Last spring I saw a butterfly. It was tiny, about half the size of my thumb, and I only saw it for a moment, but it flashed its wings at me and disappeared into the flowers. It’s not even the colors. I didn’t see the pattern.
Sometimes I’ll read something that makes that kind of impression–a flicker of wings that sticks with me long after I close the book. I can laugh for days on the sheer inebriation of it. Inebriation. I can’t think of another word that fits. It makes me hyper, excited, laughing, so full of energy that I sometimes have a hard time sleeping. Once I went through a full day at work without realizing I hadn’t eaten. I wasn’t even hungry.
Sometimes it’s only the first read that does it, but sometimes it sticks with me. Never movies, for some reason. Always books. A few of the books that have been like that for me are The Thread that Binds the Bones, The Hourglass Door, and Uncertain Voyage. The interesting thing is that sometimes it changes. I’ll read something, then come back to it six months or six years later and I don’t find that magic any longer.
I don’t know if I’ve ever written anything that does that for other people, but I’ll get a hint of wings at the edges of my sight that makes me wonder. I caught a hint of it when I wrote Undersea, a hint in Demontaint. Maybe I’m just too close to my own stories, I can’t see the inside of my head. I just hope that someday one of my readers finds that same magic in something I wrote.