Words and Magic

Words and magic were in the beginning one and the same thing, and even today words retain much of their magical power. Sigmund Freud

The creation of words put a magical spell on me as far back as I could remember. Before I began kindergarten my mother sat me down in front of an old typewriter and taught me how to write my name. She wanted me to have that knowledge before I began formal schooling, because she did not want others to see me as dim, but instead wanted the teachers and other kids to appreciate me for who I was and not for what I am not. I loved the feeling of the white page being indented with indelible words I had created. She and my grandfather were my first teachers.

In grade school my favorite place was the tiny library. My neighborhood school was fairly small, but it was a universe to me. Each week we got to go to the library, and I was thrilled. I wanted to take an armload, but they limited us to one book a week. The choice of which book was a critical decision to me. We had limited time, and so the decision had to be made quickly. Sometimes the cover art would entice me, but most often it was the Title – the words the author used to sum up the story in a space no bigger than it took to write my name. My imagination would pounce on the promise of those handful of words. One book I remember most had the glorious title: The Infinite Worlds of Maybe.

Each of those words were like supernovae. I saw the book on the highest shelf, as it was intended for older kids, but I knew where the librarian hid her step stool. When she was dealing with my classmates, I scooted up the stool and snatched the book from its high perch. The librarian gave me a sly look, knowing I must have scrambled up the shelf to claim my prize. But she was wise and could see the gleam in my curious eyes. I was afraid she was going to deny me the treasure, as her stamp paused above the checkout card. Instead she leaned a bit closer and whispered, “It is wonderful.” and winked as she stamped the book. I checked out that book several times. And the possibilities of the words infinite – worlds – maybe -wonderful – are as much a part of me as my own name.

The other day I found this stone on the beach. I was thinking of the word “shelter” as in “shelter in place.” I looked down and saw this rock with the letters X O ingrained within it. I saw it as a magical talisman, for that is how I end every message to my children. These days, I add more X – hugs, and more O -kisses to the end of each message – hoping they might add a mote of protection against the dark nights. Picking it up, I thought of the times when I would read to my kids and their love for words and the worlds of imagination. I tried to build a sanctuary of sorts in our small home, which felt infinite in the worlds it contained. I gave them powerful first names when they were born, and their middle names carry memories of my marvelous mother and grandfather. Our home was full of books and those stories helped my beloved children become the wonders they are today. Each time they write to me and sign their dear names, I am touched once again by the magic of words. XOXOXOX

If you would like to read a positive story, I am offering my novel free on Amazon tomorrow March 28. Positive Light.

Published by cewheeler

Writer/Artist:12 years in China – univ. lecturer: writing,poetry,culture; editor – magazine/newspaper & actor. 40 years students of the Tao. Traveler. Father. Read my books at: amazon.com/author/wheelerce

2 replies on “Words and Magic”

  1. Great title, The Infinite Worlds of Maybe, — my husband just ordered the book! Ironically, it is the same author, Lester Del Rey, whose book we are currently engrossed in during this time of sequestering at home (I think I included the title in a previous comment — Once Upon A Time, A Treasury of Modern Fairy Tales, edited by Lester Del Rey). Each night we read aloud a tale from this, or another wonderful book in our home library collection. Also, we recently read China Caravans, by Robert Easton, that I believe you will very much enjoy. Best to you! XOXO Dawn and Rick :))


    1. Hi, I remember you mentioning Lester Del Rey. I remember reading several of his books over the years. I am happy to hear the Infinite Worlds of Maybe is still available. It really did inspire me to think about the possibilities our choices give us. Each step along the way, when we find we are stuck, we can stop and consider the alternatives. It is like the Taoist concept of Wu Wei – effortless action. We find success by not forcing our decisions.
      Thank you for the book recommendation. I will try to get a copy. I found a lot of inspiration traveling around China.
      All the Best

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