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Reply To: The Antlered Child,” with Mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.”

Dennis Slattery

    Thank you Joanna and others who have responded to and let us know of this show, which Sandy and I will watch soon.

    To your provocative distinction, Joanna, between Magical Realism, often seen in the fiction of Marquez, and Magical Thinking, I sense a move and a counter move in our contemporary culture, laden, nay saturated with magical thinking. As so often with psyche, one trend evokes a counter move, so I wonder if this Netflix film is a response to the distortions created by magical thinking in the culture? Any thoughts much appreciated.

    And now a short story. Where we live in the Texas Hill Country, there is a herd of about 17 wild goats, big goats with large horns, some so big they could not enter our living room through the front door! Well, one of them took up residence by our garage for some 6 weeks. She looked big in the belly, so we consulted our vet; he said that when one of these animals is pregnant, they separate from the herd. So we named her Hannah, or at least Sandy did, and we took many pictures of her. Sandy talked to her every day, from a distance, and when she did Hannah stopped chewing her cud and listened to her. This prompted Sandy to begin writing her first short story, ever, for our grandchildren. So she began to tell the story of Hannah and mailed it to our grandchildren, whose mom read them her installments. I found Sandy’s sudden urge to open that part of her creative self to writing a story of Hannah.

    Then one day, Hannah did not appear. We have never seen her since. And we felt such a loss of her presence. That was about 7 weeks ago. So, I tell the story to augment your image of the ancient deer in the cave of France. The sheer presence of Hannah elicited in Sandy a desire to create a narrative around this beautiful expectant mother.

    And, I know you have all heard it, but such is the power of myth and mythopoetic consciousness in our deepest urges to create stories from our experiences.

    See what you evoked, Joanna!? Wonderful