When I was studying theatre at Northwestern University, a man named Jay O’Callahan performed an evening of storytelling. I had never seen anything so wonderful in my life. I sat like a small child with my mouth open for almost two hours while he created the most remarkable worlds. Not a prop, not an instrument, not a costume, just him and the words. It was at that moment in my life that I thought I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a magic person.
I wanted to be the person spinning the threads and weaving them into a tapestry of unimaginable dream. I wanted to be the fascinating conduit through which images flow like water. I wanted to be completely alive and exceedingly glorious. I wanted to be so absent from my story that you could see the whole thing unfolding before your eyes, and so necessary that you would want me to tell it again and again.
That’s a tall order. That’s a big dream. In the last 14 years, I’ve realized that it isn’t about the teller being magical, it is about the teller creating magic. It’s about words and the way you use them. The harder I looked for magic, the more I found only words. I became an author of children’s books. I made recordings. I toured all over this country, in Asia and in Europe. For all of my fancy skills and years of training, it is still about the words. It’s the words that are important.
If there is any magic in anything I do, it is in words. They can build things, heal wounds and bring you to a place of great joy. They can also tear things apart, cut gaping holes in your heart and bring everything to a crashing ruin. My business is words. I trade in both the spoken and written word. It is my hope that the words I choose will be the healing words, the words of hope and promise.
I have stopped trying to be a magic person. I have started striving to be a person who makes magic.