I’ll Trade You A Song For a Story!

middle-earth-map

I’ve been thinking about magic a lot the past few weeks. When the leaves turn and the air crisps and the apples ripen and sunlight only makes the shadows deeper, I think about magic.

I remember living down in Byron; I lived for a few years on 63 acres of old farm fields, woods and creek beds. I spent countless hours perched in the crook of an apple tree reading The Lord of the Rings. I still read it nearly every year about this time. I wanted so badly for it to exist in real life that as I rambled around the place, I made it Middle Earth in my mind.

The spit of woods sticking out into the Zumbro became Lothlorien, the glorious ten acres of maple and oak I transformed into Fangorn Forest, and the deeply cleft creek where I hunted fossils I dubbed Rivendell.

I come by my geekitude honestly.

I look for magic, have done for some time. I assume I’m no different than anybody in that regard, really, but the older I get the more I believe I’ve been doing it wrong. Oh, I still believe magic exists, I just think more and more that one creates it more than one finds it. Perhaps the treasure isn’t the point so much as it is the map.

Ingredients, components…these constitute my stock in trade and holy grail now. Eye of newt, wing of bat have become stories: that of the Doyle boys in Bruno; the nameless man who returned 30 years later to confess to dynamiting the C. R. Grace hotel in Kingsdale, MN; the coureurs des bois who roamed the virgin woodland trading and often intermarrying with Native peoples.

I get to take these wonderful, strange little stories and transform them into songs. With luck, I get to share them. Sometimes they fizzle and refuse to spark but when the ingredients blend, when I transform a good story with a sound melody and filter it through my own feelings and experience I get magic.

I still read LOTR. I still keep my eyes and ears open and turn over rocks and root around in cellars. What I look for now are stories, the raw materials, the building blocks.

Have you got a good story? Tell me, tell it here. Scootch up to the fire like we all used to before TV and dazzle us, because if you’ve got a story, I’ll get a song.

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