If I say, “I’ll take ‘Magic’ for $400, please, Alex,” what was the question? If you guessed, “What do Quincy Harker, The Book of Mormon and Freddie Mercury have in common?” you would be a Paranormal Jeaopardy rock star. If you have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, read on, dear reader, read on. I'm still thinking about Heaven Sent, by John G. Hartness. His writing is getting more fluid, and the snark factor more elegant (and yes, there is such a thing as elegant snark, and John Hartness is a master). Beyond the snark are some interesting musings. Today's cogitations involve the way magic works. I believe we can and do make magic every day. It involves focus and energy. And maybe a little something extra. Apparently, John Hartness agrees with me.
In the Quincy Harker novella series, Q is not quite human; he's faster, stronger and lives longer than mere mortals. He's also a powerful mage, or wizard, depending on your nomenclature. He can make shit happen that may elude the rest of us. Interestingly, he has learned, through trial and error presumably, that when he casts relatively straightforward spells (like repairing broken doors), it doesn't matter which words he uses. Latin or Pig Latin, it's all the same, as long as the intent and focus are there; summonings and more elaborate spells require more precision in elocution. Or so we’re told. But let's stick with the original premise here, which is that intent is more important than content. This interesting idea is somewhat nuanced, and is therefore likely to be bastardized, but we’ll give it a go.
And here we get to the connection with The Book of Mormon. If you haven't seen the play, run, don't walk. Peed my pants laughing: the musical lived up to its hype. Beyond that, however, the plot is deep; it involves the slow realization by the lead LDS characters that the intention behind religious views is more important than the content. This is a truth I've always believed. God/The Universe/Krishna/Buddha/etc. doesn't care what the sign on the door says. Dogma is dumb, and love is all. When we exclude, judge, shun, and shame in the name of religious purity, you've lost me, as well as any God that I believe exists. I know this is not what most folks who self identify as "religious" versus "spiritual" would say, and maybe that's the difference right there. But if the content of our beliefs is more important than the intention behind our actions, we're not worshipping the same God.
And intent over content is also how John Hartness explains magic, mostly. As in mostly, all it takes is focus, intention and energy. Which makes a lot of sense. But it's still definitely a kind of magic. Which explains why sometimes it works better than others. For example, when I've failed at something, or done less than my best, or the outcome wasn't what I'd hoped, I stop to think about where the magic went wrong. Was it my level of commitment? Was it a paucity of purity in my intention? Was it a lack of energy or focus (I usually misplace my focus before my energy, but that's what makes me so joyfully ADHD)?
But magic is not solely mundane, either in truth or in fantasy. It exists, no question about it, and we can all make it—without consciously casting spells. And we don’t need the suped-up DNA that Quincy sports from his parents, both of whom served as snacks for Dracula (kind of like how a bite from a radioactive spider can do a number on one's genes). But all magic, in addition to intention, focus and energy, has some fairy dust added to it. We might call it the hand of fate, or God's grace, good luck or whatever, but it's often there, just under the surface, of all we do. It's a kind of magic, in the truest sense of that concept, which is how we get to my favorite queen, Freddie M.
At least that's how it works for me. But, as Quincy notes, it’s magic, so who really knows? All I know is that I can make it. When I think of some of my achievements, and some of my defeats that really weren’t, I know that there must have been some supernatural mojo behind the outcomes of my life. I should have died 100 times during my misspent youth. And I should have ended up sad, lonely and stupidly neurotic, wandering the streets of New York as a truly lost soul, if we all got what we deserve. But I think my heart is fairly pure and my destructive tendencies are mostly self-directed, so perhaps my better-than-I-deserve existence does have a lot to do with intent instead of content (but we’ll only know for sure after I go the way of all flesh whether I I end up taking the elevator up or down).
On the other hand, and this is where the nuance comes in, we all know about the pavers that constitute the road to Hell. Good intentions don't trump bad or evil outcomes. Sure, it matters that we mean well, as I’ve written about before, and if it's a first offense, then that makes even more of a difference. But just because we didn't mean to break the mirror, doesn't mean we aren't going to suffer from seven years of bad luck. So, intent is important, but all things being equal, content has an important role to play as well. Even when we're making magic.
So, thank you – Freddy Mercury, Book of Mormon and dear Q for adding some magic to my day. I hope that this post has added a tiny bit of fairy dust to yours.