Late night/early morning post. At the moment the only sounds I can hear are the steady tick of the wall clock, the hum of the computer fan, and the occasional schussch of a lone car passing on the state highway below. The rich, sweet scent of a bag of French prune plums -- a gift from our very generous downstairs neighbor -- permeates the air.
For my part, I believe that human creative expression in all its forms is a kind of alchemical process. Like alchemy, it doesn't always work; even when it does work, it doesn't always work perfectly. But sometimes, when the stars are in alignment and everything is just so, something happens that can only be called magical -- the moment when a singer hits a particular searing, soaring note and you feel it vibrating sympathetically inside you; when an actor's performance so moves you that you forget you're watching a play or a movie, spellbound by the experience; when a painting is so luminous, so expressive, that you view the frame as a kind of archway to another world; and (my particular favorite) the author's magic: when words on paper or on a screen can make you feel exactly what someone else, perhaps even someone long dead, has felt; when people and things that have never existed come to life in your mind with so much clarity that you remember them better than some of your own memories. What other adjective describes with precision the effects of such acts of creation, if not "magical?"