Indulging the imagination adds color to one#8217;s life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

I’m reading a book called April Witch, by Majgull Axelsson.

Originally published in Sweden in 1997, it was an international best seller.

Mostly it is about mother-daughter relationships, competition between women and the failures of Sweden’s postwar welfare state.


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But the story, which revolves around the lives of four women, all of whom were abandoned at birth, is made a bit more interesting by the fact that one of the women is an April witch.

According to a conversation with the author in the back of the book, an April witch is someone who has a weak and disabled body, but a very strong mind. So strong, in fact, that the witch’s consciousness n the book never uses the words “spirit” or “soul” n can leave her body and inhabit or even overtake those of others, including animals and inanimate objects such as a drop of water.

Axelsson attributes the idea to a short story written by Ray Bradbury, author of Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Martian Chronicles.

The April witch in this story is explained through scientific terms, talking about how matter is neither created nor destroyed, pointing to physics and the fact that electrons can be in two places at once.

I haven’t finished the book yet, so I don’t know if it will eventually allow for magic or God (the “Almighty Trickster,” as one character calls Him) to further explain the abilities of an April witch.

It was with this novel humming in the back of my mind that I interviewed Angie Toscano, featured in an article in Sunday’s edition, about her trip to England, Wales and Ireland.

When we started to discuss Ireland, one of the first comments out of her mouth addressed leprechauns. She said the country was so green and beautiful, she expected one to pop up any second. Then she lamented the fact that her Irish guide admitted n to the great disappointment of many of the ambassadors with whom she was traveling n that he does not believe in leprechauns. Apparently, the students thought, or hoped, that believing in leprechauns was a prerequisite for being Irish.

Earlier last week I had two people tell me that I really need to read the Harry Potter books, because they are addictive and much better than the movies. I still find it a little funny that adults are so taken with Mr. Potter, but then I have to admit that I’m a big fan of the movies (and I have seen them all). And

yes, I do plan to read the books, but I’m waiting until they all are finished so I can plow through them one after the other.

The book, my conversation with Angie, and the whole Harry Potter thing, got me thinking about magic and fairy tales and all that.

Even though, as a sensible adult, I should know and believe (and I usually do) that reality is devoid of any such nonsense, I find it somewhat of a stress reliever to be able to lose myself in places like those.

To think that there might be, or have been, or will be other worlds where magic is possible, is fun. And it helps keep my inner child alive, I think.

I would venture that even the most cynical of adults realize the importance of fantasy, otherwise they wouldn’t let their children believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny.

To me, indulging the imagination regularly makes life a little more colorful.

McKnight-Taylor is a staff writer for the Suffolk News-Herald. Contact her at 934-9617, or