My Own Mirror of Erised

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

If you are unfamiliar with the lore of Hogwarts, if your heart does not trill with the magic that dances within its stone walls, then perhaps you do not know the legends surrounding The Mirror of Erised. The mirror is magnificent, stretching up to the ceiling of a forgotten classroom buried within the stone walls of the school. It was held in an ornate gold frame with clawed feet and an inscription was carved along the top ‘Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.’ At first glance it seems like a beautifully imagined language, but much like its own name, when read backwards it begins to make sense: I show not your face but your heart’s desire.

The happiest man in the world could look into its glass and use it as a simple mirror. But for everyone else, they will see whatever they wish for their lives; no matter how grand or unattainable that dream may be. For Harry, who had never known his parents, he was surrounded by family. For Ron, who had always felt overshadowed by his many siblings, he stood above the rest. The story begs the question: what would you see? 

It’s an odd occurance when you come close to reaching a long coveted goal and the idea of its impending conclusion consumes you. Whenever I get close to grasping one of the milestones I have laid out for myself I get a laser focus. Aliens could invade tomorrow and I wouldn’t notice a thing out of the ordinary, even if they stood right in front of me and introduced themselves before tap dancing to the nearest 7-11 for a slushy. I can see my future so clearly I can taste it. I’ve been spending far too much time staring into my figurative mirror, my desires burning me up from the inside. Perhaps it’s a good thing my acceptance letter got lost in the post (they must have had one lazy owl on duty that day), because I can’t help but wonder if I would be that student so consumed by thoughts of their future that I would never step away from that glass.

Patience is a virtue, as the saying goes. Sadly, I don’t really know- it’s not something I’ve ever been particularly good at. Don’t misunderstand- I know how to wait, in fact, you could say that I’ve mastered the artform itself. I tend to take long strategic steps in my life, moving one piece after the others are all in their proper place. But I am never even remotely patient about it. I get anxious and antsy, desperate to keep moving, even if I only manage to spin my wheels. It feels like I’m at least doing something, making an attempt, though I perhaps have no progress to show for my efforts.

I stand knocking on the doors of my own opportunity, seeking admittance to the wonders just beyond. Once that door dares to crack just a hair, leaving open an infinitesimal possibility, I try jumping right in. This is both a blessing and a curse- sometimes it’s all about the timing, and being the first to hop up gives you the best shot. Other times you aren’t fully aware of what you are careening into and find yourself treading water in the deep end of the pool without your water wings.

Most good things in life come with some amount of sacrifice. If you want to be the best in your career or have a happy and healthy relationship, there is hard work involved. If you want to be a writer then you invest your time, your heart and your soul. If you want to make it through school with as little debt as possible you must sacrifice a certain amount of independence and privacy- to live with other people and find a certain level of financial security. But there are things in life that are well worth the sacrifice it took to get them.

My hopes for my future are not particularly grandious in design; I want a house to call my own, a place where my dog can run amok without bothering any roommates or relatives we happen to be living with. I want a certain level of financial security, though I have never needed much. I want to cook dinner in my own kitchen while dancing to my favorite music. I want to sit on my back porch and write the stories that trill through my soul. I want to let the passion of the words consume me fully as I delve into a world of my own imaginings.  This is what I see when I look into my figurative mirror. I see a girl who gave up a lot to secure a future that is still a bit precarious. I see a girl who finally made it to that place so many people take for granted. I see a house that I can make a home. I see happy creatures and the man I’ve build a life with cuddling up to watch an episode of our favorite show. I see words seared into a page, my name on the cover- even if no one ever reads it. I see someone who can run a 5K on a whim without feeling like her body is careening dangerously close to self-destruct mode. I see a woman where a girl once stood. I see sacrifices that were well worth the pain of their investment. I see the fruits of my labor finally coming to fruition. 

The fact that I haven’t reached certain milestone by now has been a tough pill to swallow. Even though I know that these conscious decisions were made with my own best interests in mind. It still smarts a bit when I see where others are in their own lives. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself not to compare my life to theirs because our paths are very different. I think it’s human nature to stack up your accomplishments, deduct your failures and see where you stand amongst your peers. In some areas I am so proud of where I am and who I have become, and in others I know that there is more work to be done.

Suddenly and inexplicably, I have reached a point where a few of those visions I see in the mirror might actually become realities in the near future. Even though I’ve been worked towards it for so long, I was still caught off guard. The thing with unrealized dreams is that the moment you think there is an inkling of a possibility, you want to jump and snatch it before fate dangles it out of your reach again. This is where I have found myself. I am so giddy and entranced by this possibility that the thought of waiting another moment is excruciating. How is it that I could be so patient for years, and suddenly, now the thought of another few months tears at me?

The problem is that I’ve been too focused on the image I see in my own little Mirror of Erised. I have been sitting here watching that dream unfold on the other side of the glass, pressing my palms against it in the hopes that I can melt into this other world. I spent too much time looking in the mirror and forgetting that I needed to live it instead. I need to learn this thing they call patience and remember that there is still work to be done. The sacrifices that we make do not guarantee success. We make our decisions and cast the die, praying we weighted them enough to roll in our favor.

It is far too easy to lose perspective and stumble at the finish line. I may have a habit of taking the long way around, but sometimes the scenic route can be so beautiful if you slow down to enjoy it. Life will do whatever it wants with you- you have to learn to roll with every punch and leap at every viable opportunity. But don’t jump too soon, because you might land on some shaky ground. 

I must always remember that on this road, in persuit of my dreams, I cannot forget to look around and appreciate where I am. Life will not always be like this; for better , worse or indifferent. This moment is just as important as the others. So turn from the mirror, blink your eyes and find the joy in this moment right now. It’ll all work out in the end. You must have faith that you will find the road that will lead you home. Perhaps someday I will look in the glass and it will be just another mirror. Until that day, I still have dreams to chase. And I can only do that right here in this moment.

Expecto Patronum: Pottermore Strikes Again

On Thursday Pottermore made yet another dream of mine come true by giving us The Patronus Test. I think it goes without saying, that my inner geek was bouncing with excited delight, clapping her hands in pure rapture before pushing her glasses back up on her nose, wrapping herself in her Hogwarts scarf and settling in to answer some life-altering questions. The terrifying thing for me: you can only do this quiz once. There are no re-takes (unless you use another e-mail address to set up a whole new account). Your answers are final, your decision is set in stone and you must live with the creature you have summons.

So I gravely answered my questions like my literary life depended on it. And internally shouted the magical words before my creature flitted onto the screen:



I say ‘flitted’ because that’s exactly what it did. That’s right my friends, try not to gape in pure awe when you find out that I got…


A dragonfly. When one of the darkest and foulest creatures of the magical world comes to suck my soul out of my body, leaving me an empty shell full of only painful memory- I get an insect to protect me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against the winged little creatures; quite the contrary in fact, I do adore them. I even named my laptop Sparx after the little dragonfly companion that never leaves Spyro’s side (if you don’t know Spyro, well, then you must not have had a PlayStation in the early 2000’s- for shame, go find one and catch up). Like I said, I don’t have anything against dragonflies specifically, but something gives me the distinct impression that I would not last long in the wizarding world.

Naturally, me being the person that I am- I had to look up the meaning of my patronus. There had to be a reason why this little guy was going to be my sworn protector instead of, oh I don’t know, an actual dragon. This is what I found:


So I am passionate, joyful and have a hidden inner life…okay, I can roll with that. Which brings me to my next question: when fighting a dementor is it more important to have a ‘powerful’ creature, or a ‘happy creature’ because if happy is what we are looking for, then everyone get behind my little dragonfly- we are safe from the hordes of the cloak-wearing wraiths. But if we need to intimidate…well- does anyone have something a wee bit more intense- like an otter? It wont take much to outdo me on this point.

I’m actually not too disappointed in my cute little companion. I’m just going to make sure I stay in the company of some tougher characters- anyone out there with a wolf? Or- oh- a hippogriff? Because I would love to be the Neville to your Harry Potter.

How did you fare, my friends? Leave me a comment with your little (or big) protector and what you think about it, or meet me at the Leaky Cauldron and we can talk over a couple of butter beers (something I still need to attempt to make at home). Funny- even at 27, I still can’t get enough of my favorite fictional world.


Harry Potter is back (with a Cursed Child)

I couldn’t tell you where I first discovered the little paperback; I don’t know if a friend suggested it, or if, more likely, I spied it’s cartoonish cover on a nondescript shelf and found my interests piqued. After all- a boy with wild black hair and a lightning bolt scar sailing across the cover on a broomstick- what wasn’t to love? I don’t remember where I sat when I read the first page; as I have re-read it so many times that a multitude of images flash before me when I try to recall the moment. But I do remember the first time I read the very first words themselves, “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” By the time I reached the last sentence of the first chapter, I was tempted to raise my own Capri Sun in solidarity with the wizards, chorusing ‘To Harry Potter – the boy who lived!’ I was hooked faster than you could say Quiddich. And thus was born a literary love that still captures my imagination the same way it did when I was eleven years old and desperately awaiting my own owl.


J.K Rowling brought us a magical world full of hope, promise, curiosity and valuable life lessons. She brought to life a world of her own imaginings in such a beautiful way that even as adults, we find ourselves desperately attempting to recreate it. Don’t believe me? Look to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, or what about the Hogwarts Extreme events where you can actually take part in role playing at a re-creation of the infamous school? Movies have been made to emulate it, parties are thrown in it’s wondrous themes, the internet is full to bursting with fan fictions, stores are inundated with memorabilia, cookbooks tout nearest recipes to the treats and drinks mentioned within those fluttering pages. And lets be honest- how many of us kept holding our breath waiting for an owl to deliver a very special letter, no matter what age we were? Harry Potter brought light to a dark world, it brought people together on a level that is still hard to find. And now a new generation is coming to love it.

This post was originally meant to be a book review on ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,’ in fact, the first draft was already typed out and ready to go. But I couldn’t seem to bring myself to hit that little blue ‘publish’ button. So here I am, starting over. You see, reading the newest installment of the book that inspired so much passion within my younger self brought with it a slew of emotions that I am not entirely sure I know how to process yet.

Don’t worry- there are no spoilers coming to ruin your reading, this is a safe zone; consider it Grimmauld Place. As I read the newest installment, I found myself fighting two opposing feelings. To start; I was deeply disappointed with the portrayal of my childhood heroes. There was an air of depressing adulthood hovering around them that ruined my illusions about their happily every after lives. I don’t know about you, but I like to envision that after the dust has cleared, my favorite characters will still be the strong, admirable people they had become as we delved through those pages together. In this regard, I found them lacking- but that was just my own personal opinion. I will simply leave it at that and move on. Then there was the second feeling, the one that really took root in the second half of the play: once again I was able to experience the story with fresh eyes, not knowing what would happen next. It was the same excitement I felt whenever another new release came out; the same kind that sent me to the bookstore for a grand release, begging my parents for the money to purchase my very own hard cover copy which I would immediately run off to my room to read in complete silence. I remained fully immersed in the wizarding world that felt like a home away from home until the last page. It is a rare treat to find a book that will call such feelings to a soul. I was thrilled- I liked the main characters and had a genuine interest in what would happen to them. As for the Cursed Child, there were plot holes and character inconsistencies uncharacteristic of the author that has penned so many of the stories that I love, but I kept reading because at the heart of the story the crux was the same; it was a magical remembering of a bygone era in my own life. I can forgive much because it is Harry Potter, but on the flip side of that coin, I also know that I inadvertently hold it to a higher standard simply because I know what Ms. Rowling is truly capable of.

In spite of it all, do you know what the book really showed me? It showed me how much I missed the originals, how deeply I craved to find another literary world that I could fully immerse myself in like I did once upon a time when I was a child. I was always a deep lover of books; walking away from our regular trips to the library with a stack nearly as tall as myself (and I am not a short girl). It reminded me of the joys that the written word can bring you, the opportunities that it opens up, the lessons that it teaches. I missed it. And for just a little while, I was able to have that back- even though it wasn’t exactly the same.

There is something special about an author who can bring an entire world to life, that can make so many people feel so much for a few fictional characters. When friendships broke apart, I felt the heartbreak. When relationships formed, I celebrated with my own joy. When mysteries showed themselves, I pondered their answers long into the night. When people died, I shut the book and grieved. There are still scenes that I cringe to revisit, though I know I must re-read every word. And when victory was clutched from the hands of defeat, I felt the same pride welling within myself. As I said- it takes an author with a true talent for the craft to inspire such strong emotions using only the written word.

I always wanted to be able to write like her, with the same attention to detail, the same well plotted story line, connecting all of the seemingly insignificant dots throughout the thousands of pages that make up the series. I practice and I try, hoping that some day I might create something that is only half as magical. That is what it is really all about- this world of the storyteller. We want to reach people on a deeper level, we want to speak the secrets of their souls that they didn’t think anyone else understood. We want to give people an escape from a dark world, something to hope for, something to bond over, something to draw us all a bit closer to one another. Words have power- you don’t have to recite a lengthy political article to show people a way of living that they have been blind to. You have to simply tell them a story, something profoundly entertaining, and bury your meaning deep within. They will learn something without even realizing that it is happening.

As I said, I had originally meant for this post to be a book review- proclaiming the successes of the play and the sheer downfalls that left me feeling empty. But instead, I think my time is best served reminiscing over something that I loved; something that millions of others loved too. It is easy to poke a hole in another’s work, to shine a blinding light into the plot holes, emphasizing the inconsistencies. But look at all that has been accomplished. This week an entirely new generation got to feel the same excitement that we felt as children waiting in line for our own copies of the book. We got a chance to relive that same thrill ourselves. For the first time in a long time I had the unmatched joy of cracking open to that first page and finding characters that I still cherish waiting there inside for me. In spite of the things that I may not have been a fan of- that right there is what it is all about.

And if by chance Ms. Rowling finds it in her heart to grace the world with a prequel series about the Marauders- well, that would just be icing on the cake. So tonight I raise my glass and say Cheers to Harry Potter, the boy who lived, and thank his creator for a childhood full of beautiful memories and wondrous adventures.


Embrace Your Inner Geek Day

Happy Embrace Your Inner Geek Day! ‘Is that a real thing?’ you are probably asking yourself. The answer is yes, it has been one of those fun little ‘holidays’ for the past ten years now. See, look at that- the more you read, the more you’ll know. Now you can drop some knowledge on the people you run into this beautiful day (well, I hope it’s beautiful where you are, my friends). Personally, I stopped shoving my inner geek back into her shiny display box years ago- she is now fully embraced everyday, but I don’t see anything wrong with celebrating her existence right this moment. In fact, given recent nerdism events, it seems like the perfect time to start waving that freak flag high in the air.

It appears to me that in the past few years, being a geek has become a bit more mainstream. All of a sudden people want to hear about the vintage comic books I read, though they do tend to lose interest when I explain the differences between the ‘true’ origins and the Marvel movie origins. Everyone knows my hobbit ‘second breakfast’ reference, and they no longer blink at me in confusion when I mention the Misty Mountains. I am not the only one who can tell you without a second thought what Alohamora means, or inform you about what you would get if you were to add powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood (it created a sleeping potion known as the Draught of Living Death, courtesy of the illustrious Professor Snape). And I know that I am not the only one who’s heart raises in hope when I hear an owl hooting. Perhaps they are finally here to deliver my acceptance letter to Hogwarts- granted, it would be about fifteen years too late, but we all know how the post system can be. And besides, by now they probably have some form of adult education program, right? I am not ready to let that dream die just yet.


I have learned that it doesn’t have to be something unpopular or traditionally ‘nerdy’ to morph a well adjusted person into a geek. I know plenty of people who can geek out over sports, food, cars, etc. Geeking out about something has more to do with the excitement and the passion that you put into a subject, as opposed to what the subject is itself. Does it really matter if the thing that you love is popular or not? No- who cares, as long as it brings you joy. So why do we constantly feel the need to bash the things that people love?

I’m going to take a few minutes to discuss the new nerdism that is sweeping the nation and leaving people a bit confused in the process. Pokémon Go. Now, I will admit, I play- so my opinions will be a bit skewed, but hear me out- especially those of you who haven’t figured out what the big hype is. Full disclosure- I am a grown adult. I am 27 years old, I have a good job with full benefits and a retirement plan. I also spend the vast majority of my free time chasing that elusive dream of becoming a published author. If you come across me in my daily life, there is a ninety-five percent chance that you will find me working in one form or another. I am forever chasing a set goal, always running down the path of self-improvement. I love my to-do lists, I have an odd fascination with categorizing my productive time and list out my accomplishments vs unmet goals. To put it bluntly, I spend plently of my time as a perfectly boring adult. And I think that is the problem with most of us.

We get so bogged down in depressing news stories about the state of the world, our daily trials and tribulations, the mind-numbing chores and activities- and we forget how much fun there is to have in life. We age ourselves before the world can do it for us. I know how to maintain the balance between being a productive adult and letting my hair down to have fun; I can focus on my job when it’s time to work, I still meet all of my writing goals and deadlines, and my household chores are done in a timely manner. And yes, I can still find a few minutes during my daily dog-walking time to chase down a Charmander. As long as my version of fun doesn’t hurt anyone or cause some form of property damage- who cares what form it takes? At least I know not to take myself too seriously all the time. Life is supposed to have adventure, you might as well embrace it.

You see, Pokémon is something that I grew up with, it’s something that brings back good family memories of cramming into our old Ford F-250 with my parents and three siblings as we drove out into the mountains to hike or play in the snow. On the trips my sister, brothers and I all had our Gameboys out- Pokémon and Mario made up the majority of my game time (and don’t worry- I grew up in the last generation to enjoy the great outdoors, so I wasn’t lacking in sunshine fun either). So here I am, a grown adult with the opportunity to bring to life a childhood dream- of course I’m going to love the idea. It is reminiscent of a simpler time in my life, back when there was still magic and my biggest problem was my sister stealing my favorite Barbie doll. I miss when those were my problems, and I still believed that I could do anything I set my mind to- even end world hunger.

The only thing that has suffered since I started playing a few days ago: my TV/internet time. It’s easy to wind down at the end of the day with a good show or perusing the internet and social media. Now that time is filled with long walks, good friends, and excited four-legged companions. In the past day and a half I have walked roughly 30,000 steps, most of those were with my German Shepard who was unbelievably thrilled with the adventures of our trots through town. I talked to multiple strangers, hanging out with a few for about 20 minutes or so- this in itself is huge for someone with the social anxiety that normally sends me running in the opposite direction when my cheeks burning in shame. But think about it- there is a built in conversation starter and something to do when you aren’t sure what to say next- it’s a great way to branch out and meet other people without the usual pressures of typical daily interactions. I discovered four new statues I have never noticed before at a park I have been to about a dozen times. I went to a ‘concert in the park event’ during the lunch hour with my dog- another thing I typically avoid (large crowds are not on my list of favorites). I discovered a park a few blocks from my house that has a beautiful scenic walking trail and took my dog on an little adventure. We met up with a friend and let our two dogs try to socialize for the first time while we walked around town (both of our little fur babies are leery of strange pups). All of this activity because of one silly game I can download on my phone. Tell me, does that really sound like such a bad thing? (Below are a few of my discoveries, all thanks to Pokémon Go)

There is enough negativity in the world, so when people find something that they enjoy- why don’t we just celebrate that rare gift? We could all use some common ground, and if it happens to be standing in the park throwing virtual balls at a fake Squirtle- so be it. We spend too much time divided, we don’t need to continue drawing more lines in the sand.

So today I ask you to embrace the geek- whatever your hobbies may be, indulge yourself. Go back and re-read Harry Potter again, figure out how to make a litter box that looks like a Hobbit-hole, play Iron Man vs. the Hulk with your niece, put together a model airplane, wax the car, catch the Pikachu you’ve been tracking for the past three days, bake a dozen cupcakes and use candy to decorate them as monsters. Whatever it is that you love, go out there and do it. Be safe and enjoy. We only have one life to live, and the only way to feel young is to remember that you don’t have to be old just because the world tells you to. Take time to enjoy this crazy world that we live in because some days there is precious little to celebrate. So when we find a happiness, let’s embrace it, nurture it, and stop trying to stamp it out of one another. This world could use a little bit more kindness, don’t you think?