Grown-Up Magic

‘”You can’t argue with something that’s written down,” she said, stroking the red locks of hair on the cover. “If the heart of my fate is a book, there’s nothing for it. Once it’s written, it’s done. All those ancient books always say ‘so it is written’ and that means it’s finished and tidied and you can’t say a thing against it.”

Oh, but September, it isn’t so. I ought to know, better than anyone. I have been objective and even-tempered until now, but I cannot let that stand, I simply cannot. Listen, my girl. Just this once I will whisper from far off, like a sigh, like a wind, like a little breeze. So it is written–but so, too, it is crossed out. You can write over it again. You can make notes in the margins. You can cut out a whole page. You can, and you must, edit and rewrite and reshape and pull out the wrong parts like bones and find just the thing and you can forever, forever, write more and more and more, thicker and longer and clearer. Living is a paragraph, constantly rewritten. It is Grown-Up Magic. Children are heartless; their parents hold them still, squirming and shouting, until a heart can get going in their little lawless wilderness. Teenagers crash their hearts into every hard and thrilling thing to see what will give and what will hold. And Grown-Ups, when they are very good, when they are very lucky, and very brave, and their wishes are sharp as scissors, when they are in the fullness of their strength, use their hearts to start their story over again.’

-from The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente

Right now I am tired and weak and not feeling very lucky, but this is one of the many reasons I read fiction. Someday my wishes will be sharp as scissors again, and I will cut and rewrite and edit to my heart’s own choosing.

And don’t worry, I didn’t give anything away. Did September hear the narrator? Well, you will just have to read Valente’s Faiyland books to find out.

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