Do you need a block of wood?

I know I do. October is an odd month for me, one where I usually end up feeling out of sorts, grouchy and generally grumpier than usual. Sometimes it catches me unawares, takes a while for my brain to consciously register what my body has already identified as an anniversary. Well, two, actually and this might be why I am returning to one of my favourite films:

‘There are a million things one might do with a block of wood. But what do you think might happen if someone, just once, believed in it?’

  • Suzanne Weyn, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Thank you Pixabay

This sweet, beautifully cinematic film contains one of the funniest boardroom scenes I can ever remember seeing, as the main characters sit around a large oak table with a motley collection of toys to discuss the Emporium’s ‘temper tantrum’. It’s the bickering between the two supposed adults; Henry superbly played by Jason Bateman and Molly, that makes it so funny. As Molly, played by Natalie Portman, tries to describe, to explain the ‘magic’ of the shop to Henry, who is completely focused on ‘the paperwork’. He is the accountant or ‘Mutant’, hired by Mr Magorium to go over the books.

I also deeply appreciate Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium for the straightforward, and elegant way in which it deals with death. Understated, and sensitive this film shows how death affects those left behind and how it might also affect the person facing the end of their life.

But the real purpose of today’s blog is to look at our hero, Molly Mahoney and how her lack of self- belief, and self-confidence have contributed to her losing her ‘sparkle’. Somewhere along the line she has lost sight or belief in her dream to write and perform her first concerto. She has become too comfortable in her supporting role as manager within the ‘magical’ toy store that is the Emporium. Seeing this and knowing that change is coming, Mr Magorium, played by Dustin Hoffman, makes Molly a gift:

Mahoney: ‘What is it?’
Mr. Magorium: ‘It’s the Congreve Cube.’
Mahoney: ‘It looks like a big block of wood.’
Mr. Magorium: ‘It is a big block of wood. But now, it’s YOUR big block of wood.’

Mahoney: ‘Thank you. I was just saying last night I don’t have enough big blocks of wood.’
Mr. Magorium: ‘Unlikely adventures require unlikely tools.’

- Suzanne Weyn, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

And, so it begins. It takes an accountant, a death and a block of wood for Molly to find her ‘sparkle’ and recognise her own magic. Until then, she had firmly believed that Mr Magorium was the only one capable of producing it. Not until, she is in yet another ‘discussion’ with Henry where she is ‘forced’ into defending the ‘block of wood’ and the store’s magic, does she begin to see and own the magic that Mr Magorium had seen within her all along.

It’s her self-belief that finally restores and renews the shop.

So, I ask again, do you need a block of wood?

Janice Taylor

Thank you at for the excerpt.

Career Coach and Writer on a mission to discover how people can thrive and flourish in life and work.

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