Believing in Magic

I still believe in the magic that is Santa Claus. Yes, I said it. I believe in all types of magic because a world without magic would be dreadfully boring. Being alive is magic in itself and those who don’t see that are missing out more than they will ever know.

I used to write daily about magical worlds and characters, but the muse that helped me do that still hasn’t returned. I catch a glimpse of her now and then but she’s gone before I can stop her and ask her what it is I’m missing that made her leave. Even though I can’t write about magical creatures and beings that wield magic, I know magic still exists all around me. I tap into it every day when I explore my creativity and I see signs of it from soaring hawks that call at me to catch my attention.

One of the strongest types of magic in the world is the magic of love. Love is a powerful force that connects every living being, every spirit, every natural force. Love among humans is ridiculously complicated and far from the perfection portrayed in fairy tales. Perfection is something that exists in a non-magical world and as I’ve already said, that’s far too boring for me.Regardless, I don’t believe that love should be a constant struggle and that love with the right one feels effortless at its best moments and worth the fight at its worst moments.

Although romantic love continues to elude me, I’m sure the universe has its reasons for keeping it from me at this point in my life. I catch glimpses of it, the same glimpses I get of that elusive muse, but it’s gone before I can even hope to grasp it. I have a feeling that when I do finally rediscover the magic of romantic love, I’ll also get that muse back and that both elements will remain in my life, never to leave again.

While the idea of Santa Claus leaving the right one under my tree as a gift this year is amusingly optimistic, I don’t expect it to happen. The man in red is far too busy bringing happiness and magic to the children of the world and he knows that in time, I’ll bring the right one to me just by being my unique and magical self.

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It’s in the cards (intro)

Image courtesy of PhotoBucket

During my trip to Salem, MA, this past Thursday, I had a Tarot card reading. It’s almost impossible to take a step in Salem this time of year without tripping over a psychic reading or tarot reading, so I decided to give it a go this trip. Not everyone believes in the mystical, magical, and unknown but I do, and I found the tarot card reading very helpful, insightful, and spot on! There is of course a great story about my reading, but I just drove all day to get home, so it will have to wait. It’s all about building anticipation and interest, right? 😉

The Power of Three

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One of my favorite shows was/is Charmed. It’s a show about three sister witches who, when they combine their magical powers, are an unstoppable force against evil. This combined force is called The Power of Three.

My two daughters and I possess our own Power of Three and it has wondrous and magical properties. Together we can face and overcome any challenge and our love makes us stronger every day.

Today we went to the Native American Festival at Ganondagan in Victor, NY. We had some rather unexpected and interesting adventures that I’m too tired to share now but through it all, we were a united trio. Spending time with my girls always reminds me how blessed I am to have them. We make each other laugh, we indulge in the fine art of sarcasm and we hold hands to stick together when the trail gets challenging.

We are a formidable trio with a Power of Three capable of overcoming any force that tries to rise against us. Never mess with a Corbin woman because trust me, she’s got some kickbutt family back up 😉

Queen of the Bats

That blur is a little brown bat.

That blur is a little brown bat.

No, I’m not talking about some fantasy novel or cheesy movie on Sci-Fi, I’m talking about me. I’m not into vampires and the idea that being an ageless, bloodsucking undead creature is somehow a romantic thing. No, I just like bats. Pretty much any kind of bats, though some of them do look a bit funky. I love flying foxes and think they’re the most adorable combination of two of my favorite creatures: bats and foxes. I do know they’re not actually foxes but they’re still cute, even with fruit guts smeared all over their noses.

I first remember seeing bats flying around when my family would take summer trips up to the Adirondack Mountains. The bats were always flying over the lake when we’d sit on the beach around a little campfire. I didn’t see bats flying around my yard until I moved out into the hills of the area where I live now. What we have around here are little brown bats. I’ve seen many of them flying around the yard of my current home ever since I moved in two summers ago. I love to watch them fly around snatching up insects, flapping their wings so fast they’re almost impossible to see.

I’ve seen a few little brown bats up close in my lifetime. There was one inside the sanctuary of the church where I worked as a secretary many years ago. The church custodian was terrified of the thing but I managed to nab it in the net and release it happily back outside. My cat Owl is a bit too good at being a hunter and managed to snatch a couple bats at my old house. I rescued the bats from her and put them somewhere safe until they could de-stun enough to fly away. There were a couple bats living in the barn of my old house but they eventually moved out when my ex-husband started actually using the door they called home.

I have a small bat house but when I hung it in a tree, it became filled with nasty web caterpillars, not bats. I was going to hang it somewhere on my property this summer but never got to it. Turns out, I didn’t need to worry. As I was working in Jordan’s room last week, I heard the sound of bat squeaks outside her window. Curious, I looked out the window and saw three bats fly by in quick succession. I thought that was really neat! Then the light bulb turned on. Needing to know if my sudden conclusion was correct, I went outside and walked around the end of the house where Jordan’s window is. As I reached the chimney, a bat swooped out from somewhere toward the peak of my roof. I moved around so I had a clear view of the top of my chimney and the side of my house and within moments, I saw a little brown bat climb out of a hole in my siding behind the chimney and then fly off. As I watched, another half dozen bats flew out. So I do indeed have a bat house…or a bat attic at least.

I read up on humane ways to remove bats from the attic but I don’t see any huge harm in them living there. I don’t use my attic crawlspace nor do I ever intend to so the bats might as well enjoy it. I imagine they’ve been living up there for years and they were nice enough to eliminate the nest of bees in my siding so I think they’ve earned their keep. It’s actually kind of nice knowing I have a family of little brown bats in my home; it makes me feel less alone when I don’t have the girls. I am the queen of many things and now I’m also the Queen of the Bats. Better than the crazy cat lady if you ask me…

Chasing Moonlight

I believe in magic. Life would be stale, lifeless and dull if magic didn’t exist. I see magic in everyday events and I always feel magic when I look at the moon. No matter what phase the moon is in, the moment I see it I feel mystical powers at work.

Tonight as the moon rose in the east while the sun set in the west I began to wonder. What if the sun loves the moon? Is it filled with longing as the moon stays just out of reach? Does it wonder what the moon is hiding on its dark side? When the moon and sun share the sky do they tell each other stories about everything they’ve seen? Does the sun wonder why the moon grows quiet when they’re far apart? Is the sun worried the mystical, shadowed moon finds the constant, bright glow of the sun boring? Does the sun long to feel the cool night air and to experience the excitement of the darkness the moon so often dwells in? Does the moon ever long for the sun?

I can wonder all this but the answers are a mystery to me. The romance between the sun and moon is undoubtedly a complicated relationship if it exists. Perhaps the romance began with the thrill of the chase. I imagine the sun is sad if she feels like she’s always chasing moonlight only to be forgotten in the darkness.

Kiddie Pools and Magic Brews

Jaycie scooping up water for her magic brew.

Jaycie scooping up water for her magic brew.

I am a worrier. I’ve become less of a worrier than I used to be but I still worry. As a single mother, homeowner and “Julie of Many Trades” I always have a lot on my plate. I imagine there are women in similar situations that handle it all effortlessly and without stress, but I’m not one of those women. I do my best with the time I have but don’t expect to find my house pristine, my hair perfectly styled and my clothes stylishly coordinated if you drop by unexpectedly…or expectedly for that matter.

Stress and worry rarely get me anywhere productive though so it finally gets to a point where I have to take a breath, let things go and force myself to relax. I did just that yesterday. This was my weekend with my daughters and my “plan” was to hang with them and be a mom. It was supposed to be quite hot and humid so I thought we’d stay inside the AC. I went out at one point with Jazz and realized it wasn’t too awful hot yet so I decided it was time to get the kiddie pool out for some fun in the water.

The kiddie pool is a bit too small for my girls to fit in comfortably anymore but they still enjoy playing in it by sitting or kneeling around the outside of it. They then fill their sand buckets with water and begin concocting “magic brews” as they call them. In the bucket of water go magical ingredients like clover, dandelions, birdseed, wildflowers, grass and a rock or two. My daughters then stir up these magic brews with their sand shovels until they have them just right.

Sometimes they take the brews over and water plants with them and other times they dump the water back in the kiddie pool. Considering the kiddie pool is in the shade of a tree that drops all sorts of leaves and seeds I have to dump it out anyway so a bit more stuff floating in the water isn’t a big deal. Yesterday Jazzmin was thirsty and drank out of the kiddie pool as Jordan and I cooled our feet in it. Jaycie had already dumped a brew back in the pool but luckily Jazz wasn’t transformed into a frog after quenching her thirst in the magical water.

Jazzmin drinking from the magical pool.

Jazzmin drinking from the magical pool as I soak my feet.

Sitting on the two-seater bench I’ve refurbished, with my feet soaking as I listened to my daughters compare notes on what to put in their magical brews was truly relaxing and wonderful for me and my worries evaporated in the warm afternoon. My daughters are already far too old for my liking and despite my demands that they stop growing, they continue to do so. I cherish every moment with them and I always will. The magic those two little girls create with clover flowers floating in buckets of water casts a strong and unbreakable spell upon my heart and forever lifts my spirits.

What Makes a Writer

writing spirals and character sketches

What makes a writer? What makes me a writer? Good question. My answer? There are all these amazing ideas that pop into my head at all hours of the day and night that demand to be written. It’s been happening since I was 12 years old. I’d just finished reading A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony and I felt inspired to create my own fantasy world. So I did just that. I created a magical world called Zindar which I later renamed to Aindar and for the next 15 years I wrote books that took place in that world.

When I say wrote books, I literally mean I hand wrote books. I started out writing cursive pencil in five subject college-ruled spiral notebooks. Eventually I graduated to pen and printing. Then I took a keyboarding class in 9th grade and my parents bought me a Hewlett-Packard word processor and I began typing away at last! The first book I ever typed out was Spark of Beginnings which is now Dawn of Allies. I’ve rewritten that book at least three times since its creation and I’m still not satisfied with it. My first and still my biggest fan is my best friend Crystal and she will get a signed, gold-embossed, personally engraved first editions of every book I ever publish.

As I continued to write in my Aindar books, my Hands of Magic series, my characters aged and had children and I realized I had a lot to keep track of. I needed to remember what they looked like, the magic they possessed, what age they would be in each book, where they came from, who they married, etc. I knew there was no way I could track that all in my head so I started using Excel to create spreadsheets. I would also trace Marvel comic books and transform those heroes into the characters in my book. Those were my favorite visual references to work on. I’ve also traced models in fashion catalogues and from pictures printed off the internet. It’s not exactly fancy or high-tech but it works for me. I can’t freehand draw recognizable things like humans and animals no matter how vivid they are in my mind.

I used to sketch my castle and building layouts on paper but then I discovered a 3D home design program that allowed me to build my locations in a wonderfully interactive way. I built everything from small homes to a sprawling castle to an entire city. I could literally walk through the 3D renderings of my locations and get a feel for my surroundings. I spent countless hours creating visual representations of my world and loved every minute of it!

Layout of one of my buildings

Layout of one of my buildings

3D view inside that building

3D view inside that building

I’m not just writing, I’m creating whole worlds with the words I type out. I’m sure every writer knows what it feels like to breathe life and emotions into their characters. I remember being asked as a teenager what my chosen career was and when I’d say “I’m a writer” I’d usually receive a rather pitying look. What a silly notion to believe that I could make a worthwhile living as a writer. I imagine all artists experience this whether they’re writers, painters, dancers, actors or musicians. Non-creative people looking at us as though we’re insane while they hope that we have some sort of “backup plan” that will actually make us money. It’s understandable I suppose, but not entirely fair. We’re all entitled to our dreams and we all have the right to pursue our bliss.

My oldest daughter Jordan has inherited my talent for writing and she’s far better at it at 10 years old than I was at 12. She’s currently reading A Spell for Chameleon. She’s a very talented artist, flute-player and all around smart, clever little girl. I will never discourage her from writing, drawing, making music, painting and whatever else creative she wants to do. My goal is to show her that yes, it’s possible to make it as an artist. While it takes hard work, it’s the best kind of work because it brings fulfillment to your soul, spirit and heart. Never stop creating!

P.S. – I added more to the Unbroken Flames excerpt on Corbin Creations. The ideas never stop coming…