Magic- part 2: LET THEM BELIEVE

I'm working on a Sacred Land story about believing in legends. It got me thinking about how we can believe in magical stories or creatures to the point where they affect our lives and the lives of those we care about. Is it healthy to believe in such things? When others believe, does it make us believe? Why?

Is it possible to believe so hard, we make it real?

When I was in the hospital, and the nurse asked me to tell her about Whisperers, she countered with a story about a fairy that lives under her deck. She was as serious as could be, too. So serious, I believed her.

I had a reader tell me it was amazing I could write so well about Gabe in Petrified, when he isn't alive yet. Um... he's a fictional character, he won't ever be alive... "Well, not for another hundred years!" she snapped.

When my daughter was around seven she came up to me in her need-to-know-the-truth-about-everything attitude and demanded to know if Santa was real. She had her arms crossed and looked ready to debate anything I was going to say.

Now... it felt like a dare. I could have said he was real or not real, but I figured I'd let her reach that conclusion on her own. So I said, "Do you believe that a jolly man in a red suit flies all over the world in a sled pulled by magical flying reindeer, delivering toys his elves made? Do you believe that such a man could sneak into not only our house and leave gifts but houses all over the world? And do this in one night? Despite storms or weather, or whatever? Do you really believe such a thing?" Skepticism dripped from my voice.

She looked me square in the eyes and answered, "Yeah."

Okay then. What more could I say? She looked relieved I wasn't going to challenge her beliefs.

It was not at all where I thought we were going with that conversation so I left it at that. It never came up again until we were walking in a mall many years later and a guy walked by us. He had a long grey beard and was dressed in a work shirt. He had suspenders and was walking on a mission to find something in the mall. My first reaction was that he was in pretty good shape for a plump guy. By this time, I'm sure both my children knew the truth about Santa yet...

She nudged her brother, "Did you see that guy."

He smiled. "Yeah. Santa shops here, too."

I took a second look. Geepers. It might be Santa!

Have you ever witnessed such a strong  belief in something magical that it gets you to question your own beliefs?


Suzi said...

I guess I'm a little more cynical. I would've just said, oh, he looks like Santa. So no, I've never had something like that happpen.

I'm waiting for my 2nd child to discover the truth about Santa. I'm pretty vague about it to when she asks, but she's at the age where that soon comes to an end. And big brother hasn't told her yet, thankfully. :)

Valentina Hepburn said...

My grandchildren range in age from 4 months to eight, and I love it that they all believe in Santa. Of course, Freddie's not old enough yet, but when it's his turn it will keep the belief going. Being around children who get so excited about it keeps the magic alive for us too. Of course, there's a Santa!

Richard Hughes said...

I kind of envy little children who believe so easily in magical creatures. Their lives are enriched by it.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I love the idea that he MIGHT have been the real deal. I mean, that would make such a good story: Santa doing normal shopping for the rest of the year. Leading a nondescript life. But being careful not to shave off his beard - they take so much time to grow.

Oh, now look what you've done! I'm supposed to be focusing on the rewrite of my cozy mystery.