The Little Black Book of Manifesting Magic

The Little Black Book of Manifesting Magic

Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Would Danni’s little black book of manifesting magic deliver when she needed it most?

“Maybe I’m too fat for a string bikini,” I pondered, as I scrolled though the two-pieces on the website of a High Street brand. “Some might say I’m too fat to wear a bikini full-stop.”

“Who would say that, Danni?” asked Matt, my boyfriend, innocently with a twinkle in his eye.

“You are such a git!” I exclaimed, but I couldn’t help laughing.

Matt and I were constantly having this kind of banter, but we rarely had proper arguments. I saw the banter as flirting. Matt was a nice guy, but he had an edge to him. After dating several complete bastards, I met Matt when I made a clear decision that I would only date “nice” guys going forward. It was a relief that Matt had an edge to him though. I knew I would have soon tired of anyone too nice.

I needed a new bikini to take with me on my writing retreat. I couldn’t afford a new bikini, let alone the writing retreat. My job working as a journalist for the local newspaper paid pretty badly. My dream was to leave my job and write a novel. I fantasised that I could support myself through freelance writing gigs, but in reality, a fantasy was exactly what it was. Plus, I knew Matt would have a fit if I gave up my job. It may be poor paying but it represented security and slowly but surely, I was paying off my debts.


The next morning, I woke up at 6 am as usual to perform my spiritual rituals. These included meditation and Buddhist chanting, amongst other things. As I sat in my meditation room in front of my altar, I pulled out my little black book of manifesting magic and began to write my goals. As usual my hands stroked the smooth pages and I marvelled at how good my purple fountain pen felt as it flowed across the page.

“I am happily married to the best person for me,” I wrote.

“I work as a freelance writer and earn £2,500 or more per month.”

“I live on the beach.”

The list went on.


Later, sitting at my work desk, I sighed with the banality of writing a story about a little old woman whose cat had got stuck up a tree. Surely, I was destined for greater things, I thought in frustration.

At 1 pm, I pulled on my jacket and made the short walk to the coffee shop where I was meeting my best friend Lucy for lunch.

“Are you still writing your goals in your little black book?” She asked. It was Lucy who had bought me the book from Moleskine and encouraged me to write my goals every day before meditating and chanting.

“I am.” I replied. “But what’s the point? It doesn’t work. It’s all a load of rubbish.”

“Why do you keep doing it then?”

I shrugged. “I guess there’s a tiny part of me that still hopes and believes.”

“Err, excuse me, Danni. May I remind you of all the times the little black book has manifested magic for you previously, including your relationship with Matt, even though you thought you were destined to be single for ever!” I grudgingly admitted she was right.


“Have you got a sec, Danni?” My boss Joe, asked me as I arrived back at the office. He ushered me into the boardroom.

“I’m so sorry.” Joe looked really uncomfortable. “The new owners are making redundancies. As you are the newest recruit, you will be the first to go. You’ve got a month’s notice.”

For two weeks of my notice period, I would be on my writing retreat. I did some quick calculations; I hadn’t accrued enough holiday so I would have to take it as unpaid leave. Great! Talk about adding salt to a freshly opened wound.

I sat outside the office in my beat-up Volkswagen and sobbed my heart out for around ten minutes before I was in a fit state to drive. As soon as I got home, I started crying again – great, big uncontrollable sobs. I ran to the bathroom and vomited.

I raged against the Universe. “Are you flipping kidding me? Can’t you just give me a break? I was just beginning to find some stability! Haven’t I been through enough?”

My heart hammered as I called Matt to tell him the news.

“Hey Danni, babe, what’s wrong?”

Matt’s tone was light, distracted. How does one phrase a bad news bomb, how does one just say it?

I was hesitating, “Danni?” Concern now. Sod it, nothing for it than to blurt it, “I’ve lost my job, Matt.”


“Just what I said, I’ve lost my job, they’ve given me a month’s notice. I’m last in, so first out.”

My voice was rising, I could hear it getting shrill. I couldn’t stop it; I was riding a wave of outrage. I silently congratulated myself on not screaming full pelt down the phone! I just knew what Matt was going to say, I was sure of it – he’s going to be disappointed in me, say I didn’t work hard enough or that I’m not smart enough. He’s going to worry about the bills and instruct me to cancel the writing retreat, save money. It’s what I would do if I were Matt.

“Oh babe, I’m sorry.”

Damn. It was worse than I thought – he was being sympathetic. That’s me done for. I couldn’t hold back the tears, the anger was the only thing holding them in temporary abeyance, but shit, he was loving me. I couldn’t be angry if he was being kind to me. I was full on ugly crying, sat next to the bog, the aroma of vomit hanging in the air.

“Listen babe, you know everything happens for a reason.” He’s repeated my own favourite phrase back at me.

“Really, Matt?”

“Yes, really.”

“But aren’t you mad? Aren’t you going to tell me off, tell me not to go on my writing break, tell me to save my money?”

His turn to hesitate then. One beat, two beats, three beats of my heart.

“No babe, I’m not going to say that. Listen, I’m sorry; I’m getting called into a meeting – can I call you back later? I’ll be home early, we can talk then, but whatever happens, you’re going on that retreat.”

As I hung up and dried my eyes a voice inside my head reminded of Gabby’s Bernstein’s words, “obstacles are a detour in the right direction”. I also remembered a verse from the Buddhist Gosho, which says when obstacles appear “the wise will rejoice, and the foolish will retreat”.


A week later I was sitting on a beach in Corfu. We were enjoying some beers around a campfire. I was loving the retreat. The combination of spiritual practices, beautiful surroundings and time and space was helping me to write in ways I had never previously experienced.

I caught myself looking at Luke, one of the volunteers. Luke was overweight and had long, slightly shaggy hair, with a beard. Mmm, rough and ready. There was something so sexy about him. Plus, he was interested in spirituality. He was just my type. I gave my head a shake and reminded myself I had an amazing boyfriend. Skinny, nerdy, bespectacled and cynical, Matt wasn’t my type at all and yet I did fancy the pants off him.

That night I dreamt about Luke though. He pushed me roughly against the wall and made hard, vigorous love to me as I clutched his long hair.


Still feeling hot and steamy the next morning, I made my way to breakfast. The cold shower had been a complete waste of time.  I was desperately hoping not to see Luke, getting more jittery and on my toes about it until, slap bang I bumped into him, covering him in his yoghurt and muesli breakfast. I could feel myself blushing, red as a beetroot.

“Sorry,” I muttered and scarpered away to my table. I then spent the next thirty minutes kicking myself that I hadn’t helped him get cleaned up. He probably thought I was a right selfish cow.

During the break Luke came and sat at my table. It came up in conversation that I was 40. “Wow, you don’t look 40 at all.” He said, looking at me steadily. I felt my groins stirring.

What is wrong with you? I chided myself. You have an amazing boyfriend!

I found it difficult to focus on my writing as I was caught between lusting over Luke and being wracked with guilt. I also started to worry that maybe this was a sign that Matt and I weren’t right for each other after all.

“Danni, please stay behind.” said Chicci, the teacher, as we stopped for lunch.

“What’s going on?” She asked. “You are a talented writer and could have an excellent career, but you seem so distracted this morning.”

I hesitated and then told her my worries. She threw back her head and laughed heartily.

“Oh, my dear, you are a horny bitch.”

I was startled but I couldn’t help laughing.

“Exactly the same thing happened to me.” She told me. “I fancied someone just before I got married last year and I nearly called the wedding off. Then I said to myself, “Chicci – you are a horny bitch. Nothing more and nothing less.”

She was right, of course. I’d had plenty of experience of men like Luke pre-Matt and just because someone was spiritual didn’t mean they were stable, let alone suitable relationship material. In fact, usually the opposite was the case.

I made a clear decision to focus on my writing for the rest of the retreat and put fantasies about Luke firmly to the back of my mind. I basked in Chicci’s words, “You are a talented writer…” She had gone on to suggest that I work as a freelance writer, writing short stories. I wished there was a way I could do that. Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could write fiction for a living! But I couldn’t risk not having a regular, stable income. Plus, Matt would totally freak out.


A few days later Matt picked me up from Gatwick airport. I remembered that when I was single, I had always gazed wistfully at the couples being reunited at the airport. I used to wish I had a boyfriend to collect me. Another wish come true, as a result of the little black book of manifesting magic, I reminded myself.

As we hugged and kissed, I inhaled his intoxicating scent. I felt so grateful I had nipped that nonsense with Luke in the bud.

We let ourselves into our lovely little cottage (another thing I had wished for, even if it was owned by Matt), and worked my way through the pile of post. There were the usual bills and bank statements. As I opened the last letter, I stared in amazement. It was from a solicitor about my Granddad’s estate. Granddad had passed away a couple of years ago and his house had taken so long to sell I’d forgotten about it. The letter informed me that my Mum was giving £20,000 each to me and my brother.

I let out a small scream of joy and excitement, causing my two cats to shoot out of the cat flap in alarm.

I realised that my little black book of manifesting magic had done the trick again. The £20,000 was exactly what I needed to provide me with a buffer while I established myself as a freelance writer. I could even write my debut novel!

I raised my eyes heavenward. “Thank you, Universe,” I murmured. “I’m sorry I ever doubted you.”

Now all I needed was a proposal and a house on the beach…

I’ve published something a bit different on my blog today. It’s a short story that I submitted to a competition with Vocal last year. I hope you enjoy reading it as much I enjoyed writing it. Huge thanks to Rachel Davidson for editing it for me.

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