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“Stirring the Soup”

Do You Believe in Magic? Marie Gaudet, Edmonton AB Once upon a time, there was a young girl (myself) who was initiated into books. Fairy tales were my favorite when I was very young. From Hans Christian Andersen’s enchanting tales of The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina and The Princess and the Pea; to Grimm’s Fairy Tales for the adventures of Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel and Rumpelstiltskin; and Perrault’s Tales of Mother Goose, where Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots and Cinderella taught me some charming lessons about never giving up on finding your happy endings even if you have to overcome all sorts of obstacles to get there. Many categorically magical hours were spent poring over these and other books of hocuspocus and bewitchery – in my room, on the tree swing, in the library, sitting with my feet buried in a sand hill while munching on a stem of prairie grass, lying in a hammock, hiding between the corn rows reading when I was supposed to be detasseling corn. Oh, the magical phrases I learned that opened up caves full of treasures and carried me away from that tedious farm life and the problems of the day! Later on at school, Greek Mythology took over the reins, with Zeus, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Achilles with his vulnerable heel and even those nasty sirens conjuring images of how to overcome the most diabolic of challenges and indeed conferring upon me my first inkling that I had my very own personal power to draw from. Also while in my teens, I discovered Harlequin romances! What a treasure trove that was for a teenaged girl just beginning to notice boys. It wasn’t just my mother anymore who kept screeching for me to come and help with the chickens, but teachers wanting me to pay attention, my dad waiting for his lunch out in the field and bus drivers reminding me to get off because I was home, now. When you find your escape, you really immerse yourself in it, don’t you? But I needed to find my happiness and who cared if I was only doing it vicariously through my mystical leading characters for now? Currently, I use an e-reader to escape into my imaginary worlds and oh, how I miss the smell and feel of those magical little books in my hands! By the time I was a young adult, I had read many of the classics and (some would say downgraded to, but I www.dialogue.ca

say) graduated to reading and watching science fiction; and the boundaries of my imagination shattered. I no longer had to dream about just this simple planetary existence anymore, because now an entire universe filled my mind with its endless adventures and mysteries. My dreams expanded exponentially once the possibility of space travel became part of the equation! In essence, I did leave this earth for short intervals, while imagining everything that my life could be at but a touch of the magic wand. During those periods, my problems became irrelevant as I planned for a better future. Reading offered me a tremendous diversion from the adversities I was facing at home and at school. You might say books were my mentors. They instilled hope in me, and dreams, and confidence that I could build something special for my life, that I could find love, that the world was my oyster. For a self-conscious young woman still searching for her authentic self, this was nothing short of enchanting! And then my kids came along. “Just in time,” I thought, gleefully rubbing my hands together. “Someone to play with!” Kids have so much imagination and excitement for life themselves, I thought, maybe we could all abracadabra together! So I cast my spells on them and they were mesmerized. I read to them every night from newer versions of the same old books and they gobbled it up – even the stories about billy goats being gobbled up by trolls. And as their worlds expanded, so did the magic in our home. I remember one Christmas when I dressed as Santa and went outside, tapping on bedroom windows. My then 6-year old, who was beginning to doubt Santa at the time, later proclaimed with star-filled eyes that Santa had come to his window, waved at him, then seemed to fly away. Only a child’s imagination could create such a delightful illusion. Another time, I convinced my 8-year old daughter to take the “Princess” test. I put a dried pea (the largest I could find) under her mattress before she went to bed, telling her that if she could have a good night’s sleep on it, she wasn’t a “real” princess,” just an amazingly awesome little girl with a heart of gold and if she complained about it, I was going to pick her up, twirl her around and hug her and kiss her. Of course, she came back complaining the next morning that she’d had a very fitful sleep and would I please remove that annoying pea? So we celebrated Princess April with curtsies, thees and thous and currying favor. Halloween, of course, was VOL. 30, NO. 1, AUTUMN 2016

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Dialogue Vol.30, No.1 digital edition  

Canada's unique volunteer-produced magazine for ideas, insights, critical thinking & radical imagination - shared in letters, essays, storie...

Dialogue Vol.30, No.1 digital edition  

Canada's unique volunteer-produced magazine for ideas, insights, critical thinking & radical imagination - shared in letters, essays, storie...

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