Do you believe in magic? I’m not talking about the whole Wiccan religion (that’s something else), but the idea of magic that’s presented in story books, poems, films, etc. What first drew you to reading science fiction and fantasy in the first place? What do you like best about it?
I first fell in love with magic at an early age. I remember spending all of my time hidden between bookshelves at my local library, devouring dozens of story books in the 398’s and probably annoying shelvers who would find a pile waist-high of books on either side of me. Looking back, I’m trying to recall just what it was that drew me to them. I think that it was probably that at that age, I was still drawn to what was unknown and to my mind, possible.
Science Fiction and Fantasy, I think, plays to the innocence of the mind that wishes and believes that there are things beyond our current sight and understanding. As children, we are eager to believe that anything is possible. Rabbits can come out of hats, frogs can turn into princes, dreams can come true. In a sense, the world and all it holds is not yet limited to us and therefore is still open to the stuff of dreams.
I watch my nieces and nephews as they develop as children, exploring ‘careers’, trying new things out, testing, playing ‘dress up’, etc. One niece who’s particularly active is considering joining the circus. She just turned 5. Another nephew, a few years younger, loves firemen. Why is it that children are so open to the possibility that anything can happen? I’m not a theologian but I wonder if maybe this part of us is why the Bible says that the “kingdom of heaven belongs to the little children” (See Matthew 19:14).
Despite fears that some parents (rightly?) have that an over-exposure to fairy tales and fantasies can be unhealthy, could it be that maybe they help prepare children to believe that they can achieve the unlikely, the improbable, if they just believe hard enough and work hard for it? Doesn’t that hint slightly at the American Ethic?
As adults, somewhere a cynicism sets in and we stop “believing in fairies”. At least, some of us do. At what point does this occur? It must be somewhere during our developmental years that someone tells us that Santa Claus does not exist and that no matter how hard we try, we will never succeed at being ________ (fill in the blank). Were you ever told that there was something you would never be? At what age did you realize that you were never be an astronaut, a doctor, a scientist? I think I was maybe 9 when I was told that I would never be a gymnast. I “didn’t have the build for it”. The truth was, I was already a bit plump in my yellow-striped leotard and a bit awkward to help boost onto the parallel bars at my local Y. Fortunately for me, that wasn’t my true ambition.
As an adult, I think that there is still that sort of idealism, in some people, that never dies. It still believes that anything can happen. In my case, this was partially nourished by my parents who instilled in me a love for God, and two, encouraged me to read, which never quite stomped out the embers of belief that was hidden deep within.
I love science fiction and fantasy because it feeds that need to believe. I love writing in this genre because it allows me to explore different lands, worlds and people and open my mind to the possibility that there is more out there yet to be discovered, to learn, to grow from. I admire those writers, artists, scientists, explorers who add to our knowledge and faith in what is not yet seen but possible. In turn, this believe makes us open to the realization that there is a God, who loves us, very much and who came down as a man to die for our sins to be our Redeemer. He rescued us, just like the knights of old in the story books, only this is real. (See My Personal Philosophy for more on my beliefs).
So I’m going to be brave and say a very silly thing indeed. I still believe in magic. Do you?
Keep reaching higher,