This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post other than the fact that I think candy in a display window is a bit magical.
You probably think that I'm about to make my pitch to teach at Hogwarts, right? Let's hope you didn't jump to those fantastical conclusions because I'll feel like I'm about to be a disappointment right out of the gate. Instead, I want to share a peek behind the curtain at some research I'm doing.
Do you remember that whole book thing I mentioned last week? In my mind, I want to be Toni Morrison. Go ahead...you can laugh. I did. I know I'm being ridiculous, but a girl has to strive for something, right? Anyway (I bet Toni doesn't even use words like anyway), I've spent the past year thinking about the direction my story is headed and how to deal with this fantastical element that I've introduced. The book I've conceived in my head isn't science fiction, but with this thing that I've introduced, I haven't given myself many options. Inadvertently, I realized I'd latched onto to this idea that the work I am creating is magical realism.
Now, if you're like me, you're asking yourself why you have to call it anything at this point. Just write the damn story. I hear you. However, having a realistic grasp of what I want my story to be has a direct bearing on how I resolve or deal with these fantastical elements. Unfortunately, about the time I started really thinking about magical realism, I came to the sinking conclusion that I probably didn't have the best grasp on what that was. I'm sure you're just as shocked as I am that a college education focused on political science and biology didn't provide me with the requisite knowledge.
Instead of rushing out to pick up another degree (though tempting), I turned my attention to the Internet to see what information I could ferret from academics studying and teaching magical realism. While I won't have a professor feeding me information and engaging me in critique and debate, I love that I can teach myself and cobble together education.
So what did I find? Consistency. Most of the university syllabi I perused taught many of the same books, stories, and texts. In case you're interested in geeking out with me, I've included links to some of these texts below, as well as links to a couple of the courses.
- A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- The Enormous Radio by John Cheever
- The Continuity of Parks by Julio Cortazar
- The Night Face-Up by Julio Cortazar
- English 6333 - Magical Realism at University of Texas at Arlington
- The Question of the Other: Cultural Critiques of Magical Realism by Wendy B. Faris
- WAGS 23: Disruptive Geographies: Magical Realism and the World at Amherst College