Of course, when I got older, I gradually stopped looking for fairies, and elves, and dwarves. The last to go was Narnia. I would still get a chill every time I opened a closet door well into my sixteenth year. But after a while, not only closest but even wardrobes lost their thrill. Narnia was never there.
I stopped believing in magic.
It was a dark time in my life, and my loss of belief topped it off. The world was real and measurable and explainable and boring. I read a lot of non-fiction, books that talked about “finding your strengths” and “budgeting for the busy millennial.” It seemed like what an adult ought to read. And I learned a lot. But my imagination started to get grey around the edges. Things seemed so…normal. I struggled to find beauty in my everyday life.
Then I saw a well-worn copy of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It was at a thrift store, sandwiched between a cook book and a smutty romance novel. I was in college. I was studying serious subjects, like English Grammar and Bibliology and how to do laundry as cheaply as possible. But I couldn’t leave it there. Even contemplating walking past felt like betraying an old friend. So I rescued it.
And I read it.
In one afternoon.
There it was: Narnia, in all its beautiful, wild, exciting, compelling magic. I had been looking in all the wrong places. Magic wasn’t behind the door of a closet, it was under the cover of a book. The magic is in the stories themselves. Think about it. I am sitting on my bed, with my cat, my laptop on my lap. You are not here. And yet, by reading those words, you are. You can see it in your mind. Maybe you didn’t picture my hair as brown or my cat as grey, but what does that matter? Some symbols on your screen made pictures in your brain. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.
When we read, we can experience something without ever doing it. We can live alongside someone else. We can visit worlds that only exist in our minds. How cool is that? It’s so cool, I will repeat it. We can visit worlds that only exist in our minds! Space travel seems, well, lame in comparison.
Is your day feeling a little flat? Is your imagination getting grey around the edges? Why don’t you pick up a book and live a little literary magic?