As a child I spent hours with my nose buried in a book. Books were the best friends I had, and I treasured each one as if it were made of diamonds and pearls. What did I know of gold? I only knew diamonds and pearls were precious stones, and my books were more precious to me than any diamond or pearl.
As an adult, an adult of adult children, so, a very accomplished adult, I treasure books even more.
To me, books are magical (after all, they come from trees - click this link for more on the magic of trees). Magical things that share amazing, fantastic, splendorous stories using the simple tools of words. Just words.
This is why I ask you, are you missing out on the magic of life?
Have you grown so adult, so busy, so consumed by the life society insists you build, that you have lost the magic of books and dreams and moments of pure enjoyment?
The magic of books exists in the stories told by the masters who write them, and in the hearts and minds of those who read them.
Where but in a book can a child's imagination take her to worlds beyond our ken? To worlds and universes full of fantastic creatures, some so beautiful you can hardly bear to look at them; others so evil and dark and fearsome, you look at them and cringe in terror, unable to look away.
A book is more than words on a page, or pages bound between a cover made of sturdier material. A book is alive. A book is what dreams are made of.
The Magic of a Good Story Well-Told
A good story, well-told can turn the tide. It can inspire the reader to be more, do more, share more, than she may have otherwise.
A good story, well-told, can help the reader climb mountains, create gardens, imagine life where none has ever existed, invite delight and forgiveness into her life.
Yes, a good story, well-told can inspire the reader to muse more deeply on her existence in this world, a world of mystery and shadows and fairies and goblins, a world only viewed from a surface viewpoint because we so are trained as children to look at life that way.
I love a good story, well-told. Whether in a book of fiction or a book of non-fiction. If the storyteller - and make no bones about it, those who write non-fiction tell stories also! - is good, if she or he is able to pull me into the book, into the story, into the world they are creating, where I can learn new things and experience new sensations and lose the ordinary of the world I live in now, if the storyteller can do that, I fall in love quickly and deeply. Don't you?
We humans are not solitary creatures. I talked about this in a recent Smart News newsletter. How we crave other human contact, whether just having someone in the house, someone you care for, in another room, but there, all the same; or in group gatherings, as we so often did in our ancient past, gathered around the fire, or at the well, to talk, commune, laugh, share stories, and feel as if we belonged.
It is in this belonging, this community, this feel of a neighborhood, that we begin to understand the magic of storytelling. And how magic is as much a thing of intuition, as a thing of necessity - yes, I say, necessity! - to all human life.
Where has the magic gone?
I fear we are losing magic bit by little bit, day by cloudy day, moment by noisy moment, because we no longer care about it, we no longer recognize it, we no longer believe in it.
We are drowning in our own needs - for this thing, or that thing, or a connection on social media, or a recognition that we exist, only demonstrated by the pings we hear on our phones. Pings that demand our attention. Pings that say, "look here, look at this, look now!" and so we look and we smile and we share and we hear the next ping and we do it all over again.
On our phones.
On technological devices that have become more important to us than the people standing around us, trying to make eye contact.
On devices with no magic in them.
Yes, we do read on these devises, sometimes, nowadays. We do turn our attention to the stories our eyes and ears are eager for, using iPads or cell phones or tablets to consume the words of a story well-told.
I accept that. I accept that some people find it more useful to engage with a piece of technology that can read the stories out loud to them, or make them portable in our travels (yet, what is more portable than a book?). I understand this new way of consuming a story is fine with some folk. That's okay.
My issue is with allowing said technology to drain the magic from our lives, from our relationships, from our storytelling, for we are all storytellers. We all have stories of today and yesterday and what we dream of doing tomorrow, of the wonders we glimpsed just after rising this very day, of so many exciting things to share.
I say it is not enough to put those words on a blog (like this one), in a Facebook post (oh the horror!), or passed along in a text.
We remove the magic of the words, when we hurry to share with a text or note or emoticon, on our technological devices. We share the bare bones of the story, leaving off the wonder and the fantasy, passing along mere thoughts or comments, devoid of touch or sensation or brilliance.
Words are not just letters on a page. Words have sound. Words have soul. Words breathe. Words beg to be used correctly - to be imbued with the whisper of magic they possess. For we know, to hear a whisper is to feel the wind as it glides over our face, telling us, ever so faintly, that magic is on its way.
If your story is important, it requires a belief in the magic of each word, the nuance of each phrase, the sound and color of each paragraph; the magic is an electric charge, stretching from the storyteller's carefully crafted words to the reader's brain synapses, full of purples and reds and blues and greens and yellows and oranges, all the colors of human emotion.
It is only when we give in and allow our emotions to guide us on our journey from one magical book to the next, that we accept the joy that comes from a good story, well-told. In books. Read a book this week.
If you're ready, write a book in 2020. Nurturing Big Ideas is here to help with that. After all, every big is a big idea waiting to be shared. What's yours?