by Louise Nayer
During the pandemic it can be hard to focus on magical moments in your life. Often, however, those moments come when things are hard. For a moment, you turn a switch in your brain and see things differently.
My father, who was badly burned, came to pick my sister and me up on the farm where we lived while both our parents recovered from severe burns. We had been separated for nine months. He was a semi-stranger, his voice flat, his face and hands scarred. He held our hands too hard as we got off the train and walked through Grand Central Station, the cacophonous sounds hurting my five year-old ears. Suddenly, he turned to my sister and me and said, “There’s Pegasus! A Flying horse!” There on the domed ceiling I saw it with my five-year-old eyes: a horse that flew.
That moment is indelibly etched into my memory. Through all the pain, he noticed magic, and I absorbed that joy.
In a longer version of that piece, I can add sensory detail: the smells wafting from restaurants, and describe the cacophonous sounds that hurt my ears. I can write what it felt like when grabbed my hand too hard. I can describe my father more specifically and of course the color of the ceiling and the magical horse. From a smaller piece, you can expand and create a rich and textured landscape.
What are some moments of magic that transformed your life, if even for a moment?
Examples from daily life
A parent singing a lullabye at night.
A first kiss.
The solace of a pet.
An award you received, or a performance where you shone.
A time when your life or the life of a loved one was saved, as if by a miracle.
Finding your wallet after it was missing for days.
Meeting an old lover on a street corner.
A piece of birthday cake.
Nature is filled with miracles and it is now spring.
Apple blossoms burst from trees.
Fuschia’s and lavender and their glorious colors.
Birds singing more as street sounds diminish.
Memories from childhood times in the country.
Pick something from your life or from nature and write a few lines.
Close your eyes for a moment before you write and hear, taste, touch, smell and see the moment.
You can do a “freewrite” to begin with, five minutes of writing without stopping. See what magic appears!
When you have a number of small pieces, you can see how they tie together into a bigger story of the present and the past. A tree filled with apple blossoms can bring you back to a vacation with your family when you were a small child.
Show how that moment changed how you were feeling, or even transformed your life.
These small memories or moments of joy and beauty can lead to a bigger story and are reminders of how even in the darkest nights, a shooting star appears, little bursts of light.
Louise Nayer is the author of five books including Burned: A Memoir, an Oprah Great Read. She is also a member of the Writer’s Grotto. www.louisenayer.com