‘I am sure there is magic in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us.’ – Frances Hodgson Burnett.
The extraordinary very often lies in the ordinary, if only we take the time to look and find it, though writers of course, are more likely to focus on the minor details of life than anyone else. A poem or a short story feeds off the seemingly mundane, presenting it in a way which makes the reader stop and think and re-examine. It uses language to convey new meaning, insight or wonder, shutting out the noise of the world to zone in on one particular thing.
I found myself, this weekend, at the foot of Seamus Heaney’s grave in Bellaghy. I hadn’t planned to go there and it was my first visit, but I was in the area and so it came about. Heaney of course, was highly skilled when it came to writing about the everyday in a way which enchanted readers of all ages. He found the magic in the mundane.
The spot where Heaney lies appeared fairly magical in itself on Saturday – well, as much as any plot in a graveyard can be – but on a cool spring day, with the sun dappling the ground with shadows, and the fields just visible through the branches which shelter the grave, it seemed the perfect contemplative corner for a poet to rest.
Making your readers spellbound with your words is what every writer wants, I imagine, but it can often seem an impossible task. I doubt I’ve ever achieved it myself. However, I do believe that if we take the time to pause, and look again at the world, we might just have a chance of conjuring up some of that magic in our writing after all…