“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on down-town posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not”.
I was gripped by The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern from these first lines. I simply loved this book and had to balance the urge to keep reading with a reluctance to finish it. When I did come to the end, I felt slightly bereft and even read the acknowledgements just to delay the moment when I had to accept it was done. To be honest, I’ve never cared much for circuses but La Cirque des Reves (Circus of Dreams) is truly magical and a place I would love to visit. The story is fantastical but the story so well told that I was willing to suspend disbelief all the way through.
I’m amazed that this is Morgenstern’s first novel as the quality of the writing is so good. It is a very visual book, thanks to the vivid descriptions, and would make a great film. The book itself is also a thing of beauty. I read it as an e-book but now intend to buy the hardback so that next time I read it (and there definitely will be a next time) I can experience the thick black-edged pages, rather than the i-pad screen.
Last week, I experienced magic of a slightly different kind at an event with colleagues from the Academy of Chief Executive’s Directors’ Forum. Dan Rogerson (www.dantrix.co.uk) entertained us with magic tricks before and during dinner. The tricks involved playing cards, pens, coins and even someone’s wedding ring and were amazing. Even though Dan performed the magic standing right next to me, I just couldn’t see how it was done.
I achieved magic of a much-impressive kind with my chevron sweater. I was slightly concerned about tackling the short row shaping for the bottom hem but, once I started, it was very straight-forward with only the tiniest bit of fudging when the stitches didn’t quite add up when they should. I found knitting the cuffs a bit fiddly though and think I would have been better using double-pointed needles rather than a small circular. Still, I’m pleased with the results. It’s almost complete now – only the sewing-up to go. The sweater is knitted in the round so only the sleeve seams need to be sewn up but I’m still putting it off and hoping that, if I leave it long enough, it will magically sew itself together.
Nature has also revealed its magic today – daffodil shoots poking through the snow show that Spring is well and truly on the way. There are magic moments all the time – we just need to be ready for them. In the words of the great photographer Annie Leibovitz:
“When I’m asked about my work, I try to explain that there is no mystery involved. It is work. But things happen all the time that are unexpected, uncontrolled, unexplainable, even magical. The work prepares you for that moment. Suddenly the clouds roll in and the soft light you longed for appears”.