Magic Anyway

Magic-ing is tough. It requires so much of us. Faith in ourselves – that we have something worth magic-ing into existence, as well as hope that there will be magic enough for someone somewhere at some time to find and connect through it.

And at the same time, it’s impossible not to “magic.” That would deny our true nature as creators, as artists of our own lives.

Last week marked the anniversary of Lucille Clifton’s passing from this world. I was so lucky to hear her daughter Sidney speak about things she’d learned from her mom. I needed to hear that message — “Magic anyway.” There are so many pressures in everyday life telling us the opposite. Not to mention internal doubts. 

Sidney shared the story of her purchase of her childhood home in Baltimore. It did sound like magic — a perfect alignment of coincidences — the universe magically weaving her and her home back together. Personally, I would have understood if the family wished to keep for themselves the place where their mother worked her magic at her typewriter. 

But no; they decided to share even more of Lucille’s magic by opening their family home — Clifton House — to artists for workshops and residencies. What a gift! I cannot wait until I have the chance to visit and be in that space where Lucille lived and created, where she wrote about, but transcended, everyday experiences, where she poem-ed and magic-ed into millions of readers’ minds and hearts. Even though it was not easy. Even though she faced people and pressures who were against her. She continued to magic anyway. And we are all the richer for it.  

Here is one part of Sidney’s remembrance: 

What I learned was this:

We are responsible for freeing our voices
Our voices resound when we do the work
The work is done in silence
Silence births our visions and voices
Voices and visions are magic
Magic is an adjective and a verb
Magic is hard work
Not everyone will understand
Not everyone will be happy
Magic anyway

Sidney Clifton

To read her complete piece and learn more about Clifton House:

Thanks for reading. And Magic Anyway.


Published by Virginia Crawford

Virginia Crawford is a long-time teaching artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. She has co-edited two anthologies: Poetry Baltimore, poems about a city and Voices Fly, An Anthology of Exercises and Poems from the Maryland State Arts Council Artist-in-Residence Program from CityLit Press. She earned degrees in Creative Writing from Emerson College, Boston, and The University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Her book Touch appeared in 2013 from Finishing Line Press. She writes and lives in Baltimore with her family.

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