In Pursuit of Magic (or Not)

It wasn’t until I stopped pursuing magic that magic finally started pursuing me. Isn’t that always the way?

And yet even once you know it’s the way, you still can’t do it on purpose, because magic is resistant to contrivance. And so you just have to live and try to forget about it as best you can, and then maybe — just when you’re least expecting it — magic will happen and you will wonder how you didn’t see it coming.

Magic, so unassuming, dressed down as if for casual Friday at the office rather than glammed up for a girls’ night out. Magic, less glitter and more grit. Magic, that invisible force that is part faith, part fairy dust, part boots on the ground and hands in the air, part soil and part air and so much water and a thing that can happen to you on any day of the week.

Magic, when I pursue her, ducks and covers. She really does. I get scared that she’s gone forever but she’s never left me for good. Magic says, trust me. Magic says, wait for it. Magic says, stop looking so hard. Make dinner for your kids. In fact, make dinner for yourself. Eat. Sleep. Work. Love. I’ll come around. I’m never not there.

You see, magic talks to me.

Maybe magic is another word for angels. Maybe magic is what happens when people come together for good, or part for good. Maybe magic is just two syllables for things we can’t explain, but I think it’s more than that. It’s a special word; writing this makes me want to look up its etymology.

Of course, religions of all kinds have poo-poohed magic. But that’s not where I feel like going with this. I’m more into the yeah, bring it on, baby kind of vibe today. Magic and mojo go together for me, and like I said, when these are missing, I can get scared. Like I’m lost.

But then I go back to the first paragraphs, the first words, the abracadabra of “let there be light” and how “abacadabra” itself is ancient Aramaic for “may it be so” or something like that. How cool is that? See? Bible magic even. And what I mean by go back is this: If I look back on just about every twist and turn of my life — all of which are preceded by the twists and turns of my parents’ lives, and their parents and their parents back and back and back, none of it could’ve been anything short of magic.

After all, I’m here, right?

And that has GOT to be something like magic. And when I said no, no more, no more false magic, no more forcing magic, no more hoping for magic, no more willing magic, no more telling myself something is magic when everything in my body and soul are crying for freedom and truth and something else — that was when I laid it all down.

I can’t do this alone, I said to the empty room. Sobbed, actually. So many times. And something, every time, has carried me through those moments all the way to this moment. All the way to safety and butterscotch blondies and the chance to live and love another day. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.

An unedited freewrite from in my newest 2-week writing group, which opened today. What’s on your writing radar this fall?  

Can’t Everlasting


Day began with bells from St. Bridget’s
Songbirds who are clearly morning people
Rocket fuel coffee and me on the hammock swing
I keep hoping the former downstairs neighbors
will forget to come back for.

With Jane Kenyon and dull right temple
headache and base of neck throb
the kind you want to rub a crystal on
like the ones my wife ordered, a chakra spread
for our more woo-woo days.

With daughter pilfering moms’ wardrobe
rocking the cute-boy look, backwards
baseball hat, with bleeding so heavily
I had to turn around not a block from home
With headache still not subsiding.

With Roar Sessions and good morning, writers
Hot hot sun and windows down, Diet Coke
Cool Ranch Doritos in the car pretending
I was on the beach topless preferably eating
the most American thing I could crave.

With business partner and mind if we cancel
Back into bed, splayed out like an outline
right arm up and left arm down, legs
akimbo, belly against mattress breathing
sweaty deep summer hormone sleep.

With attempt at doing day met by “can’t”
Twinge of panic (what if can’t is everlasting?)
Reiki Master woman I married, I ask her
Baby, can you help me? She can, she does
with so much love and more sleep comes.

Day ends full circle surrender to ride
not fight waves like these, not to try
to keep up when that feels like crawling
across hot sand, trusting nothing
will be lost by listening to the body

that knows what she needs, knows
only sleep will come as cure for ache
and waiting till too late always comes
to no good. Might as well let the day
have its way with you and the night
breeze in through open window.

Photo credit: Tom van Hoogstraten