Private magic happens in small ways, in small spaces. Storybook cottages and gingerbread houses and treehouses and dollhouses are tiny because that’s what makes them magical. Magic is not huge. Magic is tiny – one smile makes a person happier. One hug eases suffering. Magic is tiny.
Private magic creates a home in tiny ways. Unique objects all work together. I’ve never felt at home in a pristinely decorated hotel room, but as soon as I throw a sweater over the back of the chair, stack favorite books by the bedside, and put my toiletries in the bathroom, I feel at home.
Small things, done with great love. Great love infused into the things I surround myself with. Sheet music on the piano, taped together because I’ve played the songs so much. My favorite books, falling apart, dog-eared, stained with spaghetti sauce. My clarinet, the case smelling funny and the reeds chipped with age, those familiar scuff marks.
Sterility is not home. Things that are sterile, nothing but a black outline on white paper, interchangeable and soulless. They are as barren as dry earth. What makes something truly special is its full use, like with my books and clarinet and blanket – items I turn to again and again. This full use, using and living with the item day after day, infuses memories and breathes magic into the item. Private magic creates home. The items have a memory, because there is use and love in them.
Treasure hunting for private magic items in shops is fun. Seeking and seeking the next pretty thing to take home, to add to my fun collection. Will it be a porcelain skull head that flips open so I can use it for paperclips? Or perhaps a pink T-shirt with cows on it, destined to become one of my favorite pieces of clothing?
Old things and antiques already have use in them, and often I can sense their personal private magic as I gaze upon them. If my childhood home was decorated in a modern way, I’d feel that way about modern things, but my childhood home was decorated with antiques. It’s a pleasure to give old things more life and more private magic, and someday they’ll pass on to someone else.
I love the Victorian time period, but I’m continually defining it. I love the Victorian look as it looks now, with things pleasantly old-fashioned, charming, and infused with the private magic of an earlier time. I derive such pleasure from reading an old book with ancient notes on the inside flap or smiling at quaint faded handkerchiefs and squishy pillows. Things that are loved and used and may have been forgotten at some point, now rescued and bringing joy and the love of a private magic to life.
Private magic creates home. It is cozy, it is love, it is memory, it is comfort, it is belonging. Today I gently woke up, fixed my hot cup of coffee, took my laptop, and snuggled on the couch under my goose blanket, content as I could be.
Private magic comes from rituals like these. Carving out a space to write in the morning, enjoying a crunchy-soggy bowl of cereal at night, singing to musicals as I clean house, listening to Janie snore as I drift off to sleep, playing Josh Groban in the car. His songs are part of my private magic, now.
When I try to box in, sterilize, sanctify, or inhibit my authenticity, I destroy private magic. I do not make home, and the place I’m in becomes barren, unproductive. It is not healthy soil needed to germinate an abundant life. I need plenty of private magic, nutrients, sunlight, water, and the dark moist soil to fertilize and grow. I create private magic in my home when I allow myself to belong and flourish.
I'd rather have the everyday of private magic than the saved-up magic of the holidays any day of the year.
I turn towards the New Year. 2010 - Ten years since high school, ten years an adult in the world, creating my own private magic. I have done much this year and next year will be beautiful, too.
May private magic bless us all.