The Gateway Drug

[This post is a continuation of “The Red Ranger” if you haven’t read that one.]

I recently worked through this writing workbook my friend gave me called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. If you’re in writing circles, you’ve probably heard of it. It’s kind of legendary. I started it up again after failing to get beyond Week 2 the first time I tried. There was a novel draft to be completed, okay! Anyway. During the reading, I came across this quote:

“Very often, a creative block manifests itself as an addiction to fantasy. Rather than working or living the now, we spin our wheels and indulge in daydreams of could have, would have, should have.”

Garrett, the blocked writer at twenty-seven, is one-hundred-million percent guilty of this. There is a ninety day backpacking adventure through Europe fully planned in a notebook next to this laptop. I have $47 in the bank.

Garrett, watching his nuclear family become another divorce statistic at six, is not.

The introduction of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia into my life rescued me from many things years before I knew the life jacket was being draped over my shoulders. It also laid the foundation for the beginning of wonder that morphed into something more: the love of travel.

It’s also the first time I thought I encountered magic. Little did I know that the magic of Lewis was the “magic” that under-girded the deepest tenets of the faith I was being raised in, the faith I would continue on to make my own. That’s probably why Lewis’s stories were allowed in our house. The Aslan is Jesus simile is so blatant that it does a disservice to all other poetic devices to even really call it one. But I loved it. I still do. I cry at the Stone Table when I return to those pages, just like I cry at the Cross when I return to those. I don’t return to either nearly as often as I should.

The thing about magic is, quite frankly, it doesn’t exist in this world in the same way it exists in a fantasy novel. But as I’ve learned, magic does exist in this world. Magic is the most understudied and underdeveloped talent that each and every one of us carries within us: our creativity. Artists are magicians. You’ve seen that painting, read that book, heard that guitar solo, touched that sculpture and just known: this guy or gal was a wizard.

If you’ve read my novel, which is not published at this time but the seven of you who read this blog probably also fell in my beta pool, you also know that I believe athletes are artists—and therefore magicians—as well.

Gandalf. Dumbledore. Yoda. Professor X. Moiraine Sedai.

Okay, so maybe I’m stretching with that last one, but she should be in the pantheon and this is my blog so…deal.

But what I’m saying is: we’re surrounded by—and have been surrounded by—so many wizards that I can rattle off twenty and you’ll just know.

Beyoncé. Dali. Da Vinci. Federer. Hanks. Jordan. Lewis. Messi. Michelangelo. Orwell. Peyton. Raphael. Serena. Shakespeare. Spielberg. Streep. Swift. Tolkien. Van Gogh. Whitney.

See? Clearly showing my bias, fandom, and up-bringing off in the selection of this list. But that’s just it, this is a very biased and partial list…and you could do another twenty the same way and still be correct. We’re surrounded by wizards.

I could even get into more niche wizards. You are not forgotten, emo rock stars and lesser-known fantasy novelists. I see you.

I wanted to be a wizard. So, naturally, before I ever thought of writing, I wanted to be a musician.

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