By Linda Lovely
What’s magic if it’s not letting your imagination run free?
I tend to find hidden magic in two locations—the kitchen and the shower.
First, the kitchen. I choose to view cooking as a form of conjuring. How else would you describe the process of mixing flour, raw eggs, sugar, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of vanilla, some baking soda, nuts and chocolate chips, subjecting it to high heat, and poof! you have melt-in-your-mouth white chocolate chip cookies? Now if that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. Plus I have an almost supernatural power to make the cookies disappear. All it takes is a little incantation: “Tom, the cookies are out of the oven.”
Okay, I eat my share, too.
While I’m kidding, I do feel there’s a certain magic in cooking. My relatives know I haven’t met many recipes that I don’t feel just might be better if I tinker while I’m doing the “bubble, bubble, boil and…” routine. Those white chocolate chip cookies I mentioned. Though I started with a recipe I was given, I’ve since added an extra egg, substituted nuts, changed the white/brown sugar ratio, and changed the cooking temperature and time. Most of the time I’m happy with the changes. If not, what magician doesn’t have the occasional mishap? I can concoct new magic next time.
So what’s with the shower? I have no explanation for why my shower (though it’s a great one) has magical properties. But that is where I solve 80 percent of my plot problems. Often I’ve gone to bed perplexed about how to get my heroine into or out of a jam. Then, while standing in the shower the next morning, solutions seem as plentiful as the hot water. Problems go down the drain.
The shower is also where characters tend to speak to me. On a given day, my heroine might whisper that she’d really like to plan a nice surprise for the villain on a mountain trail or arrange trouble at a golf course. No, I don’t actually hear voices. But the messages get through. And that’s magic, too. Characters become real, have weight and dimension. This makes writing magical.
I can’t imagine ever getting tired of cooking or writing. I sure hope you find magic in both, too.