For every movement to thrive there needs to be at least one visionary and one go-getter, who keeps the team bubbling with hope and positive energy. Lorinna Hastings from Australia has been that essential spark, a live-wire, and a cheerleader, who never let go of her faith that there is magic inside us and that dreams can come true.
But for people like her, and their tales of courage and fortitude, this earth would spin around its axis without ever experiencing a single miracle.
The Magic Diary derives its name and its magic from people like Lorinna Hastings, whose own personal story is as moving as the initiative itself. Here is how the Magic Diary was inspired to believe in the healing power of creative energy, channelized for greater good.
A cancer that nearly threatened to take her life could not break her soul. The chemo, painful as it was, and the utterly undignified experience it offered, also came with important lessons in life — the cancer of doubt must not be allowed to take over life. And the only thing that could kill it was the love for life itself.
After suffering for two years, it was 2015 when Lorinna decided to pick up the threads of her life and reclaim it. It was a time to move on; a time to dream again, and even though there was hardly any energy left in her that is what she was determined to do.
“The chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy had left me with chronic heart problems. Not someone who enjoyed watching the television, I looked for other things to do. Not being up to live classes, I took the suggestion of a friend to do a MOOC (massive open online course}. She recommended Coursera—it had free, short, online courses; I had not written anything of consequence in a longtime so Composition-I was a good fit. I signed up and that simple click changed my life…”
At the MOOC, Lorinna met people from across the globe. Each one had a unique story to tell—a priest from Zambia, a poet from Morocco, an artist from UK—these connections made her feel alive and wanting to explore more.
“No longer was I at home alone. With a click of the finger, I was reading so many different topics, my brain was active and it was the most stimulating environment. As time went along, friendships were made…friendships that were to open new doors of learning…At the end of the course, some of us wanted to keep writing, for me it was short stories. Jaya’s idea to provide a platform for writers around the world …giving them a voice, resonated with me and I joined the core group of 35.”
Lorinna, not only wrote thereafter, she helped other writers to develop their ideas and stories; she even created lovely doodles for most of the stories. And throughout the frenetic months of editing and re-editing, writing, crafting, sketching, and painting, she never let anyone know about her aching joints, her chronic heart problems, her regular check-ups and her waiting for hair to grow.
From the energy she exuded, her relentless effort to get more writers and artists to join the team from more geographically diverse countries, her efforts at taking the story of the initiative to the local Australian press and public—it was impossible to imagine her cringing in pain and struggling with all the side-effects that chemo had unleashed in her life.
She let none of it find its way to her pen either. Her story, a remarkable tale woven around her love of travel and painting is instead, about the mysterious disappearance of an artist in Paris—a place she loved and hopes to visit again, someday.
Her excitement with the project is so palpable and her presence so powerful she could give Superwoman a complex. And what drives her? In her own words: “My own pain has taught me a lot about life. One of the reasons I am so committed to the project is because it is so selfless. ‘A Pocketful of Dreams’ is a chance to benefit and change lives. My part is that of a small cog in a big wheel; together we have made something good happen and that keeps me energized.”