Love and Magic

July 1 marked the beginning of Camp NaNoWriMo, a companion event to National Novel Writing Month. Unlike traditional NaNoWriMo, in November, participants in its ‘summer camp’ equivalent are free to edit or plan as well as draft their current work in progress. In my post Writing From the Heart , I talked about the origins of the fantasy novel I am currently planning. Planning is going a bit slow, as I snatch moments around my day job and freelance writing commitments. However, I find that makes any time I can spend with my novel that much more fulfilling, because it is a rare and unpredictable event-almost as heady and satisfying as stealing time to spend with someone you’re falling in love with.

Love is a plot element of the book. My lead male and female protagonists both play a pivotal and prophesied role in the fate of the enchanted kingdom in which they reside, a fantasy land my sister and I created inspired by Arthurian saga. These two characters are bound together as fated soulmates, inspired by the Chinese legend of the red chord that links destined beloveds from birth. I also drew inspiration from the Hindu mythological figures Rama and Sita of the legend Ramayana, and the modern New Age belief in ‘Twin Flames’.

However, this is all conceptual. I had to ask myself, what do I really believe about love? In the Harry Potter series, love is a magic all its own, an almost invincible protection against malicious magic and death itself. In Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Saga, love mirrors the anarchy of the Romantic poets and tragedies of Greek theater: her characters commit foolhardy sacrifices and take noble risks that go against the codified laws of their strict warrior society in the name of love. It is a powerful, but sometimes volatile force. Love, as depicted in fantastical fiction, is almost a character in its own right, and usually plays a major role in the plot.

In my own life, I feel I learned more about love in the last two years than ever before. First, there is self love. As many times as I heard RuPaul say, “If you can’t love yourself, how the Hell are you going to love anybody else?” I didn’t get it. I come from a long line of women who nurture and provide for others, and put themselves on the backburner. However, I’ve learned that taking care of yourself makes you a better version of yourself. You have more to give others when you, yourself, have an abundance of vitality. When you have self respect you can, to paraphrase Dr. Maya Angelou, stand up for yourself and be strong enough to stand up for someone else.

As far as caring for others, I learned just how fulfilling relationships with friends and family can be. We dream of finding ‘The One’, our soulmate, who will be a romantic partner as well as a best friend, and the most supportive and reliable person in our life. In The Prophet, Khalil Gibran said, “Let there be space in your togetherness.” In that space, we are free to know and support ourselves without placing, or being placed under, pressure on anyone else to fulfill all our needs. Also in that space, we can fill our lives with family and friends. During a difficult season in my life, new friends and old trusted ones and family stepped up for me, with advice, guidance, support, hard truths as well as empathy and compassion. They showed me the depth of real love, as well as its amazing capacity to heal: to dispel fears on sleepless nights, to mark the tides of my rising happiness with unexpected comments on my progress, and they showed me how much I can give in return. When we owe people, truly owe them, for seeing us through dark times, when we see the light again our first instinct is to give back to those who never left us to get through it alone.

For the first time in my life, I stopped searching for a spiritual bond with a higher power, and paused to receive divine love, instead. In all of my studies and practices of various religious systems, it had never occurred to me to simply rest in the presence of love itself. When we feel that we are broken, instead we are at our most open. When all of our plans and strategies unravel, when what we thought we knew and could rely on seems unrecognizable or to have fled, that is when we are carried in the embrace of love itself, protected, guided, and blessed with the rejuvenation, resources, and rescue we most need-even if its not what we thought we wanted, it turns out to be better, because it is true, and real.

Love, I have learned, can only be real. When we speak with love, we can only be understood; when we enter with love, we can only be accepted. When we fight with love, we can only be victorious. Even when it seems things don’t go our way, with time and patience, if we truly look, we will see that all turned out for the best, after all, like the hardier new growth that emerges after a forest recovers from a fire.

I don’t yet know how I will convey these life lessons in the events of my novel, but I know that love and magic are, indeed, the same thing. Writing of one can’t help but mean writing about the other.

4 responses to “Love and Magic”

  1. Thank you


    1. Thank you for reading!


  2. […] am working on a fantasy novel, and began a draft in July during National Novel Writing Month’s smaller yearly event Camp […]


  3. […] original fiction. However, rediscovering my love of fantasy novels during quarantine inspired me to craft a story set in the magical kingdom my sister and I made up as kids. My life has changed a lot in the last […]


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