father read the newspaper from front to back every day and my family always watched the news, followed by “MASH”. My mother had a talent for weaving a story for an audience and kept me and my friends entranced for hours. My father loved old movies, John Wayne being his favorite, and always took time to explain the parts I didn’t understand. If I have a love of storytelling now, it’s because of them. On my father’s side I get my Metis and Scots heritage, both rich in the art of telling a story. From my mother’s side I get the Irish and English. Let’s face it, the Irish love a good story, a good drink and a good fuck. Not necessarily in that order.

School was always a problem for me. I loved to read and loved to learn. Still do. I simply didn’t see the point of having someone natter information at me. I never took notes and rarely paid attention. Yet, when I got to go out searching for leaves in October for an art project or go to the blackboard to do some math, I came alive. I didn’t care if I got it wrong. This was getting my hands dirty and I learned. Otherwise I was the student the teacher complained wasn’t working to potential or didn’t play well with others. Truth is, I didn’t work to their potential and I still don’t play well with others. I don’t see a problem with that.

In junior high, I found a teacher who loved the story as much as I did. I can still remember sitting in his class, on the edge of my seat waiting to see what Ivan the Terrible would do next or how the Mayans built their wonderous calendar. He was a rare teacher. His name was Mr. Keroustache. He told us his story and it was horrible and beautiful.

Mr. Keroustache grew up in the Ukraine at the time of Lenin. Lenin wasn’t such a nice guy and Mr. Keroustache’s family died on their farm. Except his sister who died later. He left the farm at a very young age and went to Moscow. I’m unsure if he lived in an orphanage or something, but he did live in Moscow. In Moscow, he later achieved a doctorate in Russian History and was a top gymnast in Russia. At one time he won a gold medal. I’m unsure if he won his country’s competition or if he went to the Olympics. However, Mr. Keroustache and his friends were unhappy with their home. They wanted more. In the middle of winter, they took off across country to defect to Europe. At one point they had to run across a field, him and his two friends. There were watchtowers with gunners in them. One of his friends was shot and Mr. Keroustache never stopped running. He never found out what happened to his friend.

Eventually he came to Canada to teach children what he knew. We had such a treasure and never learned its true value.

Now I’m all grown up and suffer from bouts of anxiety, shyness, am plagued with diabetes and obesity. Within the story I leave all that behind. I take all the treasures I’ve found along the way and build a world I can escape to for a while. Some of those treasures are sharp and cut and others heal and nurture me. That goes into the magick.

The true magick lies in the story’s ability to take me to a place where I’m free. Then the magick grows and becomes something else when someone else reads the story and is transported to the same place and they see different things. The story touches and connects all those who read it.

To those skeptics who say magick doesn’t exist, I say bah. Go read.

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