Putting a Little Birthday Magic into Your Life…Alice Hoffman
First, a big happy birthday to Alice Hoffman. Ms. Hoffman doesn’t know this (yet), but she helped me through two very difficult times, both having to do with divorce and starting over. I am forever grateful to have found her books right when I needed them. I wonder if that’s the sign of a great author: Giving you what you need through words, all without truly realizing the impact they might have on so many.
For those of you who read my blogs over the years, you may remember my “Practical Magic” series on our old site. I loved writing that and always wanted to find a way to repurpose the posts to have them be timely. For new readers, the short story is that I was in the middle of the longest breakup, ever, and one night, like magic, I found Practical Magic on TV and remembered that the thing that I’m always trying to explain is that far too often, we build a perfect person in order to never find them.
Isn’t that the worst part of love? Not wanting to get hurt again, or not believing you deserve more than you’ve gotten and letting doubt become the reason you can’t fall again.
I had forgotten about that. Then I remembered it again. And I owed it to Alice Hoffman’s words.
That night, just about 3 years ago, I set out to find a way to rebuild the magic I knew was inside of me and all of the women I know. I wrote for the women who had been divorced (sometimes, more than once, like me) and for the women who worked multiple jobs and never got to see their kids and for the women who couldn’t make relationships with their own mothers work and, ultimately, for the women who deserved so much more than life gave them.
That wasn’t the first time Alice Hoffman made me think. In 1998, I was just divorced from A’s dad and trying to think of what to do next. A came to me and said we had to watch Practical Magic on our clunky old VCR. I told her that was a good idea, but that we also had to read the book. We spent a cold weekend in our New York apartment, just the two of us, one eight, one twenty-eight, with a cat, bowls of popcorn and lots of hot chocolate, and we talked about what it feels like to have dreams. She and I are older, a little wiser, and still looking for ways, each day, to find a bit of magic.
If I were to sit down and really think about ways in which words have changed my life, I would list Ms. Hoffman’s work in the top five. When I wrote Wetsuit, I knew that I would have a way to take my original “Magic” posts and turn them into something new for new people to see how one person’s words can change another’s life.
Thank you, Ms. Hoffman, if you happen to wander by a house in New York this morning and smell an ocean-scented candle and the soft strain of Q1043.FM playing some Stevie Nicks, that will be me, a loyal fan who has now read all of your work, except for the Dovekeeprs, which is in my purse right now.
I hope this is truly a magical birthday for you. You’ve changed so many through your words and while we should be sending gifts your way, I want to thank you for sharing your gift with us.
And, thank you, to Heidi Garrett, for letting me join in today. What a fantastic idea, what a great way to celebrate and what a great new blog I have found in yours!