I want to be a Virginia.

Tuesday and Wednesday the Dresden Dolls were in Boston and in their second performance (both of which I went to), they read the response to Virginia O’Hanlon in the New York Sun when she asked if there was a Santa Claus. Every year for Christmas my mom used to read this letter, but I sadly had forgotten about it. With this new reading, I was duly inspired. This letter is not just a response to the existence of Santa Claus, not simply a Christmas themed letter, but something extraordinarily beautiful. I consider it one of the best things ever written in the history of the world. My response to it is in embodied in a college supplement I wrote the other night, and I simply had to share it.

 

Never again will I doubt the existence of magic. On September 21st, 1897, a little girl, named Virginia, questioned the existence not only of Santa Claus, but of belief and all that it holds. I wish to be a Virginia. As Francis Church so dutifully responds, the world without Virginia’s would be dreary, would be incomprehensible and unbearable. I believe this is so, and never again will I doubt that inside of everyone is a Virginia. Even those most skeptic believe in magic—whether it be fairies dancing on a lawn in the morning dew, or perhaps the ingenuity and harmonies of Beethoven, or maybe indeed simply the beauty that a single poppy can hold in the right sunlight. All of these things, whether real or imaginary are magic. And who is to say there is a “real”? If something is believed, it is real. As Carl Jung says,  if there is no one to believe there is no existence. So what if we stopped believing in gravity? In water? In ourselves? All of these things would become as imaginary as love or beauty or peace. So as a Virginia I will turn my back on hatred, I refuse to believe in ignorance and suffering with the hope that these will one day also be imaginary if we all cease to believe. But never again will I doubt the existence of Santa Claus, and never will I turn away from hope.

 

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