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Lollipop leaves from sunshine trees

Magic is a face on bark. A tree that frowns on your way to work. You stop, stare and wonder, mindful of the world in which you live. Subtle nuances become your toolbox, heightened senses, your writing palette; the landscape, your writer’s voice.

Mindfulness has taught me the joy that is found in stillness, to savour, witness and appreciate the wonder of the world in which we live. 

Six years have whizzed by, my muse whispering: ‘Awaken.’

But, it takes time to awaken your writing darlings. 

I hear my muse teasing me in quiet moments as I hone my writing craft, reading, rewriting, learning, developing. Writing is perhaps the hardest challenge I have ever faced and the most beloved. But I am stubborn. 

One morning I wake as a poet. It makes me smile. Mindfulness and meditation lead to an idea for a new collection: Mr. Sagittarius, a magical celebration of the natural world, a circle of life story emphasising the changing seasons.

Characters are my joy, my everything. I develop my protagonists by observing real people. I see potential characters while out for walks, in cafés, gardens, galleries. No location is off limits, not even the public toilet. I eavesdrop, unashamedly. 

Who is Mr. Sagittarius? Perhaps he exists as two people. Identical gents who I observe on my way to work. I stop in my tracks, my writer’s eyes devouring them. They sit in a café, woolly hats perched precariously on their heads, glasses on the tips of their noses, dressed in identical, black woollen coats. 

So alike, yet so different. 

‘Don’t let them escape,’ my muse screams. ‘Do something radical.’

So, my mind divides the identical twins in two and creates an enigma, the myth of Mr. Sagittarius. Who is he? Are they inseparable twins or the same person? Could Mr. Sagittarius represent the afterlife, wisdom, magic, love and joy? I reunite them in spirit. It doesn’t matter whether I call one William or the other Harold. They are one.

It is time to write. I need a location. I haven’t given it much thought. I must find a magical place that epitomises the tranquility of nature and creation. The twins approve of my choice: The botanical gardens in which I spend much time.There, a friendly robin joins us with his friend, the fragile dragonfly. These gentle creatures welcome us and nature becomes Mr. Sagittarius’s abode. But I sense an important ingredient is missing. A ginger tom cat joins our ensemble. The biggest cat I’ve ever seen. All the creatures exist. They come to me as if they wish to help me craft this beautiful story. I question whether the tom cat is real or a longing of mine? He remains still, sleeping by the path. I imagine him by the water’s edge, hidden among the branches of the golden weeping willow tree.

I am amazed at what my imagination crafts. I do not plot. My imagination yields the unusual. Yet a narrative takes shape, the twins’ story intertwining with pieces of poetry and short stories, creating a whole. 

Nurture your imagination. Witness the extraordinary in the ordinary. Perhaps while turning on the bath tap, notice the subtleties in the bubbles. Imagine it snowing, snow snakes causing mischief in a cave. Believe in your senses and the seasons will melt like lollipop leaves from sunshine trees. Anything is possible when you imagine.

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Featured Book: Mr Sagittarius
by M J Mallon

Mr Sagittarius is a magical collection of poetry, prose and photography, inspired by the beautiful botanical gardens in Cambridge. It is a wondrous reminiscence of childhood Halloweens, candy corn and candy floss, rainbows, friends, laughter, a time to laugh and a time to cry. Woven among the words are M J Mallon’s own photographs along with two by Alex Marlowe, a talented young photographer. Her favourites in the collection are the sweet robin, majestic trees and the dragonfly. Mallon says photography is in her genes. Both her uncle and grandfather were photographers too.

About MJ Mallon

M J Mallon loves to write fantasy for young adults, magical realism and poetry. She blogs about books, writing, photography and inspiration at mjmallon.com.

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