Monday, October 24, 2011

The Magic of Discovery

Last night, I dusted off my telescope and took it out to the front porch. My wife and children joined me and, together, we enjoyed magnificent views of Jupiter and a handful of its moons. Jupiter is my favorite planet to explore, because it’s bright and colorful—the bands of clouds look amazing.  I also enjoy exploring Jupiter because it offers something different every time.

When I experience something for the first time, it feels magical. Whether my expectations are exceeded or failed, the discovery of what I previously didn’t know holds a special place in my memory. It’s that magic that keeps me exploring, keeps me trying new things. There’s nothing like it, and this is the only way I know how to describe it.

I remember the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower. The van driver providing the tour had driven specifically so that no one had a view of the tower until the exact moment he wanted. As we passed a row of trees on our left, there it stood—GIANT and right in front of us! We had arrived at its base and I had to crane my neck just to see it all. I lived in France for two years and saw the tower hundreds of times after that. None of those times matched the feelings of the moment I described.

I have this same experience when I see a great movie for the first time, or eat at a spectacular restaurant. Yes, I also feel the magic when I read a good book. As I progress through the story, I sink my face into the pages, digging for each word, unwilling to miss a meaning. I imagine the characters in my mind and can watch them, hear them. I gladly give up sleep just so I can get to the end. Then I gasp in surprise at the finale I wasn’t expecting.

While on this writing journey, I'm trying to keep the magic of discovery in mind and understand that I'm writing for the audience. Yes, it's my story and my characters play their parts, but I have an obligation to give you that magical moment when you read. It's not easy, and I have wonderful people around me to keep me on track. As I write, I want you to know that I'm doing everything possible to keep you turning the pages.


  1. I love this post. When someone hasn't read a book that I think is wonderful, I feel something very close to jealousy at what they've got to come.

  2. What a touching post. It is really important to remember to write what we love. But to have the additional reminder to keep the audience in our thoughts as we go through the writing process, well, that can be necessary as well.

    Thanks so much.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, ladies. I agree with you both 100%.

  4. Great post. I agree, sometimes the first taste, the first glimpse, the impossibility of a new thing falling away before our eyes... it can be such a magical, and matchless, experience.


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