What is the Powder of Life?

The Powder of Life (far left) on display in the props archive of Walt Disney Studios. This is how it was depicted it in the Disney film "Return to Oz" (1985).

The Powder of Life (far left) on display in the props archive of Walt Disney Studios. This is how it was depicted it in the Disney film “Return to Oz” (1985).


The first question readers may have about my new book is a fairly obvious one: What is the Powder of Life? … aside from a sequel to “Silver Shoes,” that is.

Rest assured, it’s not a drug or a new beauty product—although that might appeal to some.

I will also put your mind at ease right away by telling you it isn’t important or essential that you’ve heard of it prior to reading this novel. Donald Gardner and his family and friends haven’t heard of it either. Still, if you know the history behind it—or histories, I should say, since L. Frank Baum would reinvent background stories in his Oz books from time to time—it will enhance your experience reading the book.

The Oz Wiki entry online for it says:

The Powder of Life was created by Dr. Pipt and was first tested on the Glass Cat. Dr. Pipt foolishly gave all the Powder (contained in a pepperbox with a false bottom, which also contained Dr. Nikidik’s Celebrated Wishing Pills) to the witch Mombi in exchange for a fake “Powder of Youth”. Mombi used the Powder of Life to bring Jack Pumpkinhead to life. Tip stole the Powder from her and later used it to animate the Sawhorse and the Gump. (The Marvelous Land of Oz, The Patchwork Girl of Oz)

The Wikipedia entry for it says:

The Powder of Life is a magic substance from the book series, which first appears in The Marvelous Land of Oz .

It is a magical powder that brings inanimate objects to life. The witch Mombi first obtained it from a “crooked magician.” Later in the series it is revealed that the substance is made by a Dr. Pipt. In order to make the substance, Dr. Pipt had to stir four large cauldrons for six years. Only a few grains of the powder could be made at a time. It is always described as being carried in a pepper box.

Mombi’s shaker also contained three “wishing pills” fabricated by Dr. Nikidik.

Stories begin to blur along with the details surrounding them. There are questions raised about its origins, its creator(s), how it came to exist in the Land of Oz, and exactly what it does and how it’s used.

All of this is explored in the new novel.

It also goes without saying that if you know me or follow this blog, my creative journey was deeply effected when I lost both of my parents within six months to separate illnesses while working on the book. It changed me, my writing, and this story.

What would it be like to possess an ingredient in this world that generates and stimulates life?
What exactly is life?
Where does it come from?
How long can it last?
Could we be given the power to control it?

While the novel “The Powder of Life” is most definitely an action-adventure story at its core with many exciting twists and turns in keeping with “Silver Shoes,” the themes of life, death, birth, and rebirth are examined and pondered.

The hyperlinks are already “live” for the hardcopies of my book on both Barnes & Noble and Amazon sites, and I have placed them into this blog and on my website in anticipation. Barnes & Noble has both the hardcover and trade paperback listed with a discount, which is always helpful. The ebooks, with the exception of a standard PDF version, still aren’t up (Nook and Kindle), but I’m told they’re on their way, pending publisher approval. My “author copies” (hardcover and soft) are already in the mail for my final sign-off, and then I will “officially” announce, wherever anyone will listen, that “The Powder of Life” is open for business!



What is the Powder of Life? — 7 Comments

  1. Paul,

    Great news! I can’t wait to read it!

    Can I order the hardback and have it sent to you for signing, then Paypal funds to you to ship it to me?


  2. I received my hardback in yesterday afternoon’s mail and by midnight last night, had read it cover to cover. OMG!! What a wonderful story, Paul! You are such a talented writer. The story is simply amazing–complex yet flowing, fast-paced and exciting, touching, terrifying at points, compelling, imaginative, intimate, clever, inventive, so tightly woven, with twists and turns that are thrilling to read–literally page after page after page. Your treatment of Mr. Time is so clever and simply amazing. The moral(s) of the story is/are very gently told, without being preachy or high-handed. The most astonishing part is the level of creativity and imagination that simply oozes out of every page. By the end of the book, I literally wanted to BE Donald Gardner–to share in and witness the power, magic, wonder, and transformation that takes place throughout The Powder of Life. Congratulations, Paul. There is so very much of your mom in those pages. I could literally feel her gentle spirit step out of the page and smile at me, as she always did whenever I saw her. The Powder of Life is a monumental work, a thrilling sequel to the Silver Shoes. L.F. Baum would be/will be/is, I am certain, so thrilled by the story. You are so talented. I know the book will be a huge success. I can’t wait to get my copy autographed. Many, many heartfelt congratulations! WOW!

  3. Oh, wow, Mike … I don’t even know what to say except thank you .. and that doesn’t seem nearly enough. Your opinion means a great deal to me, and I’m thrilled you liked the book this much. I guess as a writer, that’s my greatest wish above anything else—to communicate thoughts and feelings and share them in a creative way .. and if you got that out of reading this, then it’s a success already. I can’t tell you how glad I am.

    Thank you so, so much. Writing The Powder of Life was a lot of hard work, but reading this makes it all worth it.

  4. Paul I am so excited for you and after reading that part about my Aunt Joanna and Uncle Leonard, I am even more excited and a little teary eyed.

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