The magical thing I know doesn't exist

I'm one of the least superstitious people I know - if, in fact, I can be said to know myself. I have little regard for anything requiring faith in forces that are independent of demonstrable fact - religion, mysticism, the supernatural*. But there's one form of magic that is an ever-present force in my life: the sweet and uncontrollable wellspring from which ideas and words flow. No matter how much I may believe these are mere biochemical products of my consciousness (whatever that is), my subjective experience is that the act of writing is a magical one. 

I seldom write about the act of writing. I know it's boring for anyone but the author. Hearing someone prattle about their process is like listening to the recap of particularly disjointed dream. The story about the story is a pale, vanishing ghost of the original. Either the words are there, or they're not; either they say what had to be said, or they fail. Don't tell me about the words. Give them to me and let me read them. 

When I say writing is magical, I include the full range of implications: it is in turn powerful and terrifyingly fragile, with a dangerous capacity to transform me and the world as I perceive it. It emerges from a place I cannot go, and vanishes again with no warning, as if possessed of its own mind and spirit, It brings visions I never asked for, which seem utterly independent of me, like words spoken by a being I worship. 

I make no pretensions that my actual prose is that good, but when it flows freely - when some inexplicable combination of animal sacrifice and prayer compels it to open the floodgates - it feels as if I've tapped into something wholly beyond myself. 

(How funny, then, to reread something written in a haze of magical flow, and find it's total trash. The gods are cruel.)

There's this thing I've been working on, and it's flowing so wonderfully that I'm becoming paranoid about fucking up the machinery, killing the goose laying the golden egg… whatever analogy you use to connote disrupting the stream of energy passing through me into the land of the living. I have to sustain it as long as I can, before the insistent muttering from beyond the curtains falls silent, and I'm alone again with my thoughts, a mortal man, no longer even a conduit for the perverse thoughts of the lesser gods passing invisibly through our civilization. 

 

* This is not to say I haven't had experiences I would describe as mystical, only that I perceive the subjective experience to be independent of my actual belief in mysticism. Is that a contradiction? I don't sense it as one.