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  • Writer's pictureAubrey Clyburn

Letter to my not-quite-11-year-old self

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

July 26, 2009

Dear Aubrey,

Happy almost-11th birthday! You must be so excited. I won’t tell you to go to sleep, because I know you’re going to stay up all night watching that little octagon-shaped window for a snowy owl. After all, if your Hogwarts letter is coming, it had better get here tonight.

Now, I don’t want you to give up just yet – it’s too early for that. But I want to tell you something, just in case you don’t get a letter. I want to tell you that no matter what happens, your life is going to be full of magic.

You’ll have exciting classes that surprise you every day. You’ll take Characterization instead of Transfiguration and Stage Combat instead of Defense Against the Dark Arts. Arithmancy won’t matter, but you’ll get so far in math that it’ll start to look like wizardry. There won’t be a lake with a giant squid, but there will be a river with mermaids. Instead of the Yule Ball you’ll go to prom, and it’ll be more fun than you expect. I won’t promise any flying cars or broomsticks, but driving a regular car is still pretty cool. (Slow down!) You will have to write lots of essays, in Microsoft Word instead of on parchment. And don’t worry about taking O.W.L.s or N.E.W.T.s – you’ll do just fine with the SAT, ACT, and AP exams. You’ll sneak into museums when you should be in class, and you’ll spend an absurd amount of time at the library. And you will travel to London! Just give it about ten years. You’ll even catch a train at King’s Cross Station. (If you can remember, try to be a little earlier.)

You won’t have a wand, but you will learn to cast a spell. You’ll have friends who make magic out of words, sounds, light, fabric, wood and paint. And you will know people who teach you about more important things than books and cleverness. There will be no prophecies, only guesses and hopes and expectations and fears. Things will get darker and more complicated as time goes on. (Movie #7 will be so dark and complicated, it’ll come in two parts. I know!!)

Remember it, all of it, please. Write it down. Take pictures and keep them, even the bad ones. Say things you’re afraid to say. Magic words won’t sound like “Expelliarmus”, they’ll sound like “Yes” and “I’ll try” and “You can do anything” and “I’m listening”, and also like “No”. Remember, you have to say them out loud - nonverbal magic is for the masters.

Just now things are especially complicated, and pretty scary. I can’t tell you what will happen after this. I only know, little Aubrey, that your life is going to be an adventure.



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