The inspiration behind My Name is Magic, a guest post by Xan van Rooyen 

Music is life. Other people need oxygen—I need music.

So… more than a decade ago, I watched a random indie movie called Teenage Dirtbag. While I loved the movie, Iadored the soundtrack. One song in particular hit me really hard. It’s called You’re not Gonna Save Me by Geno Lenardo (sadly, it’s not on Spotify but you can find it on YouTube and SoundCloud). The lyrics of this song captured my imagination and immediately started filling my head with all kinds of imagery and story ideas—but this was still before I considered writing anything more than a casual hobby. Back then I was still prone to writing the sort of angsty Gothic poetry I had written as a teenager. So, I left the images to compost, hoping something would eventually germinate…

“And I can’t see

With everybody looking at me”

This particular line struck me a near-fatal blow. It captured, so succinctly, the way I had felt growing up. I was a good student who followed the many rules laid down at my Catholic school, indulging in only the most minor acts of rebellion (like secreting pictures of The Crow into my pencil case). I won awards for academics and music, and it felt like everyone ‘saw’ me as this diligent, well-behaved, well-adjusted kid who didn’t need any help, all while I was dying inside: struggling with depression, dissociation, and what I didn’t know then was gender dysphoria. Point is, when I heard these lyrics they immediately transferred me back to being 15 and that turbulent state of trying to figure myself out while everyone was looking at me and seeing a different person. The image in my head? A forest of disembodied eyeballs, staring, following my every move, me no means of escaping leaving.