Tag Archives: Magic

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 23

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It’s 11:00 PM on June the 25th. I’ve just come from a 4 hour Gospel Choir rehearsal. I have homework to finish, vocabulary to memorize, a roleplay I want to post in, characters I want to write for, and blogs to prepare. HOWEVER, I’m feeling surprisingly…genki. (One of my favorite Japanese adjectives and also the name of my textbook. Energetic. Healthy. Spirited.) I’m also very proud of what I’ve written today. If you’ve never read anything by Garth Nix, stop what you’re doing right now, go to a library, and steal ALL of his books, (but please return them because stealing is totally wrong, and I don’t support it in anyway).


A letter to someone, anyone.

Dear Mr. Nix,

I’d like to thank you first of all, but I’m sure that could come later. You’d probably like to know who I am before I start throwing around my gratitude. I can’t remember how long it has been; I must have been in fourth or fifth grade. And for some reason, I picked up one of your books, Mister Monday in fact, at a Barnes and Noble. This is significant because I had been a Nancy Drew purist up until this point. My mother told me I could pick out one book, and of course I spent at least an hour browsing through the young adult section because this decision would most certainly impact several hours of my short life. I remember opening it on the hour and a half drive home, sitting in the back of my parents’ minivan, reading by the light of the portable DVD player meant to entertain my baby brother. I had never read a book like this before. Arthur was no Nancy.

I thought it was particularly funny that the main character had asthma. As far as I knew, protagonists had tragic backstories. They grew up orphans when they were really supposed to be princesses. They were beautiful, talented, powerful… Not asthmatic. Despite all their hardships, they were never inhibited by something like that. But not Arthur. (Not to say that he didn’t grow into something absolutely marvelous.) I fell in love with him instantly and for nights I dreamed that someone like me, someone who struggled to overcome her own weak disposition, could be chosen too. I could go on my own adventure. I could be a protagonist. Of course the rest is history. From that point on, I raided the local library for all of your books. I waited months and years for the next novel to come.

And finally, as a young girl, I remember my parents taking me to a small bookstore in San Antonio, Texas for my birthday to meet you. I remember them buying me your newest book and toting around the ones I already owned just so you would sign them. I remember listening to you speaking, holding onto every word. You told me a story about a magic ring, one that gave you good luck for seven years. Perhaps you don’t remember a pudgy little bespectacled girl leaping up when you said you would give it to the next person who raised his/her hand. And you gave it to me, the chess club geek, the straight-A honor student, the girl who spent more time with fictional characters than actual people. I can’t remember if I cried or screamed or both, but I can say with all honesty that I haven’t felt that kind of joy since.

Since then I’ve been writing. Maybe not every day or every week, but I do what I can in-between school and work and life in general. I keep my magic ring close to me. It has followed me to junior high, high school, college, on road trips, flights, and other countries. It has watched me change from a chess geek to a band geek to salutatorian to foreign exchange student.  I’m sure it gave me the spark of magic I needed in my life to keep going when life got difficult.

I’ll admit that I haven’t read your books in many, many years now. The details are hazy. They’re sitting in a box in my room with the rest of my things I can’t tote to college, but I still think about them every once in a while, even if it’s just proudly talking about Nix-san in my tiny Japanese language class.

Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow or next year. But I know that your words are going to stay with me on my journey. Your books will always be the beginning of my life as a writer. Your magic ring is always going to be close to my heart (quite literally as it sits on a chain around my neck). Bad luck or good luck or somewhere in-between, I’m going to keep trying until I’ve finally got it right.

Thanks.

A bespectacled, freckled, lanky, awkward wordsmith to be.

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It’s a Trap!

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20150501_122557_Richtone(HDR)NOTE: I would like to point out that this is my fourth or fifth time trying to write this. Each time, I’ve attempted to write my thoughts out, I find out myself writing a completely different post. Here’s hoping this goes smoothly.

I’ve been fascinated with literature of all kinds ever since I was a little girl. I can’t remember the title of the first story I really fell in love with, but I do remember it was about a fox and his swamp band, and they ran into some trouble with some shady crocodiles. As simple as that story was, I remember thinking about that book for days. I imagined myself as the lead singer of the band, getting captured by crocodiles, and celebrating a victory with my animal friends. (I think Kindergarten Kat even had a crush on Mr. Fox.) At this point, I can’t remember how much of what I’m remembering is the actual plot or what I made up on my own.

For years after, I indulged myself many books, jumping from Nancy Drew to Encyclopedia Brown to Artemis Fowl and anything written by Garth Nix or Brian Jacques or Ted Dekker. I read the classics in high school and fell in love with Charles Dickens and Shakespeare, but something was missing. Sometimes I picked up a book and thought, “Well, that was good, but it could have been better.” I wanted to do better. I wanted to pour my passion for reading onto a page. I don’t remember when I started writing. I feel as if it has always been part of my life, but the oldest primary document I have in my care is an Applebee’s napkin with some scrawling for some sort of character idea. A literary masterpiece? Not at all. It’s hardly passable for fanfiction, but that marks my beginning, maybe a moment in time where I vowed to write at least one great story, not part of a fad but something that would stand the test of time and become a literary masterpiece after I died.

I wanted people to see this world blossoming in my mind. But somehow, I’ve never been able to accurately describe it. It has always been beyond my ability. I have binders filled past their maximum capacity with ideas and sketches and short stories which completely unlock the mysteries of the inner-workings of my mind, but I could never share any of them. They’re not my vision. As I entered college, I found myself writing less and less. The passion still existed. I felt it itching, but many papers, jobs, people, and my own fatigue kept me from writing. My journals remained empty.

But about a week and a half ago, I went on a trip.

“Mitaka?”

I’ve gotten that reaction a lot. During Golden Week, I traveled all over Tokyo in a few short days, but on my first day, I found myself in the Mitaka ward; it certainly wasn’t heavy on tourist traffic. I was just visiting the Ghibli Museum, home of the art of my favorite Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki. (If you haven’t heard of the name, perhaps you’ve heard of some of his work, including Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle). We arrived two hours early on a bright orange bus called the cat bus. (Sadly, it wasn’t actually like the one from Totoro.)

As we neared the museum itself, the foliage grew bigger, thicker, and greener, and I felt as if I had shrunk to the size of a pixie. The greenery wrapped about a building sunken into the ground, the walls rising out of the depths into the clouds. Gazing down from above, a metal guardian eyed the spectators with cold eyes. Watching from below, eyes etched in glittering stained glass beckoned everyone passing to view their story. I longed to go beyond the metal bars inside, but we still had two hours to kill.

We found ourselves at a crossroads of some sort, many of the paths leading through social areas deeper into the shaded foliage. We glanced at each other, and with that look we decided not to care where we went. We chose a path, and we walked, the promise of a café, zoo, or aquarium beckoning us. We traveled through the park, the canopy overhead protecting us from the sun’s rays, past people riding bikes and school children in green and pink hats. We walked until the world become silent except for the crunch of stones underneath our shoes.

Red peeked through the trees. The wind carried the smell of incense and the pond’s gentle mist toward my face. Nearby a bell rang, summoning spirits to answer a traveler’s prayer. The trees overhead swayed with the breeze, moaning underneath the weight of their age and wisdom. I became vaguely aware of the spell cast upon me; I thought I could fight it, but as I approached the gates of the Benten shrine, any power I had disappeared. My feet wandered through the gates of their own accord, and I swear my heart stopped. I had practically found the gateway to Narnia, an ancient sect of the Templars, a gathering of Ents. I waited, and I waited for Howl to sweep me off my feet, for Princess Mononoke to fly through the trees, or a Laputa to sail through the clouds above the creaking trees.

The Magic

The Magic

Somehow, the magic never wore off. Every tree seemed a bit greener on my trek back. Every step I took hurt my feet a little less. Every breath made me feel more alive, as if I hadn’t really been living for a long time. This place was fantasy I lived in my mind. It breathed with me. It wrapped its spell around me and captured my heart. It imprisoned me, and I know that if I ever want to be free, I have to return. It’s just like that time spent wondering about that fox picture book.

Getting lost in a different world for the first time in a long time reminded me that my world still exists. It still wants to be told. It still has to be told, and it has helped me start writing again. Magic exists in this world. Miyazaki has certainly created it, and it has consumed Mitaka. And now I hold a piece of that magic.

And some of it followed me home.

Magic