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A chapter in my life...
By Elizabeth Horner 
August 17, 2011 

When you’re nine, you don’t stop to think about how the book you’re reading could change the entire course of a life. All I knew was that my best friend, Alison, didn’t believe my claim that I could read a whole page in “under sixty seconds” and when I told her, “I could too”; she pulled a thick, colorful tome off a shelf in our school media center, gleefully thrusting it into my hands. Okay then, challenge accepted! 

I didn’t even spare a glance at the title, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, or the binding with a sticker of a unicorn on it that should have been my first sign of things changing. I just jumped head-first into a world built of wild imaginings.  I kept on, long after my minute was up, and didn’t even care about the result of our bet.  I was absorbed by this need to understand how in the middle of all the spells, potions, and dangerous creatures, the author managed to create characters that felt… real. A thousand times more substantial than the computer paper they were printed on. 

Outside of the situations they were in, I tried to anticipate Harry’s, Ron’s and Hermione’s next moves and reactions… and in the process, discovered a great story unfolding and coming alive before me.   I figured then that words must have some magic all on their own, if they have the power to shape minds this way. 

I came home after school, with the book tucked sheepishly under my arm, hoping to plead my case to my parents. Up until that point, I had not been allowed to read fantasy books, out of fear I would brandish all the sticks in the backyard like wands. My parents did not want me flirting with any “dark influences”. 

Using the most animated language I could muster up at that age, I told Dad and Mom Harry’s side of the story.  Despite the horror Harry had to face in his young life, magical or not, he was able to maintain this aura of goodness, loyalty and love for the people who showed him kindness.  By the force of that love, he was putting a stopper to the rise of an evil warlord. He was a role-model, and a great friend.  Beyond all the magic and fantasy, there were many lessons about real lives! 

Tired and slightly out-of-breath, I waited for their decision with the intenseness of one who actually knew destiny hung in the balance.  But as soon as they gave their hesitant nods, something slipped away from the forefront of my consciousness, only to weigh on my mind again eight years later as I write this article and as I reflect on college life as a freshman in the fall of 2012. 

Eight years, in which I have devoted myself to writing. I think of my mother who gazes at her child, envisioning all that her daughter might do for the world.  I hope that my poems and stories will have the chance to mold a number of lives by the force and passion of my resolves etched in ink, like J. K. Rowling has done for me. 

Looking around my room, which is more of a library than a place to sleep, I can’t even comprehend how everything took such a radical turn.  How I’ve grown into this person that feels words in her heart and soul and who truly enjoys capturing the way light filters through the trees or the way a fire rages, with the stroke of the pen. My writings may or may not be mystical, but there is something inherently powerful about writing if I can preserve, create, and give life to moments in time.

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