Real Magic

A weekly newsletter by me for you

After publishing Dog Medicine, I received messages from so many wonderful people. Perfect strangers from all over the world wrote to tell me that they found comfort in my story. Writing Dog Medicine was a solitary venture that yielded solace, togetherness, and community. 

Especially after this terribly isolating COVID year, it seems important to keep communicating. So I plan to start sharing a little bit about my next book (which is still a work-in-progress) via a weekly e-mail called Real Magic. Each piece will be a short missive about the magic I see almost daily. By magic, I mean what some people might call serendipity. Carl Jung called it synchronicity. Rudolf Otto, a German theologian, called it numinosity. It’s the hummingbird showing up right when you think of your grandmother. It’s the crow calling outside just as you’re about to do that very difficult thing. It’s the out-of-nowhere breeze when you wonder about your ancestors. These are the most interesting, predictive, and hopeful moments in my daily life. They’re little happenings that confirm the connectedness of us all. To me, they feel sparkly and magical. I stopped noticing them for a long time, but about fifteen years ago, I slowly started paying attention again. The things I’ve seen since then have changed me.

My Grandfather’s Tree, Carpinteria, CA 

Almost all of my real magic comes from nature. So, you’ll likely receive stories about birds flocking over lakes, huge trees whispering in a breeze, dogs running free, hawks swooping, rain falling, sun peeking through clouds, and critters scampering across a path at just the right moment. That’s when I feel the connectedness in everything, and when I remember that we are all, in the end, related. 

I’ll send one e-mail a week. It will be only a few paragraphs–just a simple moment. Hopefully it will leave you with a feeling of possibility, reminding you that when we pay attention, there’s enchantment to be found. We are held together by magical threads, and there’s beauty, joy, and connectedness in simply noticing them. 

You can sign up to receive the e-mails below.


  • Real Magic #11

    Since it’s my 11th Real Magic, I want to write about that magical time: 11:11. In my family, when we see it, we say, “11:11! Make a wish!” We close our eyes and wish for something: goodness for a struggling friend, strength to get through that next difficult thing, anything really. This tradition started after…

  • Real Magic #10

    I’ve been struggling a little bit lately. Where I live, we’re very slowly coming out of the pandemic. Masks are required indoors, and most people still wear them outside too. We’re gathering only when we know we’re all vaccinated, but socializing feels new and awkward and utterly exhausting. I finally came up with a word…

  • Real Magic #9

    I am trying to finish a new book based on the concept of Real Magic, and it has been one of the most challenging projects of my life. I struggle to write about the transcendence I experience in the natural world without it sounding corny or fake or forced. Some of these stories are so…