I miss Magical Realism. My last novel, Western Song, is a contemporary western love story which features a bull-riding ranch owner and Thai immigrant mail order bride and nary an alternative world view in site. Pretty gritty and down to earth these two as they struggle against their circumstances which include falling in love against their best instincts. And just recently, I’ve developed a book proposal for a new publisher of historical fiction for schoolkids grades 3rd through 8th. The company has a very interesting premise that includes alternatives—but alternative paths and choices—not alternative world views where, as Bruce Holland Rogers writes in his article “What is Magic Realism, Really?” “..angels really do appear and to whom God reveals Himself directly…”
I’ve had a very interesting journey with Magical Realism. Like many authors, I have books that don’t quite seem to fit neatly in those categories the markets and publishers want us to fit into. I understand why they desire this from writers. Sales. Bottom lines. Our world has become about sales and bottom lines. A series I have that follows the story of a psychic tracker and his nemesis a black magician did not seem to fit anywhere. Were they mystery? Fantasy? Thriller? Sci-fi? A case pro and con could be made for each category, but not a single case strong enough for one.
And then I found Magical Realism.
I’d been acquainted with the genre, of course, through college and then my master’s program. Gabriel Garcia Marquez and One Hundred Years of Solitude is required reading wherever you go to school. So, I suppose I should say, I became re-acquainted with the concept. And I dug deeper. And Eureka! I found my answer! This is where my Stone Quest series belonged!
Only…once re-acquainted, and acquainted with Zoe Brooks and her web site and her blog hops, and delving ever more deeply, I found my further education revealed a deeper truth. Revealed to me the very center of what, again as Rogers asks: What is Magical Realism, Really? Because the core tenant of Magical Realism is: the magic is ordinary. To the people who inhabit the world of a magical realism novel, their world is filled with enchantment and mystery and to them that is as ordinary as being thrown by a bull or caught in a snowstorm high on the range is to my Wyoming Cowboy. He may curse a little at his goldurn luck, but this is his world and he fully accepts it.
In the first book of the Stone Quest series my tracker Luke Stone is endowed with psychic gifts which he describes vehemently as dropping down upon him from out of the blue, and all of which he tries as hard as he can to push away.
There goes that category!
But what a wonderful education! Lose a category, gain insight. Not such a great loss.
And then…comes the fourth book…
Much of it is already outlined. Scribbled down—usually with notes I can barely read, but there on paper; the rest rumbling around in my head, characters jumping out at me at night, jabbering away at me, at each other, forcing me to get up, write their declarations down.
But this is the thing. By the fourth book, Luke has fought sundry battles, he has studied under erudite masters, and with each triumph, with each illumination, he has edged closer and closer toward a greater and greater peace with that constant source of mystery, confusion, and pain he has carried since youngest childhood. By the fourth book Luke has already slid towards an alternative world view that “includes miracles and angels, beast-men and women of unearthly beauty…” (Rogers); he has, in other words, already slipped into the acceptance of the magical as…ordinary.
The entire Stone Quest series contained metaphysical/psychic elements; contained elements of magic. I have pieces that deal with Native Americans that are true Magical Realism. My blog last year was about the Cahuilla Indians and Magical Realism.
But now, finally, I will be able to bring that element, construct a the full world, to create a universe of magical realism where “the realities of characters or communities… outside of the objective mainstream can be explored…and miracles are right around the corner…” (Rogers).
I cannot wait to embrace the totality of this world.
I cannot wait to see where it’s contours will take me.
This post is part of the Magic Realism Blog Hop. About twenty blogs are taking part in the hop. Over three days (29th – 31st July 2016) these blogs will be posting about magic realism. Please take the time to click on the links below to visit them and remember that links to the new posts will be added over the three days, so do come back to read more.