THE MAGIC WORDS

To realize that something seemingly ordinary might actually hold the key to something extraordinary, you have to pay attention.

To realize that something seemingly ordinary might actually hold the key to something extraordinary, you have to pay attention.

No Hogwartian incantation here. No abracadabra. Sometimes the greatest magic is simply the spark of awareness that comes from discovering--or even just realizing--that you've bumped into a moment of verbal inspiration. They can be words somebody says to you that just happen to resonate like music. They can be words that provoke your imagination like the glint of sunlight sparkling like lightning on a distant metal roof pulling your eyes. A strangely musical reading of a menu, an unexpectedly poetic metaphor offered when a cashier notices your keychain: magic words usually come unbidden and unannounced.

What to do? And how can you tell if those words are genuinely potent, or merely moments of divertissement?

Don't just turn them over in your mind. Say them out loud. If a strangely lyrical lilt in a radio announcer's voice captured your attention, you need to turn off the radio for a minute and see if those sounds continue to inspire you in the space between your ears. If you hear your neighbor's musings about his recently raked leaves in such a way that you feel a philosophical jolt on your skin, you need to take heed. 

Magic words are often portals into new dimensions. They don't cause feathers to levitate so much as they offer views into otherwise invisible worlds. Like all magic, the ability to recognize this intangible power requires practice, insight, and a willingness to delight in things that may superficially seem ordinary. More to the point, you'll be well advised to remember the first rule of magic: there's no such thing! It's not just a trick; if it were, we wouldn't willingly go into performances where we know we're going to be deceived. An audience must be willing to understand something extraordinary at a deeper level than it's merely superficial trappings. The medium is the message; the presentation of that medium is the moment of transformation.


Confused? Can't see through the smoky haze? Don't try so hard. If someone said something to you that made you smile, made you think, even just made you repeat the simple rhythms of the sounds of those syllables themselves, you've got it.

Why bring this up? Recognizing the phenomenon is an exercise, to be sure, but sometimes it becomes a key. When an ordinary thing sparks an extraordinary moment, the anthropomorphized molecules of the universe lean in for a better look. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes small, all it takes is a faint awareness that something wonderful just happened, happy or sad, critical or whimsical. You know it when you hear it. But like an audience in a magic show watching every move on stage, you have to pay attention to your own life lest you miss the moments that matter.

--Michael Starobin

  @michaelstarobin 

facebook.com/1auglobalmedia

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