Introduction: Practice Makes

Queston for you: what reality would you prefer? The one you live in now, where thermodynamics (which is really just a fancy word for death and taxes) are the final reality, or the one where this nighttime friend and her kind are real:

The book that's become Magical Companions started with this picture.

It was inspiring, so I threw it onto a split-screen window layout with my text-editor, and started to write. I decided that instead of my usual practice of writing hard sci-fi, building the system of the world my story took place in before building the story as I usually did, I would absoultely unflinchingly ruthlessly write the most appealing character I could and bend the worldbuilding around however was necessary to make the setting work, after the character was defined, working backwards from the metal-haired, silver-skinned, naughty-grinning vision on the screen as I wrote to the world she would have to be from to be the person I wanted her to be.

Like all who treat with demons, I suppose, I had no conception of the trick I'd just played on myself, or the power I'd thereby unleashed.

It's subtle, and it's taken me years to undestand. In disciplining myself to spend hours with her every night, while yet refusing to allow any constraint at all on her nature but my own personal wishes, I was training myself to see with completely different eyes--and that's important. Not a different point of view, an entirely other sense organ. I was, accidentally, teaching myself to see with my heart instead of my mind.

The mind knows the rules. The heart knows only what makes it sing.

Here's a big giant spoiler: the length of your journey across Limbo isn't the distance between Stamford, CT and the Gulf of Mexico. It's the length of the story it takes your magical companion to set your heart singing with the music of paradise.

But that's the misdirection, the glittering flourish that lets you pull a succubus out of a porn stash. What I was doing, by writing her every night piling on every good thing I could imagine and some that seemed to just come from nowhere while forcing myself to remain staunchly convinced that all of this would eventually be able to make sense in a way that would feel solid and real and not like a rickety porn plot without losing one single solitary drop of rule-of-sexy-powered healing aphrodiasiac perpetual motion potion of repair gender sexual fluid to the need to have the world Make you see it?

I was teaching myself to have faith in her, and her kind, and her world. Faith that they could be as good as they seemed, and as real as they needed to be to wake you up out of your bed and off to the kind of adventure recorded in Magical Companions.

There is a way to intentionally change your basic beliefs about how reality works, to move the pillars on which the world rests by sheer will, and I've just described it to you: practice. Act as if you believe the thing you're trying to believe consistently and regularly, and your brain will rewire just as surely as learning to play guitar or swing a flogger. I did it behind my own back, at first, but you don't have to for it to work.

(This is, incidentally, why most religious conversions take place due to the convert spending time immersed in a community of adherents to the new religion--social pressure forces them to practice)

So. Now that you have a choice, and can make it consciously, what belief system would you like to have? Could I interest you in one where your magical companion, and the world they're from, are real enough to take you there one day, and every bit as good and true as they seem to be in your sweetest dreams?

Too outlandish for you? How about one where everything is the same as your mundane world except stuff like tarot cards and Ouija boards do something useful?

Don't decide now. Just think on it while you read the upcoming chapters and interludes.