Give me three minutes with another human being and I can tell you if that person and I agree on the care of canines in our company, or if we do not. It usually takes a whole lot less time than that because I’m on the extreme spectrum when it comes to taking care of dogs. I think they ought to be part of the family, sleep on the bed, be allowed to come in when they want to come in, and have medical care and vaccinations. I will not, under any circumstances, become friends with people who will not or does not take care of their dogs, cats, horses, or children. How seriously a person takes their obligations to those who depend on them matters to me.
We could, you and I, and anyone else who might read this, develop a list of actions or behaviors that we all could agree ought to be delivered when it comes to taking care of children, or dogs, or for that matter, house plants, and we would all know exactly what we meant. Yet this could not be a universal credo until it was translated into other languages and reviewed by other cultures, and there the real problems would begin. Not everyone loves dogs, some people hate cats, some people eat horses, and there are still places children are sold into slavery or worse. Ethical behavior as we understand it to be is an economic luxury in some places, not a philosophical bent.
The ethical discussion aside for now, we can agree the words that are forming in my mind, reappearing on the computer screen, being read by you and translated by your mind, have a very certain meaning, regardless of where you are or your culture. My statement “Dogs should be allowed to sleep on the bed” means exactly that and even if the idea of a dog on your bed is alien in your culture or mind, we both still know what the sentence means. Even the non English speaking, non American speaking, and non Southern speaking people can understand me if they’ve learned enough about the language to decipher the words, and if I’m a good enough writer to communicate what I am trying to say here.
The words I use, the manner in which I use them, the style of writing, my usage and grammar, all come together here and reappear over there where you are, inside of your mind, and somehow this form of magic has been developed so we can discuss dogs on beds, demons, bad drivers, angry women, sex, alcohol, or for that matter, any other subject we desire. You and I may have never met before, we may have never even so much as read anything from one another before, but at this first meeting, even total strangers can understand what I am trying to say merely because of the agreement we all have in the meaning of letters stacked together that form words which form sentences which form paragraphs which form ideas. It is magic. It is an incredible form of magic. The fact that this is reaching people in foreign lands who may be naked and drunk in front of their computers while reading this, laughing because somehow I guess someone drunk and naked would read this, is an astonishing fact of our lives. Thousands of miles away, nay, tens of thousands of miles away, your mind and my mind are now connecting because I am sharing thoughts that you can understand, even if we never meet. Astonishing? Man, this is magic!
Dogs have made this trip with us, to this level of magic, and they are a part of why I write the way I do. Yet all three of mine are castaways. Sam was nearly killed by neglect and abuse. Clearly, even those who understand the language do not have necessarily have the same philosophy as I. Even those within the same area, or those inside the same family, for I am certain my father would not allow Lucas to lie on the sofa with him. The magic allows for people to be able to communicate ideas but that does not mean they will agree with one another. That is a form of magic that has yet to be formed. Yet we have taken a first step when we can fling ideas from one place on earth to another. We have taken a first step when we can buy someone on the other side of the earth a birthday present. We have taken a first step when we can encourage a young person we might never meet to be creative, and embrace that part of life. If you have not done this then you have not used the magic to the extent of enjoyment I have. You have not felt it as I have, and perhaps you should think about these things.
I owe you thanks for this magic. You have given it to me. You have allowed me its use for my pleasure and a benison for my sanity, as it exists today. You may not realize it, and you may think that the way I write is a function entirely of who I am, but this is not true. Given isolation and no one to write for, I would still write, but there are those out there in the Universe whose minds have pushed my own to another limit, and there are those who have honed my skills. Given use of this skill, given those who would hear me, and given the idea that it matters the magic’s existence be paid forward, I would encourage others. Those who have encouraged me have given me more than I can repay to them, so I must take into consideration those not yet developed fully.
You cannot explain to me fully how all of this works, and that does not make it magic, but the fact that it does exist, and we can discuss and debate if it is magic or if there is another word to be used, is at least…magical.