One of my violin students is a magic child. She always wears magic clothes. Last lesson it was a retro kimono over athleisurewear. Sometimes it is a glittering unicorn t-shirt. Other times, lots of sequins. It’s not just her wardrobe, either. Sometimes she “is” an animal. Other times, she expresses astonishment over my (very rudimentary) piano playing, as if it were miraculous. Always, she gives the impression of living in her own world, a world where anything could happen, at any time. She also has a magical name: Isabella.
She is eight years old–a magical age. When I was eight, I remember visiting some friends of my mother’s in Rome. They were a couple–grown-ups, but young grown-ups. I called the man, whose name was George, “the Wizard” (not sure why–I had read some of The Hobbit by then), and I had a great time with him. He gave me a copy of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which I loved because my third-grade teacher, whom I had left behind at my regular school, had worked on a reservation and woke us all up to the sufferings of Native peoples. It was magic to be in Rome with cool adults, to be allowed to swing George’s hand and carry his umbrella, and to talk about books with him. I know eight is a magical age.
So of course I had to write about Isabella. I juxtaposed her magic with Ukraine’s surprising and seemingly miraculous defense against the Russian invasion, and the editors of The Pine Cone Review accepted my flash creative nonfiction for Issue 4. I look forward to seeing it there and to familiarizing myself with the publication. It is interesting because it is rooted in “brown” identity–the staff are from various formerly colonized nations–but open to a mix of perspectives, as long as they are creative voices. I feel this is a hopeful and positive approach in our divided world. It seems like the sort of magic we need.