Most magic-realist literature comes in the form of novels, but it also appears as poetry. A few years back I wrote a long poem called Something in Nothing. The poem is broken up into parts.
SOMETHING IN NOTHING
He felt his shoulderblades
stretch and itch,
as he gazed across the café
at the girl.
Over the rim of the coffee cup
he saw her smile,
a secret smile as she read.
He wanted to cover his face,
he wanted to cover his feet,
he wanted to rise above it all.
Such was the ache of it.
Such was the tightness
of the shirt on his back.
Over the coffee cup
he drew the set of her jaw
with his eyes.
He noticed the slight shade on the cheek.
Suddenly she looked up
and saw him.
That was not the way of it,
that was not how it should be.
She should not see him,
not like that,
not with those dark smiling eyes.
That night in the bedroom
he thought of her,
he found on his back
three sets of perfectly formed wings.
I have been busy organising another magic realism bloghop and this poem is part of it. The hop is like a magic realist mystery tour, with all sorts of posts appearing on the many blogs taking part. Click on the links below to hop around the various posts.
This post is part of the Magic Realism Blog Hop 2015. For links to the other blogs taking part, check out the links below
For three years I have been reading and reviewing magic realism on the Magic Realism Books Blog. And the more I read, the more I am of the opinion that magic realism is not a genre, but a way of looking at and describing the world – the real world. Gabriel Garcia Marquez said: It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there’s not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality.
Magic realism is a rejection of the modern Western rationalist and scientific world view, which excludes the marvellous and unexplainable. You can see this in terms of cultural differences between the West and other cultures. But I believe that, like me, the majority of people in the West actually have a magic realist outlook on life. Philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote that: The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. I totally agree.
When I am writing (especially when I am writing poetry, but also sometimes when I write fiction) I am conscious that I am experiencing and seeing the world differently. It is a form of heightened or extended reality. Michel Ajvaz wrote: The frontier of our world is not far away; it doesn’t run along the horizon or in the depths. It glimmers faintly close by, in the twilight of our nearest surroundings; out of the corner of our eye we can always glimpse another world, without realizing it.
Fantasy crosses the frontier and stays there. Magic Realism presents the world with the frontier in place – glimmering in the twilight. It does not deny reality but is, in Alejo Carpentier’s words, a privileged revelation of reality, an unaccustomed or singularly favourable illumination of the previously unremarked riches of reality, an amplification of the measures and categories of reality, perceived with peculiar intensity due to the exaltation of the spirit which elevates it to a kind of “limit state”. Without magic, reality becomes two dimensional. The magic illuminates and throws the “real” into relief. The real can only be seen fully if you see it from different angles and perspectives, if you can hold it up to the light and look into it and see that the magic is inside and an integral part of it.
I’ve been thinking about this blog. To date it has been effectively a website advertising my writing, which is fine so far as it goes. But unfortunately that isn’t very far.
Everyone says when you start writing “to build a platform (i.e. get readers who will buy your books) start a blog, create a Facebook page, join twitter, blah, blah, blah.” All of which I did. But then so is every other author!
I’ve taken a break from the helter-skelter rush for a platform and in so doing asked what platform I would want. And the answer is that I don’t want a platform. A platform suggests a construction you build on or jump from or maybe reach up from. I want individual readers, each one important in the own right. The lovely review from Parents Little Black Book, which I reported in my last post, brought that home to me. As Karen so rightly says “Girl in the Glass” (and “Mother of Wolves”) is a “depiction of women who are marginalized by a society that considers them of little value”. I have spent 20 years of my life working with such women and learning to understand them. If my books can help others do the same and at the same time have a enjoyable read, then I have done what I set out to do. Of course the more readers I get, the better.
So what does that mean for this blog? It will mean that I will be writing about subjects that relate to the subject matter of the book, influences, research and maybe some issues about writing. Mind you I will still occasionally promote the books themselves.