Making the magic

“It’s in words that the magic is—Abracadabra, Open Sesame, and the rest—but the magic words in one story aren’t magical in the next.  The real magic is to understand which words work, and when, and for what; the trick is to learn the trick.” — John Barth, “Dunyazadiad”

11 thoughts on “Making the magic”

  1. “. . . the trick is to learn the trick.”

    Oh yes. I love this. Is there a hat I can buy, from which a rabbit magically appears with no effort on my part? Is there a box full of tricks? A special mirror?

  2. Only if the magic appears effortless is it magic. But you will know that the effort is ceaseless; that the box of tricks is a toolbox, no more and no less; and that the special mirror will sometimes reflect that which you will find almost unbearable to behold.

  3. Depends on what you want. If you want to be a strong writer–no matter what you’re writing–you have to look in the mirror. And you have to do it while you’re not looking, so you’ll see who’s really there.

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