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Magic Writers' Marbles


Bob Hyman

I often wander the aisles of the local hobby store to check out the products priced for clearance. Generally these are the leftover one-of-a-kind items, opened packages, and things that have broken or missing parts. Most of the time, all I find is junk that no one would want. However, I have found some great bargains, and occasionally, even some truly wondrous surprises.

Recently, I came across a bag of clear glass marbles. A jagged tear in the bottom of the bag was taped shut, and I could tell that at least half of the original marbles were missing. Of the ones remaining, many were chipped or cracked. But after a closer look, I could see that a few were still in pristine condition. Now, I really didn't know what I could do with a few glass marbles, but they were definitely a good deal when marked down by seventy-five percent. I bought them, figuring I would find a use for them later.

After I returned home, I emptied the bag onto the table so I could separate the good marbles from the damaged ones. A folded slip of paper fell out of the bag. At first I thought it was just a packing slip from the manufacturer. I started to throw it out with the empty bag. As I began to crumple the paper in my hand, I noticed the words "Magic Writers' Marbles" at the top.

Intrigued, I opened it to read these words:

Congratulations. You are now in possession of the finest Magic Writers' Marbles in existence. Here are the instructions for their use and care:

First, take a look at your marbles. You'll notice that each is a sphere. A sphere is a very resilient form; it can take pressure from all sides. Just as in writing, you may have to take pressure from many sides at the same time.

You will notice that your marbles are transparent, but not invisible. Your life and your motives may be transparent to many readers, but your words are never invisible. Your audience will see your every word. Bear this in mind as you perform your tasks in setting your words to paper.

If you look through a marble, it's like a lens. Looking through it, you may notice that things look topsy-turvy. Just like sometimes critics may think your style of writing is upside down. Simply remove the lens and everything is as it should be. If you are honest, and have the readers' best interests in mind, don't worry about what critics may think.

Your marbles are very hard; it takes quite a bit of force to make them break. Just as many times your days as a writer may be very hard. Yet remember that your marbles can be broken - even by a simple accident - just as a sharp word, written in anger or frustration, can break the heart of a young reader.

Finally, use your marbles wisely, just as you choose your words wisely. You will notice that a little of the marbles' magic disappears with every word you write. Yet with proper care, they will last you a lifetime. Keep your marbles in a safe place, close to your heart.

Every time you use a marble, think of this place and this time, and of the fellowship you now share with your fellow writers. Many of them have already received their own marbles; but some of them have not.

Keep that in mind and ... share the magic.

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