Guest Post: Magic

Dec 2, 2013 by

I am a fan of all things magical. When I was a little girl, I loved watching re-runs of Bewitched and imagining that, like Samantha, I could make cool things happen with a little wiggle of my nose (which I had to do like Tabitha—with my finger). As a teenager I discovered Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy and was hooked on anything to do with the magic of Arthurian legends. By the time J. K. Rowling published the first Harry Potter book, I was an adult, but those books came just in time. They got me through graduate school: for every chapter of Derrida, I rewarded myself with two or three chapters of Harry Potter. So it comes as no surprise that when I sat down to write Mary Bennet and the Bloomsbury Coven, the magic part of the story interested me the most. In fact, I only chose to write about Mary Bennet because I had played her in a production of Pride and Prejudice the year before, and I had fallen so in love with her that I wanted to give the poor girl an adventure and a love story of her own. But over the course of writing Mary’s story, I found myself drawn closer and closer to the world created by Jane Austen. In revisiting all of her books, I discovered the power of their magic.

Regency Magic Book One

There is something inherently magical about being transported through reading to a different time and place. When I read Jane Austen this magical transportation seems especially potent, for she conjures her scenes and characters with such clarity and wit. I think the richness of her world explains why so many people return to her books again and again. Readers like me may be sprawled on a twenty-first century couch wearing sweats and a t-shirt, but in our minds we are swirling through a ballroom in a beautiful gown festooned with ribbons or riding through the English countryside sitting next to a dashing gentleman driving a barouche. I re-read Jane Austen’s novels regularly for just this magical journey to Regency England—to sit with people I have come to love (or to hate) for a little while. I am, while there, completely enchanted.

Two centuries have passed since Miss Austen first sat down to write, and I wonder if she knew then just how potent her magic would be. Did she settle herself at her little desk thinking about how her voice would reach generation after generation of readers? Or did she just want to wander the halls of Pemberley with Elizabeth? Writing is, of course, the other side of this magical coin.  Just as every reader knows what it is to escape to a different world, every writer knows that strange alchemy that makes an idea suddenly form from nothing or characters do or say something completely unexpected—that magical moment when the story takes on a life of its own, when we discover parts of our imagination we never knew existed. Readers may journey to these magical places, but writers explore them first.

I’ve just started writing the second book of the Regency Magic series, Margaret Dashwood and the Enchanted Atlas. In this story the magical transportation via a book becomes literal. The atlas takes Margaret to such far-flung places as India and the Hebrides all in the blink of an eye. It’s still rough right now, but each time I sit down to write it, I’m amazed that words come out and the characters have things to say. In the enchanted place of my imagination, a world is taking shape and I can’t wait to discover it.

 

*****

Beth Deitchman wrote her first book, Behind Every Great Man There’s a Great Cat, when she was in third grade. After that she took some time off from writing to pursue other interests. While her plans to be a ballerina / manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates fell through, she did have short careers in both ballet and modern dance. She’s also been a lecturer in English at UC Davis and an actor in the SF Bay Area. These days Beth writes and teaches Pilates in Northern California where she lives with her husband, Dave, and dog, Ralphie. With her writing partner, Emily June Street, Beth founded Luminous Creatures Press.

6 Comments

  1. “There is something inherently magical about being transported through reading to a different time and place.”

    THIS! I love everything about this post, Beth! Thanks for guest posting with us.

    I’m really excited to read Mary Bennet and the Bloomsbury Coven – Austen and magic are my two very favorite things!

  2. Thank you for this magical post! I know exactly how you feel and I greatly enjoyed reading it.I love both Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling’s worlds and I keep returning there again and again.

  3. Nice post. I’m definitely guilty of laying on the couch in a heap of filth and in my mind’s eye, I’m all goodness and light in the ballroom.

  4. Cara Dragnev

    Magic AND Jane Austen? Yes, please! I just added this to my Kindle—sooo excited to read it! Thank you for posting! :D

  5. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board
    and I find It really helpful & it helped me out much.
    I am hoping to present one thing back and aid others such as you aided me.

    Look at my website … facebook search by city (Quinn)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>