I asked for a new life. In return, I had to bury my seed so deep in the earth it kissed Hell. It was important that this black disk holding the heart of a hollyhock be warmed by morningstars and forced to carve its way out of the darkness. This, so that I could know the value of my transformation.
Now, I am uncomfortable with tight spaces and have trouble breathing in the dark, damp underground. That is the price I paid for freedom.
I dreamed of a book once, too. One with my name on it and my thoughts in it. All the Universe expected in return was blood and heartache, time and tears, and that long stretch of purgatory where no one knew what I was doing--or cared--except for the emerging words on the page. They knew. They understood. Felt the relief of stories so long contained finally spilling across naked sheets.
I'm about a pint of blood short now and so have less energy for things that don't understand that my heart is buried inside an herb garden, in a constant state of becoming. I get tired if I'm away from my stories for too long, worn out when I'm asked to ignore the poetry of a Monday or the grace of a slammed door.
That was what the magic required of me to see my hope eternally bloom. And I paid the price willingly. That garden? It has rosemary and words and ink and lavender in it--but no weeds and no room for nonsense. I worked hard to make it so.
I picked out each and every weed and each and every shade with my own hands until my fingernails were cracked and rimmed with black dirt and my hands were bloody from the nicks and scratches of angry ghosts that didn't want to leave such a cozy home. I have a few crooked fingers now and a predisposition toward dry hands. But no weeds. No shades secretly living inside the sunflower's underbelly. Just an abundant harvest to look forward to.
Magic is a hard thing and doesn't take wishes lightly. This I know, which is why I hold up deleted pages and crossed-out passages like offerings for another manuscript, another birthing. These tattered narratives will never see the light of day. They are the willing sacrifices for a better story. I bind them up and surround them with twigs for kindling. I press flame to their feet and watch the fire gobble them up because that is what the magic needs if I am to write something that is honest and potent.
Magic is a gritty thing, asking for you to give until it hurts. That's the only way it knows you're serious and not just looking for a topical solution to soul sickness. That kind of healing requires long journeys down dark roads and through the caves of memory until all your pains are excorcised and your hair smells vaguely of brimstone and forgetting.
After all that, it lets you taste the first ripe peach of summer, speckled with morning dew. Your tongue is coated in sunshine and hard-earned deliciousness. Juice dribbles down your chin. Your fingers are sticky with fuzz and nectar. And in your hand is another hard seed waiting to be kissed by morningstars.