My book, Magnus the Magnificent is a work of fiction.
It is also a work of magic.
I don’t know how this story fell out of my head and landed on the page, but it did.
About seven or eight years ago, I joined a writing group and we were tasked with writing a short story to share. There was no theme, or limitations, or genre: “Just write a story.”
As I sat at my kitchen table, tapping my pen on the pad, staring out my window at the treetops, I was daunted by the freedom. I didn’t want to show up the following Saturday without something to present (I’m a keener), so I sat and waited for inspiration to strike.
Full disclosure: Sometimes inspiration strikes, and sometimes I spend two hours shopping on Amazon.
I sipped my coffee (there’s always coffee) and let my mind wander. And then, suddenly, my imagination opened up, and there he was… Magnus.
I could picture him in my head – the way he walked, the way he talked, the way he interacted with strangers, and the way his hair flopped down over his eyes. Yes, Magnus was a “teller of untruths,” but he was so full of love, you couldn’t help but love him too.
That Saturday I shared the first five pages of Magnus the Magnificent.
The following year I moved to England and took a screenwriting certificate program at Oxford. It was there I began work on the screenplay of Magnus the Magnificent.
I felt very inspired while living in England. I loved donning a pair of wellington boots and taking a long stroll through the countryside, rain or shine. I loved stopping in a pub to have a pint and warm my (always damp!) feet by the fire. I loved scouring the used bookshops in Oxford and discovering hand-written messages on the first page. Most of all, I loved eavesdropping, and occasionally striking up conversations with strangers. These little moments gave life to my writing, and helped shape the story of Magnus.
In England, ideas seemed to find me wherever I went… I had to keep a notebook with me at all times because the ideas were flowing like Texas crude (in the 80s, obviously not now, as we all know that the fossil fuel industry is going the way of the dinosaur, due to global capitalism’s devastating overconsumption of our earth’s natural resources).
I don’t understand inspiration, but I think Elizabeth Gilbert nailed it on the head in her book about creativity, titled, “Big Magic”:
“…Inspiration is still sitting there right beside me, and it is trying. Inspiration is trying to send me messages in every form it can – through dreams, through portents, through clues, through coincidences, through déjà vu, through kismet, through surprising waves of attraction and reaction, through the chills that run up my arms, through the hair that stands up on the back of my neck, through the pleasure of something new and surprising, through stubborn ideas that keep me awake all night long . . . whatever works. Inspiration is always trying to work with me.”
Magnus *almost* seemed to write itself (in truth, it was definitely me sitting at a desk for hours on end).
When I finished Magnus in 2013, I entered it into the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Competition, and it advanced to become a Semifinalist (ahem, the top 146 scripts of 7,251 entries *cough*). It meant a lot that the Academy’s readers connected with the story. While I have a real fondness for the screenplay, I have always wanted to share Magnus with a wider audience.
So, I went back to those first five pages written seven or eight years ago, and once again, sat down and waited for inspiration to strike (and obviously spent some time on Amazon).
And here we are.
I don’t fully understand inspiration or how Magnus came to be, but I am grateful to live in a world filled with big magic.
Please buy it!