Hoping for magic
Watching Beauty and the Beast for the second time last night. And I was struck by the scene where Belle and the prince dance in an airy white ballroom, decorated with flower garlands and with couples moving all about them in elegant synchrony. I've been thinking a lot lately about growing up. Not so much the growing up of it, the when-I-learned-to-ride-a-bike-and-how-much-I-liked-discovering-Watership-Down, but more the feeling of it.
My son was sketching something in his notebook the other day, the armored face of some Halo something or other, and he suddenly just sat back in his chair and covered his face in his hands. He shook his head from side to side. "Holy crud," he said, "I am so good at drawing." He is nine. When do we lose that, the marvel at our own selves?
What I remember feeling when I was growing up was a sense of magic. Or that, in the absence of magic, the hope that I would soon discover it. Talking to my stuffed animals and believing they could hear me. Watching princess movies and more than just empathizing with the princess as she danced and twirled, but really believing that my future, my adult future, would look something like that.
That longing still exists in my modern, adult life. I feel it when I'm looking at websites for five-star resorts in warm places or browsing the kinds of boutiques where every grey sweater feels at once like something you could wear impressively to a rehearsal dinner overlooking a harbor in Maine and like something I could bury my face in it when I'm thinking of my mother.
Do other adults feel this way? Sometimes I think like there is all this practical adulting going on around me, and I'm looking out wondering when the pumpkin will turn into a carriage. Or when the hotel webpage will refresh and show $150 per night instead of $550.
But every time I open my closet, I reconcile myself to the fact that the only parts seeing much use are the hamper and the small section where I keep my running shoes and flip-flops. Amid finishing graduate school, mortgage payments, and planning out custody weekends with the kids, where are the gleaming ballrooms and twirling yellow dresses with gold summoned directly upon them by a magical wardrobe that also sings opera?
I've been reading Stephen King's On Writing. He talks about writing as a kind of magic. A place where we can excavate the most wonderful thing in the world: stories.
And so I've started writing again.