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Tony Grist

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Stumbling Into Magic [Nov. 30th, 2007|10:59 am]
Tony Grist

This is how it works: you put yourself in a receptive frame of mind, you walk into the stacks, you scan the shelves, you don't aim to choose a book; you wait for a book to choose you.

I've done this twice in less than a month and it's worked for me both times. First time I got Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, second time I got Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. These are not just books I've enjoyed reading, these are books I was meant to read.

I didn't set out to do magic on either occasion- I just sort of stumbled into it. If my mind was blank it was because I genuinely didn't have a clue what I was looking for. The world is intrinsically magical and wants to co-operate with us and give us gifts; all we have to do is be open.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-30 12:51 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it.

But, yes, it's the kind of book for which the lectern was invented.
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[User Picture]From: zoe_1418
2007-11-30 03:46 pm (UTC)

Stack magic

That's so nice! It's been so long since I've done the wander-in-the-stacks thing... so often these days I see a notice about a book and go to my computer, log in to the library search page, and request that the book be held for me... It would be nice to get some magic back.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-30 10:30 pm (UTC)

Re: Stack magic

I hadn't belonged to a public library for about ten years. Ailz talked me into signing up again. It's quite a treat to have all those thousands of books to browse.
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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2007-11-30 03:53 pm (UTC)
The world is intrinsically magical and wants to co-operate with us and give us gifts; all we have to do is be open.

So true!

(And even if it wasn't, it would still be a splendid way to think of things.)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-30 10:32 pm (UTC)
The more you think it the truer it becomes- that's my experience, anyway.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2007-11-30 04:04 pm (UTC)
I tried so hard to like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell but I just couldn't get through it.

A suggestion? The Historian.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-30 10:33 pm (UTC)
A book about Dracula- hmm. Sounds fun. I'll bear it in mind.
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From: amritarosa
2007-11-30 05:42 pm (UTC)
Absolutely!

And that's why I think the ceremonial should be approached first and foremost as art. It is artifice after all :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-12-01 02:46 pm (UTC)
I abandoned ceremonial a few years back. I loved ritual, I loved the sense of connection that comes when a ritual goes right, but I wanted to engage with the Whatever-it-is randomly, spontaneously, naked....
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From: amritarosa
2007-12-01 08:42 pm (UTC)
For a long time I thought that the two ought to be the same thing, and struggled to get to one through the other.

Now that I don't need the props so much and (also do prefer the direct embrace of the great whatever-it-is) ritual is a whole different thing for me.

I still remember the moment when it struck me..."ah...they're different things!" And both ever so much more mysterious and thrilling for it :)
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From: fickleasever
2007-12-01 11:53 am (UTC)
When I was in London and until I became more housebound and didn't go out shopping anymore, that was the way I always found books when I went up to town to bookshops. Something would 'call' me to it. And I would make brilliant discoveries!

These days I find books in a similar way, online usually but still through serendipity and 'magic'.

:)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-12-01 02:49 pm (UTC)
The books I've needed to read have always found their way to me one way or another.

I'm glad it's not just me- that you and others have had the same experience.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2007-12-01 02:21 pm (UTC)
I didn't set out to do magic on either occasion- I just sort of stumbled into it. If my mind was blank it was because I genuinely didn't have a clue what I was looking for. The world is intrinsically magical and wants to co-operate with us and give us gifts; all we have to do is be open.
Well done and well said.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-12-01 02:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
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