As a teen, one of my closest and most trusted confidantes happened to be made by Mattel. Its black and glossy surface gleamed like my future. Within its walls floated a hypnotic icosahedron, a twenty-sided die that would determine the course of everything.
Yes. I was obsessed with my Magic 8 Ball.
And into that orb of plastic, I poured every one of my adolescent hopes and dreams. Secret crushes, wild aspirations, even my deepest fears. The answers to these burning questions were literally at my fingertips. One shake, and my fate would reveal itself.
One shake, and I would know:
Did I pass my drivers ed test even though I ran over an orange cone?
With my next breath suspended in my lungs, I waited as the triangular face buoyed up through a sea of murky blue. The die gently tapped against the window and . . .
Outlook not so good
Oh. Well, obviously the universe had made a colossal cockup because MY LIFE WILL SYSTEMATICALLY END IF I DON’T GET MY LICENSE. This, of course, shouted through a hormonally fueled tsunami of tears. There was only one reasonable explanation. The Magic 8 Ball must’ve confused my question with some other girl splayed out on her purple bedspread, wearing fingerless lace gloves while listening to Madonna. So I shook again, best out of twenty. How I made it through my adolescent years without a raging case of carpal tunnel, I will never know.
But I continued asking question after question, rattling the bejeezus out of that ball, willing it to be the answer I ached to receive.
Will I become a world famous author and move to Europe?
Does life get easier after high school?
Will my parents get divorced?
Sometimes the answers were clear, like: Signs point to yes or Don’t count on it. While others were far more ambiguous, such as the dreaded: Ask again later. Really? My Magic 8 Ball had more pressing affairs than telling me whether or not Jason would ask me to homecoming?! With my faith finally shattered, not to mention the prophetic ball’s alarming margin of error, I did the unthinkable. I chucked it in the garbage. The lid to the Dumpster banged like a gavel sentencing the 8 Ball to life in a landfill. No parole.
I had bigger metaphysical fish to fry.
Next I dabbled in palmistry, slicking my hands black with ink before imprinting them on paper for analysis. The loops, the swirls, none of it made sense. Nor did it bring me any closer to revelations about what my future held. In fact, the only thing I knew with any degree of certainty was that A) ink stains are very hard to remove from carpet. And B) I didn’t have a Murder’s Thumb (this is marked by a clubbed formation). No doubt Mom was proud she didn’t birth a serial killer.
After declaring palmistry a fail, I moved on to numerology. Then tarot cards. I also sought the guidance of every fortune cookie I ate. And ate and ate. I spent the majority of my formative years in a relentless search. Desperate for signs that my greatest wishes would one day come true. And if the Magic 8 Ball, fortune cookies, or tarot cards didn’t deliver on the promise of those dreams, I’d just keep shaking. Eating. Reshuffling decks. I. WOULD. NOT. STOP. Not until I got the affirming answer I wanted.
Which suddenly put me in the throes of a real existential pickle. What if destiny wasn’t such an unchangeable, unstoppable force? What if destiny was something you could . . . create? *cue the blowing of my mind*
Ever since that epiphany, that’s exactly what I’ve done. I set goals—big and small—with an aim and a plan to achieve them. Not always successfully. Not always gracefully. I mean, I’ve been known to trip my way across a finish line. Or roll over a few orange cones (and for the record, I DID pass drivers ed). But I get there. Eventually.
So it seems there are defining moments when everyone must choose whether they will be a passenger or driver on this cosmic bus of life. As for me? I choose to drive. But you better believe I’ll have this bumper sticker on the back of my bus:
Because while I believe in manifesting your destiny, I will always save a place for miracles. And for magic.
Thank you so much for being our guest here today, Darcy! I appreciate anything that makes me smile and inspires me at the same time. And thank you also for offering a generous giveaway for our readers! (Scroll down for the Rafflecopter.) Good luck to all who enter (and try to resist the urge to consult your Magic 8 Ball for a prediction of the winner!)
About Summer of Supernovas:
When zodiac-obsessed teen Wilamena Carlisle discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House—relationships and love.
But when Wil falls for a sensitive guitar player hailing from the wrong side of the astrology chart, she must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her dead mother’s legacy and the very system she’s faithfully followed through a lifetime of unfailing belief.
Darcy Woods had three big loves in grade school: Reading, writing, and pizza day. Some things never change. She now lives in Michigan with her madly supportive husband, and two tuxedo cats who overdress for everything. Once upon a time, she was in a US Army aviation unit and threw live grenades. Now she throws words. Summer of Supernovas, a YA contemporary, is Darcy’s first novel and is published by Random House/Crown BFYR.