Smiley Face Trick #1 Magic Three By Mary Ellen Ledbeter Magic Three Three parallel groups of words, phrases, or clauses, usually separated by commas, that create a poetic rhythm or add support for a point, especially when the three word groups have their own modifiers. Examples of Magic Three • I love playing hide-and-seek with my friends in our woods, jumping rope on the school playground, and swinging on the old tire at Grandma’s. • In those woods, I would spend hours listening to the wind rustle the leaves, climbing trees and spying on resting birds, and giving the occasional wild growl to scare away any pinkflowered girls who might be riding their bikes too close to my secret entrance. (Todd, college freshman) • If I had a sticker on my shirt that said “Loser” or if my hair looked like a zombie’s or if I had spinach stuck in my teeth, she would tell me the truth no matter what. (Maggie, 9th grade) • Sometimes I wonder why the geeks get picked on. It’s always, “Hey, look, it’s nerd boy again, going to his daily session of chess club,” or “Where do you think you’re going, smarty pants, I thought we had a deal—you carry my lunch tray, and I won’t give you a wedgie,” or “Brain on feet, do my homework for a while—stay till school’s out—and I’ll try to get you a date with the girl who has glasses thicker than yours.” (Cameron, 9th grade) Now find the Magic 3 in the following excerpts from renowned, published authors. • “I can’t be sure, I keep seeing him do different things, he keeps changing his mind . . . A killing spree through the city, attacking the guard, lifting a car over his head in the main square . . . mostly things that would expose them—he knows that’s the fastest way to force a reaction . . .” (Meyer, New Moon, 425) • Robert Langdon stood in horrified revelation. The image of Leonardo Vetra came back in grisly detail—the bloody face, the solitary hazel eye staring back, and the empty eye socket. He tried to reject the obvious truth, but then he saw it . . . beneath the scanner on the white tile floor . . . faint droplets of crimson. Dried blood. (Brown, Angels and Demons, 64) • October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces. The skies and the ceiling of the Great Hall turned a pale, pearly gray, the mountains around Hogwarts became snowcapped, and the temperature in the castle dropped so far that many students wore their thick protective dragon skin gloves in the corridors between lessons. (Rowling, Harry Potter and the OOTP, 401) • “If you all go, of course I’ll go with you; and if your party splits up, I’ll go with the High King. That’s my duty to him and Prince Caspian. But, if you ask my opinion, I’m a plain dwarf who doesn’t think there’s much chance of finding a road by night where you couldn’t find one by day. And I have no use for magic lions which are talking lions and don’t talk, and friendly lions though they don’t do us any good, and whopping big lions though nobody can see them. It’s all bilge and beanstalks as far as I can see.” (Lewis, Prince Caspian, 142) The tables are turned now. Using the following prompts, write your own 10 minute quickwrite paragraph (minimum length: 5 complete sentences) using Smiley-Face Trick #1: Magic 3. • Describe your feelings about the snow, winters in Utah, or an activity you can only do in the snow or in the winter. • Tell me about a moment from the last athletic event you saw on TV (real or fictional) or in real life, or one in which you participated. Real experience can be the most moving and interesting, but fiction would work as well.