I read a story the other day. It was written with a beautiful, light touch, full of magic and sparkle. For several pages I was swept along in this fairytale world. The writer could have introduced giants and unicorns, and I would have believed every word because the story was written with such sincerity of emotion.
But then, in the last paragraph, it became clear that there was in fact a rational explanation for how all the 'magic' happened. I was devastated. It was like finding out Santa Claus doesn't exist, or that it wasn't the Tooth Fairy who left a sixpence beneath your pillow. Or, it was like one of those escapades where the main character wakes up and realises 'it was all a dream'. This wasn't a magazine story, so there was no fiction editor in the background insisting the events had a plausible cause. Maybe the writer felt they were straining credibility too much by pursuing the magical theme right to the end. Or perhaps they lost confidence in their original idea. Either way, it was a shame.
Firstly this made me think that maybe everyone wants to believe in magic. Even someone like me, who hardly ever reads fantasy. But if a story grabs me then it doesn't matter what genre it's in. If it's well written and I connect with it then I will read on. If the story features magic, I want it to stay magical right until that final full stop. I somehow feel cheated when reality snatches away this wonderful, mystical world the writer has persuaded me exists.
The second thing I thought was how we have to keep pushing our ideas further to see where they can go. If some of our ideas are a bit 'off the wall' sometimes it's tempting to dismiss them as too fanciful. Yet the most interesting things seem to happen when we follow those ideas and see where they take us, instead of playing safe.
So, this week I'll be playing with my latest off the wall, fanciful, daft idea. It's quite exciting. There might be unicorns!