Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas magic

When I was a child I didn't go to see Santa at a store, he came to me. Every year I would wait patiently at my front gate and wait for him to appear. When it was nearly eight o'clock I could hear music drifting on the cold air and it was then I began to feel the magic of Christmas. The music and ringing of bells would grow louder as his brightly lit horse and cart travelled along nearby streets and then, I would hear his voice ring out as loudly as bells when he appeared at the end of our avenue. Of course his horse wore antlers but I never once questioned it. As a child it was a magical experience. I looked up in awe at his happy homely face and when we had eye contact it was as though Santa knew exactly who I was and where I lived. I would reach up for the sweets he scattered from his cart. Whenever I passed grotto's in stores I felt sorry for squirming kids in a long queue.

I'd forgotten about my Santa until last week but could still vividly recall the sense of magic he'd left behind. It was a moment of simple naivety, a suspension of reality. Being out in the open night air and waiting for it to happen was part of its enjoyment. One year I didn't go outside even though I could hear his music and bells. I'd been told he was some local guy who liked to do it for the kids but I regretted not going outside that night. I'd lost the magic and suddenly felt very grown-up. When I peaked around the curtain I just caught a glimpse of his cart as it turned a corner.

Becoming a writer helped to bring back that feeling of magic and it is difficult to relinquish it between books. Writers of children's books must get a lot of satisfaction from the magic they can conjure but I like to think we adults need it too. Fantasy, Science Fiction, even the conclusion of a good Crime Thriller all count as suspension of reality, a moment of magic. So... are you going to watch yet another repeat of some old Christmas program on TV or are you going to choose your own particular brand of magic then become immersed in a book or seek out that old black and white movie you used to love so much? I'm going to begin this week and... the added bonus for a writer is that I can retain that magic then use it in my own books.
Sometimes you have to look for the magic