Welcome to “The Magic Words”

Thank you for visiting “The Magic Words”! For more information about the blog or the author, please see the About page.

The writing found on this blog may be shared on the condition that credit is given via a link to the original post or a citation. You may not claim any work as your own; that is known as plagiarism.


The Wait (Part Two)

Dr. Karton assembled the features of his face into what he hoped was a reassuring smile and stepped into the waiting room. He automatically looked to the faded chairs resting against the peeling wall paint. His eyes registered a hint of brown at the bottom of his peripheral vision. Dropping his gaze, the doctor was surprised to see his patient kneeling on the floor.

He rushed over to her and mentally noted her condition: Beads of sweat on forehead, dilated pupils, hyperventilating, hand tremors. A panic attack was the likely culprit so he started to reassure her in a soothing voice. He encouraged her to breathe slowly by counting. After a few minutes, she had calmed enough to be helped into a stiff chair.

Sinking into the chair beside her, Dr. Karton assessed the situation. His patient had just recovered from her panic attack and would soon ask about the results of her lab tests. He picked at a hole in the fabric of the seat while he tried to form an appropriate response to the inevitable question.

He had only decided on starting with Miss Johnson…, when the still trembling woman beside him found her voice. 

So, Doctor, be honest with me…is it bad?

[To Be Continued]

The Wait (Part One)

It would take time. Bry knew that, but it didn’t stop her from tapping her foot or glancing at the time. Most days, she was a patient person and most people would agree with her assessment. Today was not one of those days.

Her forehead creased in ways that it hadn’t in months as her face betrayed her nervousness worse than her shaking knees. She started twirling a brown curl between her fingers just to give them something to do. Nothing is wrong; it just takes time. She repeated the seven words like a mantra until they were the only words in her head.

Nothing is wrong. Bry’s eyes were not focused and shining from the tears that had been welling up over the past few minutes. It just takes time. Her legs finally gave in to the gravity of the situation, and she fell to her knees.

The impact jarred her mind out of the trance and back into the chaos of fear. Is this a heart attack? She wasn’t sure.

She was in the right place for one; the hospital surely knew how to handle the situation, but the waiting room did not have any other people in it. That would be ironic: dying of a heart attack while waiting for lab results. Her dark thoughts were momentarily pushed out of her mind as she tried to remember if she was using the word ironic correctly. In that pause, the door to the waiting room creaked open.

[To Be Continued]


Okay, I obviously lied again about starting to post more. I had serious trouble coming up with an idea for this year’s NaNoWriMo (more information at nanowrimo.org). So here is an update about my writing and the future of this blog.

I was recently named one of the winners of a poetry contest and will have one of my poems on a bus. I am thankful for the opportunity, honored by the selection, and ridiculously giddy about the format (I mean: how many people get to say they had a poem on a bus?).

I have decided to participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo. I was trying to expand an idea I had into something that could be made into a novel, but I wasn’t sure that it was sustainable. This problem has been bothering me for weeks. I suddenly came up with an idea this morning (around 2 AM). It will be called The Nature of Frailty. The short synopsis: “an interplanetary novelization of Hamlet“. It is going to be ridiculous.

So where does that leave this blog? I might try to post some excerpts from the novel as I write it or note any insights I have about the writing process. Otherwise, I will start posting again in December. 

Things to Do during Your First Two Weeks Back at GU

After a nice summer break, you find yourself back at Gonzaga University for the start of the fall semester. What should you do? Here are six suggestions from someone who experienced six of these transitions:

1. Check your email frequently

Your inbox is going to be swamped, but some of these emails are actually important. Always check your email in the morning before classes during these first two weeks. Your classroom is subject to change. On at least three separate occasions, half of my class and I waited in the wrong room until we thought to look on Zagweb to see if our room number had changed. I have also experienced last-minute emails from professors about room changes.

2. Go to Pig-Out in the Park

It is a short walk to Riverfront Park and the weather is still nice. This event happens once a year and I highly recommend (unless you can’t have dairy) the huckleberry ice cream. You can eat food, listen to live music, get a henna tattoo, buy an ocarina, and/or just enjoy some time outside. For more information, visit: http://www.spokanepigout.com

3. Sign up for Retreats

Do you have syllabi from your classes? Mark in your planner/calendar/app big due dates and exams. Now find out which retreat times do not correspond to these busy weekends and sign up. Spots go quickly (especially with more students being admitted to GU). I definitely recommend Search.
Honors folk: Go to Camp Reed (unless, for some reason, that isn’t happening this year). I don’t care from whom you have to bribe a ride; you need to go for at least part of it.

4. Take Advantage of the Free Things

Is some club having an ice-cream social? Are there S’mores by the shore? Is your block having a pizza or barbecue night? Do you want to play kick ball or laser tag ?

Check your email, check the flyers around campus, and take note of anything you want to do. So many events will be happening during these first few weeks that it can be difficult to decide what you want to do. Ask what other people are doing, and join them.

5. Make Friends

This is the time of the year when everyone is open to meeting new people and making new friends. Friends are good.

6. Have a Great Year!


I am starting to feel better and will hopefully get some new posts up soon. Since it is back-to-school season, I may start off with some pieces of advice for my friends who are starting a new year in college.

7-Sentence Story: “Architecture”

Once upon a time, on a world remarkably unlike our own, a castle built itself at the top of a hill. And every day, from purple moon to red moon, the castle would lower its drawbridge. Until one day, a sympathetic road decided to go out of its way and create an extension to the castle. Because of this, a visiting chariot became confused and brought its passengers to the castle. Because of this, the passengers decided to enter the castle to ask someone for proper directions. Finally, the castle had successfully ensnared occupants. And ever since that day, the castle’s drawbridge has never been seen lowered.


[Words: 107]
[About the Exercise]

7-Sentence Story: “To Taste”

Once upon a time, in a land whose name has faded from all memory, two brothers owned a famous restaurant. And every day, people would travel for hours and bask in the smell of foreign spices that danced from the kitchen to precede plates of sculpted flavor. Until one day, a local peasant girl noticed that people who ate at the restaurant vanished within a week of their meal. Because of this, she began to investigate and discovered that no one could remember when the restaurant was built or when the brothers arrived to town. Because of this, the brothers were exposed as two malevolent creatures that mixed potions into the restaurant’s food which, after a few days in the bloodstream, made human flesh taste better. Finally, the local humans exiled the creatures by using an ancient ritual found in the diary of a deceased food critic. And ever since that day, parents in the land stopped their children’s naughty behavior by threatening to take them to dinner at a nice restaurant.


[Words: 172]
[About the Exercise]

7-Sentence Story

Source: I was first introduced to 7-Sentence Story at a practice for G.U.T.S. (Gonzaga University Theatre Sports), the improv troupe I was a part of during college.

Storytelling is an important aspect of good improv, and my troupe had several exercises and games that focused on this skill. One small-group exercise was called 7-Sentence Story. It is fairly well-known exercise, though you will find variations of the sentence starters.

7-Sentence Story is, unsurprisingly, an exercise whose product is a story that is seven sentences long. One person will say the first sentence of the story, the next person the second sentence, and thus forth until all seven sentences have been said. If the group has fewer than seven people, then some people may go more than once. The exercise is mainly used to practice storytelling, listening, teamwork, and creativity.

Each sentence in the story must start with a certain phrase. The person whose turn it is must complete the phrase to create a sentence in the story. Sometimes an additional goal is added to the exercise such as “use as few words as possible” or “include as much detail as possible”.

The sentence starters are as follows:

  1. Once upon a time…
  2. And every day…
  3. Until one day…
  4. Because of this…
  5. Because of this…
  6. Finally…
  7. And ever since that day…

Instead of using 7-Sentence Story as an improv exercise, I will be including it here as a writing exercise. The main difference is that I will be creating the stories by myself. I also will not be asking anyone for suggestions to inspire the stories.