On Sorcery

The Daily Writer by Fred White

Art, because it arises from human longings, enhances everyday reality as it draws from it. Art is the mirror held up to nature, as Shakespeare famously tells us in As You Like It. Yes, art reflects reality, in other words, but reflections are enhancements. A mirror image is like a photograph: it is “faithful” to reality in one sense, but utterly unlike it in another sense. This transformation from intrinsic reality to “captured” reality, we could argue, is a kind of sorcery.

Another way to think about sorcery in the context of art is in the way art helps us find magic and beauty in the real world. Once we read a moving novel about the power of love, we seek out such power in our own relationships—or we find ways to enhance our own romantic relationships.

Art enchants and bewitches us; it represents the animation of imaginative thought, our quintessentially human ability to take the raw stuff of nature and magically transform it into story. Art can also add a dash of sorcery to our everyday lives, a case of reality imitating fiction. What greater sorcery can there be than this?

1.    Write a poem about the sorcery you detect in the everyday world.
2.    Outline a story in which your main character, dissatisfied with the way his love life is progressing, decides to add some sorcery to it. What kind of sorcery does he resort to? Does it work or does it backfire? What are the consequences?

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