To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Year 2: Interlude 7

Hi, again, Daniel of 2014 here.

(A tangent: I watched Sesame Street as a kid, of course, and one of the recurring sketches back then involved Kermit the Frog as a reporter. He'd introduce himself by saying "Hi-ho, Kermit the Frog, here!" And every time I start one of these things and write "Daniel of 2014 here," that's what I think of.)

I've been thinking about magic lately and how many readers initially attracted to this blog as a story set in a "magic college" might be disappointed. All I talk about, most of the time, is human interaction and school work--mostly natural science. No wand-waving. If and when I convert this tale to a real book, I'll have to work out some way of managing that discrepancy. For now, I guess I just have to explain it a little bit.

I came to the school looking for something, which, at the time, I vaguely articulated by referring to Harry Potter. Some mystery or romance associated with those stories clung to the school as well, and I wanted to belong to it. I wanted that magic. And yet, I never studied the sort of magic Harry Potter does.

Yes, I could have--not exactly the same thing, but there were people on campus who practiced forms of magic much closer to fantasy magic than anything most of us are taught to believe exist. For example, there were witches (both male and female) who claimed to be able to control the weather, make themselves invisible, and even change into animals temporarily.

The weather magic was unreliable and the other changes involved the "aura" or "astral body" only, but an "invisible" person was genuinely hard to notice--your eyes slid off of them. And I've heard that people who changed their "energy" into that of an animal can walk right up to real animals without frightening them.

I loved living in a community where all this was accepted as possible, even normal, but I never felt called on to learn it. Even the "impossible" skills I did learn, how to perceive color with my fingertips, how to heal with a touch, how to create circumstances where "lucky coincidences" were almost inevitable, never seemed all that magical to me, once I got the hang of it. They are just things I know how to do.

And yet, the school always seemed magical to me. No matter how familiar it became, no matter how many of its odd little secrets I learned or how much of its day-to-day operations I ended up being responsible for, the community retained its glamour for me, its wondrousness.

The truth is that no matter how many "impossible" things I heard about or learned to do, mere technique never seemed like magic to me once the novelty wore off. Because "magic" meant to me, and still means, a delightful surprise and once I really came to believe, say, that I can tell what color a sheet of paper is by touching its surface, that fact was no longer surprising. But people, what they do and say and think and feel, are a constant surprise and a delight. In getting to know, really know my fellow human beings, I pursue and embody a magic deep enough to hold my attention forever.

So it is people I write about.

Speaking of what I write about, I've decided to go on hiatus, starting around the first of the year. I wasn't on campus from just before Christmas of 2014 until nearly Brigid, so I don't have much about the school to say for that time period, anyway. So, instead of continuing to post as normal I'm going to spend the time posting odds and ends I haven't managed to fit into the narrative so far, talking  a bit about my life in the hear and now, and writing drafts of posts for the spring.

My hope is that if by Brigid I have a backlog of posts ready to publish, I'll have time to get back into illustrating, posting twice a week, or both.

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