There's stories and then there's stories. The ones with any worth change your life forever, perhaps only in a small way, but once you've heard them, they are forever a part of you. You nurture them and pass them on, and the giving only makes you feel better. The others are just words on a page.
The old gods and their magics did not dwindle away into murky memories of brownies and little fairies more at home in a Disney cartoon; rather, they changed. The coming of Christ and Christians actually freed them. They were no longer bound to people's expectations but could now become anything that they could imagine themselves to be. They are still here, walking among us. We just don't recognize them anymore.
Music’s the soundtrack of my life and has been since I was a teenager. There’s always music. If I’m not playing it, I’m listening to it. With my writing…sometimes it inspires a story, sometimes it highlights something I’m working on, sometimes it simply helps me stay in the narrative mood.
I've always been aware of the otherworld, of spirits that exist in that twilight place that lies in the corner of our eyes, of fairie and stranger things still that we spy only when we're not really paying attention to them, whispers and flickering shadows, here one moment, gone the instant we turn our heads for a closer look. But I couldn't always find them. And when I did, for a long time I thought they were only this excess of imagination that I carry around inside me, that somehow it was leaking out of me into the world.
Can you remember how you felt when you were communicating through your artwork? Not just the sense of completion, but the sense of rightness- the sense that you had brought to life something that could live beyond your sphere of being, that held in it far more potential than you ever realized you were imbuing in the work?
Like legend and myth, magic fades when it is unused -- hence all the old tales of elfin kingdoms moving further and further away from our world, or that magical beings require our faith, our belief in their existence, to survive. That is a lie. All they require is our recognition.
I'm a writer and this is what I do no matter what name we put to it. Year by year, the world is turning into a darker and stranger place than any of us could want. This is the only thing I do that has potential to shine a little further than my immediate surroundings. For me, each story is a little candle held up to the dark of night, trying to illuminate the hope for a better world where we all respect and care for each other.
The thing I like so much about short stories is that there isn't as much of an investment of time so I'm free to experiment more. If it doesn't work out, I've only lost a week or two of work. If I screw up a novel I've lost at least a year's worth of work. But the nice thing is that those experiments with short stories can be carried over to novels when the experiments do work.
I do believe in an everyday sort of magic -- the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone.
Living on the street as a kid changed the way I looked at everything. It was a different time and while it had its dangers, it was nothing like it would be today. It was the Summer of Love and there was a real sense of community among us. We were hippies who looked out for each other instead of trying to rip each other off. We only had to watch out for the police who liked to roust us just on general principles, and the kids who came in from the suburbs to do a little hippie-bashing.
Growing up, I'd already decided I wanted to be a beatnik. A Bohemian poet, I thought. Or a musician. Maybe an artist. I'd dress in black turtlenecks and smoke Gitanes. I'd listen to cool jazz in clubs, getting up to read devastating truths from my notebook, leaning against the microphone, cigarette dangling from my hand.
Music's always part of my writing. I think all art is interconnected. You can't create or experience one without its influences bleeding into another. In my writing, music's mostly something that feeds my inspiration and mood while I'm writing, but it's also taught me how to score scenes and even novels. The rise and fall of the storyline echoes the flow of a good piece of music.
When you're touched by magic, nothing's ever quite the same again. What really makes me sad is all those people who never have the chance to know that touch. They're too busy, or they just don't hold with make-believe, so they shut the door without really knowing it was there to be opened in the first place.
Beauty isn't what you see on TV or in magazine ads or even necessarily in art galleries. It's a lot deeper and a lot simpler than that. It's realizing the goodness of things, it's leaving the world a little better than it was before you got here. It's appreciating the inspiration of the world around you and trying to inspire others.