And welcome to my newsletter for July, 2014! Please feel free to forward this to anyone whom you believe might be interested in keeping up with me! To receive these newsletters regularly, drop me an email or subscribe online from my website (http://www.JefMurray.com ) or at: http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms .
• Layout of the 2015 Fantastical Beasts & Beings Calendar is under way! We have contacted the peoples of the Earth, Air, Fire, and Water seeking their counsel and input, and are excitedly assigning individual months to the Elves, the Dryads, the Halflings, the Mer-folk, and many others! We hope to post occasional updates on our progress via videos on Facebook and at www.JefMurray.com; stay tuned!
• A new, revised, and expanded edition of "Seer: A Wizard’s Journal" has been announced and will be available for sale later this year. The 2nd edition of this collection of tales, poetry, images and reflections sports a new cover, many interior illustrations that are now reproduced in full colour, plus two “follow on” tales to the opening story, "The Watchman", that more fully introduce characters that appear regularly throughout the remainder of the book. For more information, see: http://olorispublishing.mymiddleearth.com/2014/03/25/oloris-publishing-announces-expanded-version-of-seer-a-wizards-journal-by-jef-murray/
• The game is on for Tolkien fans in Kentucky! A Long Expected Party 3 (acronym AL3P) is completely booked, but you can still be put on the waiting list for lodgings on-site. You can also stay off-site and register to join us. I’m delighted to announce that I will be one of three guests at the event, along with Dr. Michael Drout and Dr. Amy Sturgis. For more information, see: http://www.alep-ky.us/
"No, that's not the way it works." The old man looked pointedly over his spectacles at Jill.
"But why not?! I mean, if magic really exists, why doesn't everyone know about it? How come it's so 'Hush hush!'?"
Father Hildebrandt took off his spectacles and polished the lenses for a few moments. "I can offer you many reasons, but they would only be speculations."
"Speculations? Aren't they the same thing as guesses?"
Father Hildebrandt smiled broadly. "Yes, my dear, that's exactly what speculations are. And that's because, in this life, and about such matters, none of us can ever be certain. But, since you've asked, here is what I think...."
Jill sat forward in her chair to listen.
"What I think," said Father Hildebrandt, "is that God made the world a very strange and immensely wondrous place. We don't pay much attention, because we tend to fixate on our own little concerns; but, there are cracks in reality, and that's where the magic fits in. It's also how miracles happen. And, when push comes to shove, it can be very difficult for us mere mortals to easily distinguish the one from the other."
"But isn't magic always bad, whereas miracles are always good?"
"You might think so, but those are labels we tend to add after the fact.
"What if I were to tell you...." Father Hildebrandt reached across his desk and touched the heart-shaped pendant around Jill's neck. "What if I were to tell you that this very pendant that you are wearing is enchanted, and that whoever owns it will be instantly healed of all disease and despair...."
"That would sound like magic to me...."
"Yes, but what if you, knowing this, were to take that necklace and freely give it to a destitute old man in an alley downtown; someone who is forgotten and alone, and who is suffering from addiction and mental illness. Suppose you did that...and he was cured?"
"Wouldn't that still be magic?"
"No, it wouldn't. It would be a miracle."
"For this reason. That, knowing what the necklace was capable of, you still freely gave it away...in the hopes that it might help another."
"Then that's the difference between magic and miracles?"
"That, my dear, is the very heart and soul of the difference."