the magic we knew

“When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present, and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.”

-Boy’s Life, by Robert McCammon

2 thoughts on “the magic we knew”

  1. hmm, maestro of the xyz isn’t author here, agitator perhaps, but not promulgator.
    Based on this small statement only, Mr.McCammon seems to have a personal problem. a bit arrogantly self-absorbed, interpreting other lives and motives through possibly narrow privileged eyes. some grains of insight sure; but sounds like the shame, sadness and resenting is within him. he probably didn’t grow up starving in a refugee camp, or having to work to help a single mother/family have enough, or constantly abused, or … Yes, we really are privileged in so many ways and have the opportunity to ponder or reflect on those ‘magic lanterns’ we believe have been ‘lost.’ so get on with it and quit blaming others.
    Mr F.Curmudgeon

  2. So Mr. Fritz, you have finally revealed your last name, literally and thematically! I have not read the book the excerpt is from, only the quote stood out for me. But I don’t think it is about privileged youths rather experiences that have marked us in some way, that magic lives within us, and that it can be stolen or suppressed by fear, guilt, shame and sadness. I think everyone, everywhere, no matter their station in life, needs a little magic from time to time. If nothing else, enough to counter the black magic that is performed upon us in the name of being “good citizens.” 🙂

    This probably expresses it best…

    Small town boys see weird sights, and Zephyr has provided Cory Jay Mackenson with his fair share of oddities. He knows the bootleggers who lurk in the dark places outside of town. On moonless nights, he’s heard spirits congregate in the churchyard to reminisce about the good old days. He’s seen rain that flooded Main Street and left it crawling with snakes. Cory knows magic, and relishes it as only a young boy can.

    One frosty winter morning, he and his father watch a car jump the curb and sail into the fathomless town lake. His father dives into the icy water to rescue the driver, and finds a naked corpse handcuffed to the wheel. This chilling sight is only the start of the strangest period of Cory’s life, when the magic of his town will transform him into a man.

    Boy’s Life

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