Energy can’t be created or destroyed.

But it can be cultivated.

Is it just in American Gods that places where people congregate are pooling places for some kind of energy that can’t be described? It’s hard to tell. There are so many strange ways in which energy is measured, beyond the electromagnetic field detectors. It’s in the way you get drunk quicker at the bar with friends, the way you feel invincible after a night out. There seem to be places that connect to energy in an inexplicable way, a way that feels almost occult. Where are those places? How can that energy be tapped? Easy.

The Women’s Bathroom at S Club.

The energy here is easy to read. There is raw power seeped into the spaces between tendrils of vape smoke in the air. The type of glamour being applied is the very type folk traditions describe – an interaction that is an exchange of something certainly magical. The illusion of confidence is replaced by real confidence when a strange girl compliments your hair, your eyeliner, the socks you picked out. There is power in that. Someone could say those same things in the street, but the effect is not the same. To engage in the power and take from the pooling of energy, it is necessary to sacrifice into the pool – give a compliment, help her do up the back of her corset, tuck the tag into the back of their shirt, let someone braid your hair.

The Beaverbrook Room at the HIL

Nothing says occult like a plush red carpet. This energy is ethereal, more difficult to measure. It’s something in the way that coffee tastes better here, knowing it’s forbidden. The exchange of energy, the way to tap into the pool is easy – you take out a pen and write the name of your subject at the top of a lined sheet of paper. You tuck it into a book on the shelf. Then you’re good to sit back down with your laptop. Do your work, for as long as required. You will find it comes easier than you imagined. It goes quickly, and the answers come in an easy way that doesn’t feel quite right. That is the trade off. 

The Quad

Sitting here does not give any kind of glamour except a transition between other places of power. It is here where they walk to get home after a long night, and here where god knows how many relationships have begun, ended, been sustained. This is the vantage point where it is easy to witness those slightly out of place acts of magic, and where the witnesses must pool their energy. This pool is unattainable, as of yet. It promises more than it will ever give, and that is what draws people to academia. Any school can have a brick building with ivy trailing from the eaves, but there are only very few where this type of energy exists, to trap you into believing it might be yours. It is the greatest power: to seduce people into learning and, even worse, to seduce them to life. That is the power in the quad. It’s an impossible promise to keep. Parties, messed up hair, half-bitten kisses, fistfights, a degree. It is a little bit occult to realize it all seems to happen in one place, and that maybe one person in ten will check every box off the list. Even with that, the privilege of tapping into the pool is not given. Try writing to Mazerolle.