Once upon a time…

…there was a girl who loved to read.

I don’t feel like keeping up this contrived use of the third-person POV, so right now I’ll say: that girl was me.

Before I could even read, I loved books, loved listening to my parents reading them to me, loved turning the pages, never tearing a single one. As soon as I learned how to decode each letter, translate each shape into sound and put them together into words, I jumped immediately into reading all I could. I raced through the books we got in class…

Much, much duller than the cover suggests. Much, much duller.
Much, much duller than the cover suggests.

…on to lengthier works of fiction (usually animal-related).

Probably read this during my horse phase.
I read this one (and every other horse-related book I could find) during my horse-crazy phase in elementary school.
The first chapter book I can remember reading.
The first chapter book I can remember reading.
This and "Minn of the Mississippi" (about a snapping turtle) are two wonderfully illustrated books I read many times as a kid.
This and “Minn of the Mississippi” (about a snapping turtle) are beautifully illustrated, among my favorites as a child and to this day.

Fantasy soon enthralled me with its strangeness and possibilities. One of my earliest exposures to the genre was during kindergarten when the first Harry Potter movie came out. If I wanted to see the movie, my mom told me, I had to read the book first. So I did. It took about a week, and all I remember about the experience is that I couldn’t figure out how “centaur” should be pronounced, but Mom tells me I seemed to understand most of it. Science fiction soon became another favorite genre, though I can’t remember any books in particular that introduced me to it.

I was never without at least one, but often three or more, books. After one unfortunate incident, I reluctantly gave up on reading in the tub, but that was about it. At meals, during class, instead of homework, on the floor by the glow of a nightlight–I don’t think I went a waking hour without a book open before me. This was frequently a problem, because it got in the way of schoolwork, chores, and sleep. I don’t think I’m stretching too far when I say I was addicted to reading.

Apart from reading, I have always loved nature–ponds and woods especially. From my toddler years well through middle school, I spent hours each week catching butterflies, bees, moths, frogs, toads, minnows…. I once rigged a squirrel trap in our yard  using a rummage-sale birdcage, its door propped open with a stick tied to a peanut butter cracker. It worked, and I learned that an angry gray squirrel is much scarier than you’d expect.

(I regret to inform the reader that my video of the infuriated squirrel chattering/growling and baring its teeth while my dad opened the cage with a broom handle was on an old computer and so cannot be inserted here.)

(Actually, the squirrel I caught was much angrier than this. But this will have to do.)
In elementary through middle school, my particular obsessions were (in a rough chronological order): rocks and minerals (especially fossils), horses, bats, birds, dogs, wolves, cats. In my last year of middle school, I researched body modification: piercings, tattoos, scarification, dermal implants–mostly in secret because of my parents’ stringent disapproval.

In high school, my friends introduced me to manga, and I spent a summer trying (and failing) to learn the art style. (I was good at copying exactly, no tracing, but pretty abysmal when I came to creating my own drawings from scratch.) From there, I moved on to fairy tales and folklore, perhaps inspired by a childhood anthology of stories and nursery rhymes, which eventually fed a bonfire after I’d read it into a coverless, tattered bundle of pages. For about a year and a half, I spent precious homework time reading, comparing, discovering, and collecting all manner of tales and superstitions, the stranger and darker the better. Out of that phase I briefly moved to religion, but grew bored rather quickly and instead turned to collecting fairy tale illustrations to a Pinterest board, which I called “Intricate Cantrips,” the source of this blog’s title.

After more than two years spent on fairy tales and the like, I became interested in philosophy, psychology, poetry, edible plants, and anatomy and medicine.

Now, in college, I haven’t had so much time to dedicate to my obsessions, what with classes and homework as well as work and then an internship. Still, it continues: languages (Spanish, Mandarin, Irish, French, Japanese) and linguistics, true crime (mainly via podcast), all mixed together with my other interests, which I never quite abandoned.

My formal education also comes into play. In May, I will receive my Bachelor of Arts in English (Writing for New Media). My early love of reading and writing made this the obvious path, though I decided against a literature concentration because I didn’t want to go into academia. I am also an art minor, and my art and writing interact in more ways than I am conscious of.

From all of this, you can see why I settled on fairy tales and folklore as the central focus for this blog. I love to synthesize, recombine, and repurpose my interests and knowledge, and almost everything I’ve ever learned about can be connected to this topic. I get to read and write about such things as: talking animals, brutal crimes, beautiful imagery, superstitions, explorations of human nature and relationships, psychology, etymology, symbolism, and whatever else some detail or theme might draw out of the mass of disorganized associations that fill my mind.


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