Gray Today, Brony Tomorrow

As a guy gets old, he realizes it’s harder to find magic in everyday life. When you’re a kid the entire world is magic. The woods behind the house is some mysterious hidden forest where trolls, elves and you name it lurk. The old beaten down place down the street is a haunted house, and the guy living there is a mad scientist or something just as exciting. Worst of all, monsters lurk in the shadows once the sun drops behind the horizon. The thing is, magic is everywhere when you’re young.


That isn’t so true once you become a fully functioning adult. Magic becomes a weekend where you’re not working around the house or visiting the in-laws. Magic is a hard commodity to buy especially when you’re married with kids. Most of the time, instead of experiencing magic through your children’s eyes, you’re too busy keeping reality from falling down around them.


Then, you find yourself a little older, and magic is all but impossible to remember let alone find. Your body begins to do evil tricks on you. You get out of bed to use the bathroom and you grunt like your grandfather to start the process, or your knee goes out and you hobble into the bathroom praying your prostate isn’t playing even eviler tricks on you. Growing old is the act of devoiding yourself of magic. You have to, just to survive or stop from going to the booby hatch.


Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking. I’ve read this dude’s blog and know he’s just one big kid. True, but the sad fact is I’m more reality based than I let on. I had to conform to the system. I am ashamed to admit that, but it’s true. Hey, I found the perfect woman and got married. I had her and a beautiful daughter to support. You can’t hunt orcs in the backyard all the time and give the people you love the life they deserve being totally goofy. Sometimes goofy is okay.


About eight years ago, I found an outlet for the kid I kept locked inside me. Writing. Whereas, a rousing game of Dungeons and Dragons might have been near impossible, writing real life fictional ones wasn’t. Before you get the idea my wife wouldn’t allow me inside the D & D circle of friends I once had, they too grew up, moved ahead, or just moved away. For a long time, writing allowed magic to bloom inside me again, like it had when I was a kid playing with my Star Wars men in front of Saturday morning cartoons.


But, a funny thing happened. My daughter grew up and moved out. Now, she has a family of her own. Another thing is I grew older. My body moves a little slower than it used to. I forget things I should know. My mom and dad have grown older. Heck, that whole generation is slowing fading from the superhero status I once looked at them as having. In essence reality became my own mortality staring me in the face. Magic has definitely become harder and harder to find.


This year, I’ve been forced to see I’m not going to live forever. Knowing something and accepting it are two different things. I’ve spent time going back and forth to the doctor. My wife has as well. I watch my dad stumble a bit when he walks and take breaks when just a few short years ago he could work circles around. He still can according to him. My mom is in the hospital after suffering a stroke. People my age are dropping like flies. Who could find a trace of magic in all that happening?


I’ll tell you, I couldn’t. I found myself sinking into a self imposed pity party. Not even comic books, action figures and Star Wars could bring me out of it. The fear of losing those I love most took hold of me. Instead of wonder and light, I could only see darkness and a sinking despair I doubted I’d ever dig myself out of. Where was the yellow brick road when I needed it?


I’m more than a little ashamed to admit, I found it. One day while taking my wife to see a specialist about two hours away from our hometown, we pulled over to grab a quick bite. Quick bite being a Happy Meal to try and save a couple dollars so we could treat ourselves on the way home. As I shoved fries into my mouth, I glanced at the toy. It was a white unicorn with pink hair. What the crap! I’d told them the boy toy. Pulling up at a red light I took this ‘thing’ out of my box and started to throw it in the backseat. But, you know, it was kind of cute. I found myself feeling a little calmer just by holding it. Taking it out of its plastic bag, its tail curled around my finger. As anyone knows, guys are suckers for thing’s curling around our fingers. My own grandson’s finger around mine had taught me that lesson.


Next thing I knew, I was rapidly collecting the whole set of My Little Ponys from Mickey D’s. Then, I started buying the cheap four buck ones. Hey, it’s a victimless crime. Ponys make me happy for some weird strange reason. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, until my wife laughed at me and called me a ‘Freaking Brony’. The wrongness continued as she explained what a Brony was. I could have stopped the thing right then and there by giving the collection to my little sister, but I didn’t.


Magic is just too hard to find to toss it away because of what other people might think. Sure, it might make me a bit sillier than I already am, but I’m a writer. Writer’s need muses. Mine just so happen to be ponies with curly tails and big eyes. Here’s the kicker. Normal people need magic too, not just writers, musicians or artists. We, yes, I’m grouping myself with normal people, need something to brighten our lives. It doesn’t have to be a toy. It could be a child’s smile. Sitting in a boat with all of God’s creation around you as you fish alone or with a friend. It can even be a Mall and that once in a lifetime sale. You just have to find your magic wherever you can and cling to it like it’s the most important thing in the world. If you can do that, you’re richer than you have ever been and something much more important. Happy.


So, feel free to laugh my mid-life Broniness. I don’t mind. Know why? Because for one brief second I made you smile. I was that muse that showed you magic and happiness exists. If we’re both lucky, you’ll pass the feeling onto to someone else, and they keep the process flowing. And, if we’re all really lucky, we’ll find ourselves in a world where hate, bigotry and all the other junk that makes our lives so miserable just doesn’t exist.


Funny thing is, if it actually happens, it’ll have started because on one day a worried husband stopped off and bought him and his wife a quick meal and got a My Little Pony instead of the boy’s toy.


Serendipity is a fickle mistress and loves a good practical joke every once in awhile. Before you ask, yes, my broniness will probably find itself into one of my books. That’s what writer’s do. We take the absurdness of reality and make it into something a reader will say that will never happen in real life. Strangely enough, things like that often do. As I waddle off to brush some pony hair, go out and find your magic. As my very good friend Paisley Kirkpatrick loves to tell me, ‘Smile’ and maybe the magic you’re looking for will find you.


Talking about a Little Magic

First off, I’m sorry for disappearing for the last few weeks. Sometimes, it takes a little isolation from things to get the job done. This time the job was finishing a book which should have truthfully been ended a month or so ago. It didn’t help that life went crazy. Not an excuse, just a statement of facts. Life gets crazy and you deal with it. Because, as great as writing is, the important things come first. Playing inside your own head will always come second. Or, it should. Writing like reading is an escape. There are just some things it’s best not to escape from. That said, let’s explore what’s going on inside my head this week, and no peeking behind the purple door. It’s off limits, so don’t even try. Trust me you don’t want to see what’s behind that door.

Okay, where was I again. Oh, I hadn’t even gotten started yet. Thanks, I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached. This week my aforementioned attached head has been fixated on one thing and one thing only. Magic! Lately my life has been missing this key element. Reality has a habit of doing it to a person. As a result, I found myself reflecting on magic, and how it seems so fleeting as we get older.

I was born in 1969, to me one of the most magical decades of the Twentieth Century. Why? Because, it was the decade so many people truly believed love could solve everything. Love was the magic that drove the whole world. If we as a whole just forsook hate, bigotry and all the other things keeping us apart as a people, we could make the world a better place. Sure, most of those people thinking it were higher than a kite, but it seemed for one brief moment, peace and love could happen. So much of what we have today is a result of this type of thinking.

Just look at what the 60’s gave us. Men walked on the freaking moon! You can’t get much more magical than that. On television, Gene Roddenberry envisioned a future where humanity came together despite our differences to boldly go where no man has gone before. Jimi Hendrix made a guitar do things that defied belief. Bob Dylan showed us the face of humanity as it was, and what it could be. He also took us on a walk All Along the Watchtower. To me, personally this is one of the greatest songs ever written. The Doors broke free and opened new doors to perception for us. Janis Joplin made magic with the rawness of her voice that could make you weep with emotion. Andy Warhol gave us the everyday and it felt like new worlds opening from the mundane. Okay, I’ll freely admit the Beatles taught teenage girls the proper way to scream uncontrollably to teen idols.

I know every decade has its own magic. The 70’s had its. The 80’s had rampant commercialism to call magic. The 90’s had flannel, but the 60’s had something I can’t remember being in those other decades. It had hope. In spite of the horrors of reality, people were open to magic. Vietnam was raging. Drugs were everywhere. Civil Rights had everyone galvanized to the nightly news. The 60’s had its problems, but there was hope. Hope the world could be a better place. Coming out of the war, we as a nation and as a world learned that war without purpose had no meaning. Of course, it hasn’t stopped us from repeating our mistakes.

The magic of that time still lives today. I only had ten months of living in the 60’s, but I like to think the magic lives inside me. I truly believe love can solve anything. I believe hope is the key to overcoming adversity. I believe we’re all the same in spite of color, religion or nationality. I believe magic exists if we only open ourselves to it.

That is exactly what I try to do with my writing. Bring magic to people’s everyday lives. The real world is just plain real. We all have troubles. They give us acid reflux, keep us up at night and make us snap at the people in our lives. I for one don’t want to dwell on those things when I read. Growing up I enjoyed slipping into the realms of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I still do, only now I get to create those worlds for others to enjoy. Escaping the real world is fine for a little while, but it’s comforting to know when I get back from whichever universe is holding my attention I have someone waiting for me.

When people ask why I write Romance, I tell them it’s because my wife taught me what true love means. The reason isn’t as simple as that. Maybe the real answer is I write Romance because I want to share my own personal happiness with the world. So, if you happen to pick up one of my books, I hope you get sucked into the magic of love, just like I did sixteen years ago this year with my own true love.

So, here’s wishing you a week full of love, and enough magic to make the real world bearable. Unfortunately, you’re on your own when it comes to Mondays. Those things are the blackest of magic known to man.