So you can read my books

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for MAGIC as in I Wanted the Magic!

{"I don’t want realism.

I want magic!"

- Tennessee Williams.}

Ghost of Tennessee here.

 And if you have to ask "Tennessee" who, shame on you.

It appeals to me to go along with Clemens' lark of going backwards in this A-Z folly when all else are going forward.

The ghost of Samuel Clemens, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty (she smiles so sweetly when she deals off the bottom,)

and I were playing poker last night at Meilori's.

Bill mentioned the two articles he wrote on Roland's blog.  My, whoever thought of such a term in the first place? 

(And yes, I have on occasion visited Roland and his mysterious, mischievous ghost-cat, Gypsy.)

Bill's words positively fascinated me.

You see, we ghosts are much like caged birds.

We yearn to roam, but are trapped by the chains of the consequences of our lives.

Like caged birds, we ghosts accept each other.
But flight is what we long for.

To reach out and teach unknown strugglers how to better their craft would be a form of flight.

To write again.

I felt almost light-headed. I had almost forgotten the old passion.

Sammy was all too happy to let me try my hand at teaching. So here I am.

At the age of fourteen I discovered writing as an escape from a world of reality in which I felt acutely uncomfortable.

I didn't want reality. I wanted magic!

And magic is what I could have by entering the worlds I created for myself.

You want to know, of course, how to make that magic.

Oh, to be able to tell you. Good writing is like life, and

life is an unanswered question.

But let us believe in the importance of the question itself and seek the answer together.

Writing, like life, is partly what we make it,

and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.

The strongest influences in my life and my work are always whomever I love.

Whomever I love and am with most of the time,

or whomever I remember most vividly. Isn't that true of you?

Quality in our writing does not come cheaply.

It is earned by the gallantry with which appalling experiences are survived with grace.

You cannot expose a weakness in your novel unless you know it through having it yourself.

After all, every one of us are but guinea pigs in the laboratory of God. Humanity is only a work in progress.

You must make the characters in your novel alive --

as alive as if they lived with you, which in a sense they do.

The color, the grace and levitation, the structural pattern in motion,

the quick interplay of live beings, suspended like fitful lightning in a cloud, these things are the novel,

not flat words on paper, nor thoughts and ideas of an author, those shabby things snatched off crowded counters at Wal-Mart.

You must make your characters alive in the minds of your readers. You must make the reader believe in the the reality of your story.

How do you do that?

Some mystery should be left in the revelation of character in a novel,

just as a great deal of mystery is always left in the revelation of character in life,

even in one's own character to himself.

The second key is honesty.

If the writing is honest, it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it. And to be honest, you have to know the human heart.
To be honest of the human heart you must not be straight.

A line can be straight,

or a street,

but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains.

And so the storylines of your novel must equally be as winding and as intricate.

To be honest about life is to know it is a literal dead-end street.
We all live in a house on fire,

no fire department to call; no way out,

just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.

How your characters face that fate determines whether your prose has depth of heart or the shallowness of

Each novel is the "Twilight Of The Gods" in some form or aspect. You choose the colors of that twilight. Be honest. Be true to the truth inside you.

Only you know what that truth is.



  1. I'm as honest as I can be, and honest enough to know my limits.

  2. Alex:
    What did Clint Eastwood say in MAGNUM FORCE? "A man's got to know his limitations."

    Honesty is hard, but the right path and the hard path are usually the same one. Thanks for writing a comment when I know how tired you must be! :-)

  3. I find that the magic of any word is the reader's interpretation of said words.

  4. Look at us. We both land on Monday with "M is for Magic." Of course, I added that pesky "k" at the end.

    Yes, I'm honest, especially when it comes to female foibles. Which, oddly enough, many women would prefer not to read about. This is why after my first book, I started writing male protags.

    ~VR Barkowski

  5. I'm honest in knowing my limitations, and aspirations.

    It's the crossroads that scare me.
    One little decision can impact your life, for good or ill, in ways we cannot foresee.

  6. Honesty is the best way to go ... ESPECIALLY in writing. How else can you truly communicate your story if the base is false.

    Fiction ... is ... fiction, BUT as writers we pull from OUR experiences and the REALNESS and honesty of said situation....

  7. I value honesty above all traits and I know my limitations thus far. I hope to expand my limitations, though.

  8. Honesty is always the best policy. I strive to be honest about my experiences in my posts and comments.

  9. The Desert Rocks:
    How true. Take this example:
    You're an adult. I'm an adult. So when we want something to read, we go to an Adult Book Store, right? :-)

    We hate some truths about ourselves. Mark Twain said, "Make readers think they're thinking, and they'll love you. Make them really think, and they'll hate you!"

    Yes, the crossroads of a simple choice can be the hinge to the door that opens to nightmares!

    How true. That is what Hemingway kept trying to teach struggling writers!

    Honesty with diplomacy extends your lifespan! The more we grow, the more it seems we understand our limitations that before we were blind to.

    If those close to you know that they can trust you, it means the world to them.