Penetrating the Barriers of Magic to Discover Realism

Dear Reader:

One of my favorite aspects of reading is coming across passages that stop me in my tracks and force me to reread them again… more slowly the second time around… while my mind plays games with it.

For example: Here is a passage from one of my favorite author’s ( Sarah Addison Allen) latest book-Other Birds.

” How odd that pretending to be someone else has made me happier than I was when I was just being myself. It’s almost as if, once I got over the guilt of living my future more than I lived my past, my old life dropped away and became make-believe, and my present life became my second birth.”

I was blown away by that passage… because I have lived it… As I grew up and had accumulated enough years to reflect back upon my childhood I understood just how tragically sad it was and how leaving it behind in exchange for new experiences that offered acceptance and happiness ( Erskine College and the Ya Ya’s) … was giving me a second chance in life. ” And second chances are not to be wasted!”

I first read Sarah Addison Allen’s debut novel Garden Spells in 2007 and fell in love with her style of writing-what she calls ” Southern-fried magic realism” -this novel was followed up by First Frost… a continuum story about a magical apple tree…that guides the Waverly family out of darkness into the light.

Since then I have read other novels she has written with the same blend of magic realism. Then it suddenly stopped. Within a short period of time Allen lost her beloved mother and sister… it has taken her years of soul-searching to write this latest novel.

It is obvious that her personal tragedies have affected her writing style in the sense that her characters are a little deeper and darker but she portrays all her characters-living ( and not) as deserving of love… as the layers of their own life tragedies are revealed. Everyone needs love.

So until tomorrow… We all can write a new ending to our own story. We all deserve love.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

I love this tin-type old-antique photo style of Eloise
I am over the moon with this moon flower bloom!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Penetrating the Barriers of Magic to Discover Realism

  1. Sis Kinney says:

    Good morning, Becky,
    I, too, love Sarah Addison Allen; my daughter lent me two of her books: The Sugar Queen, and Garden Spells. Loved them both!
    As I continue to recuperate (from pneumonia!) I find I’m reading more and more. I still haven’t gotten to your books by Louise Penny; one of these days!
    I continue to be amazed by your beautiful flowers that you show us!
    Have a blessed day!


  2. Rachel Edwards says:


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