Chico man authors ‘The Boy Who Earned His Magic’

Dan Barnett


Three schoolyard bullies hold Howell Evans, 12 (almost 13), upside down by his ankles. It’s just another day in the town of Mount Shasta, where Howell lives with his parents and sister. Tormented by Bully Harold Bully, Pug the Pyro, and Sloppy Jack, Howell hears them howling and chanting “Witch, witch, your mother is a witch. Hunt her down, tie her up, and toss her in a ditch.”

This particular day, however, Howell has a series of strange encounters, including a Latino boy who cannot see; a creole girl who cannot hear; a Navajo girl with a great wolf; and an unsettling man in black whose eye patch glows. Then comes news that Howell’s mother, Rhiannon, named after a Welsh princess, has been in a car crash in the Sierras driving home from New Mexico.

Howell’s eccentric uncle Tal (who drives an old VW van) explains all the weird appearances mean “they” have his mother and Howell must ride with him to find her — and prepare for the mysterious “transfer.” Otherwise the evil Drygoni will win.

The tale is told in “The Boy Who Earned His Magic” ($15.99 in paperback, independently published; also for Amazon Kindle) by Chicoan Lynn Elliott, playwright, novelist, Professor Emeritus of English and Creative Writing at Chico State. Originally published in 2020 as “The Crossingway,” the book has now also become a teleplay.

The script won monthly honors from the London Indie Film Festival in Best Family/Children’s Film, Best Feature Script, and Best Television/Pilot Program or Series categories. If Elliott “earns his magic” and the series is produced, it will make for a phantasmagorical ride.

Born in Wales, Elliott notes in a talk that when he emigrated to the US in his twenties he wanted to know more of the “magic” of indigenous cultures that seemed to emanate from New Mexico, “a land of desert landscapes, howling wind witches, a ghostly woman in white … A land where people … still live with their tales and stories of the battles between good and evil … in this mysterious land with its ancient cliff dwellings and deep, haunting canyons.”

Welcome, dear friends, to “the place between here and there.”

Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. Send review requests to [email protected]. Columns archived at 

Dan Barnett Uncategorized,Biblio File

2024-01-09 10:07:38 , Chico Enterprise-Record

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