There is the first stirring awareness of a new realm inside you, a forming perspective – you dip in a toe – you dive in – and suddenly all sense of place evaporates. Like being deep under murky water – without a line between you and the boat on the surface there is no way to tell which way is up or which side is which – no orientation at all. All differentiating features are gone – no light, no contours. Your senses implore into the vastness for any clues but find nothing.

Your body is wandering around in the topside world like all is normal, but inside it’s like that – you have no orientation. You can’t even explain to the people around you this nothing that you can’t orient yourself in. No words seem to hold together long enough to get all the way to them that you have no sense of yourself in relation to anyone else or any other part of yourself, let alone your surroundings – let alone describe what this new awareness is of – not even to ask for help. Fish, describe water.

But then, in a moment resigned to being lost like all the other moments in this place, something changes. You read something, maybe or overhear a snippet of conversation or someone puts together familiar words in a different way. From somewhere a phrase lands on you like a line sent down to you from the surface. You grasp that line and suddenly those words have given shape to the strange landscape your drowning in. You take in a desperate gulp of air like someone being thrust to the surface at the very thinnest edge of hope.

Your eyes lift to a horizon and a sense of place settles into you – a feeling that means ‘I know where I am’.

It doesn’t matter that the horizon is months worth of distance from you – you know where it is. You can choose which way to face, you can decide which direction to move in, you can start the exploration that will give you more and more information – filling in the details.

Word magic is everywhere – collect it like stones from a riverbed – the smoothest, prettiest, heaviest, thinnest – whatever feels right in your hand. When it bubbles up from the lyrical genius in your own mind praise it heartily. Leave trails of it behind you whenever you wander into an unknown forest so that once you’ve hunted your treasure, you can find your way back out again to the world where you’re of use. Don’t wait until you’ve already lost your sense of place to start planting markers – by then you’re so lost it feels like all you can do is hope someone will find you there and fish you out. Every day you can collect words to build the mystery and magic of your story, fleshing out the details of a landscape only you will ever see so only you can really look at it and ever describe.

Your telling of what you’ve built and what you see will be word magic for someone else just discovering that some mystical and strange places exist in them – your telling will be the line that sinks down to them to give them back to themselves again.

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