From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism




An Introduction

Much pain comes from the inability to understand metaphor, so let us state up front that there is no magic door. There are also no magic keys, mirrors, picture frames, or postage stamps. We hope this does not upset you. Remember, there are magic doors everywhere. We see we are speaking too plainly. Let us begin again.

We welcome you to class. We are speaking, of course, as a collective to a collective, although you are experiencing this lesson as a singularity. That’s not our problem. If you are experiencing this lesson in French, please do not take our use of “vous” as a sign of respect. Whether you are hearing this lesson from one of those damn birds or reading it on the fifty-seventh page of some unprepossessing paperback, we accord you nothing but the respect you deserve. Also, forgive our wording. We find it awkward to speak as a collective. We think we come off as arrogant sometimes. It’s because in truth we have only human hearts, and we cannot speak slow as stones, bright as moving water. But who else is there to show you anything? Moving on.

If you are experiencing this lesson, class has already begun and you are already late. Sit down, wherever you are. If you are sitting down already, stand up and pace a little. If you are sitting down and driving, pull over, press your head against the wheel and breathe deeply. There are better explanations for everything, for the birds that leave the ground and cross like green stars against telephone wires, for the glass winking at you from the gravel, for the words on the sweat-wrinkled scrap of paper, and for these words, however they have come to you. As always, it is your choice to listen, there are no doors. You have not opened, or crossed onto, or fallen backwards into anything irrevocable, you have not traveled from anywhere to anywhere. There is no other where. You can go back any time.

Or you can stay in this moment, with these words, appearing in cursive gleams on the skin of the hotel pool, buzzing softly from the low end of the radio, coming in compulsive clatter from the tips of your own fingers onto the screen. You will join the class. You will walk the quiet roads, and see the distant lights. You will hear star-thoughts and speak honestly with mud. You will rarely be rich, or have fashionable clothes. You will ride the bus with people who do not seem sane, and you will not seem sane. You will go years without adequate health insurance, and you will not understand what anyone in the health insurance industry is talking about. You will read what the trees write bluely in the clouds.

This class is ongoing. You have already purchased the text. If you are having trouble opening it, we urge you to go to the theater, any theater, there are a lot more theaters around than people think. Sit in the theater and look where you are asked to look. Look at the thing, and look at the thing it represents. See the thing, and see the thing the thing represents. See them both at the same time. Then look for the thing that represents the thing that represents the thing. If you don’t understand, go back again. We cannot teach anyone unclear on this point. There is no magic door. You are already in the only place you are ever going to be. You may now turn to the first chapter.

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Reina Hardy

Reina Hardy is a playwright. Her plays, which usually contain magic and sometimes contain science, have been seen across the country, and in the UK and Australia. She’s a Michener Fellow, winner of the KCACTF TYA Prize, and the recipient of an Interact 20/20 Commission. She can make things happen with her mind. For more: