Where would we be without magic? For me, it’s never far away, but over recent months it has been feeding into my life on the most unpredictable occasions in the form of story – other people’s stories predominantly with my own story line bubbling up from time to time.
So why are the stories magic and not just, well, stories? I both read and listen to a lot of stories and not everything resonates, so why on each of these apparently random meetings have I come away with the sense of being gifted something indefinably precious? What has facilitated this sense of connection with a disparate group of people who have come into my life separately and unexpectedly over these last few months as I’ve been working on the final rewrite of my third novel?
I’m not sure I can answer these questions – and perhaps that is how story magic works. I know only that after hearing these stories, I came away with a heightened sense of being and a new humility, my mind and body buzzing to the point where I was quite literally electric. Some of the shared stories were:
- The once-wealthy business leader who suffered an aneurysm on Fathers’ Day two years ago and despite a sleuth of unanimous medical prognoses that he would never eat, talk or walk again is well on the way to recovery. He lost everything – and in losing gained more than he’d ever had before. His story is one stubborn determination and of faith in himself — and it is one that he alone should tell.
- The talented violinist who had a career with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Royal Australian Ballet, a woman who is now nearly eighty – who found to her horror that after six weeks in a nursing home she was barely able to lift her arms. She panicked, checked herself out and moved back to her flat, fortunately not yet sold. At a recent 80th birthday party, she sat in the corner and played the accompaniment to a string of Scottish ballads. When I had stopped by her chair earlier to introduce myself, she had started humming a tune she knew to be called Tangerine, to her I was Tangerine. I rather like it actually!
- A new writing acquaintance from a challenging background whose steely grit and wide-ranging intelligence is leading him slowly but surely to his own place of magic in his writing. He introduced me to James Doty’s Into the Magic Shop – a wonderful story, that one, if you haven’t yet come across it.
- A cheerful young Queenslander, part of a family group we started talking to after dinner in the gracious old New Norcia Hotel, with his own humble story of perseverance that lay beneath his deceptively sunny exterior. His conviction as he waved goodbye was that we would all meet up again.
Ships that pass in the night? Possibly. But I do believe that when like minds discover each other – however briefly – the magic rubs off one to another. And to date I have had two memorable and extra-ordinary incidents of meeting up with comparative strangers a long time after a parting goodbye and a ‘See you again one day’.
Still on story. Both readers and writers will enjoy Charlotte’s Wood’s The Writer’s Room – a collection of a dozen or so interviews with writers that I found quite addictive. Along with their voices, the personalities of the writers stood out on the page and in some of their stories there were, for me, many instances of empathy. I found myself whispering, yes! yes! Can’t wait for the next volume.
A big shout-out for my daughter Tammy Tansley whose second business book Enterprise Agreements Made Easy co-authored with Rachael McGann – has just been released. Many of you will have read her popular first book Do What You Say You’ll Do, a new look at leadership where prominent leaders share their tips, stories and practical tools for success. Terrific POD session on this last night at the Grand Bar, Central Park.
Till next time Happy Reading and Writing and may the magic be there when you reach for it.