In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Toy Story.”
Today’s Blogging101 assignment is to respond to the prompt on The Daily Post. The prompt is “What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?”
When I was in third grade, I started reading the Harry Potter series, and I absolutely loved it. I devoured the books as they came out, but that wasn’t enough for me. The idea of a world where magic existed and mystical creatures lurked everywhere was so alluring, I needed more. I played pretend Harry Potter with my friends. My grandma made us cloaks, and my dad made us wands out of wooden rods. We’d run around the yard yelling spells and reenacting scenes and pretending my dog had three heads. I went to a Harry Potter themed Girl Scout camp for a week and loved it. I wrote fanfiction. I secretly hoped that one day, my letter from Hogwarts would come and finally let me into this beautifully exotic world.
In the meantime, I craved more. My parents gave me a book called The Book of Wizard Craft. They thought it had something to do with Harry Potter, but it was a generic book filled with various “magical” experiments utilizing common household supplies. I loved this book for the same reason I loved Harry Potter. It gave me access to a world previous undiscovered. It opened up so many more possibilities for me than my small collection of experiences promised. Furthermore, instead of just pretending, I really was doing magic. I followed the instructions and there it was before my own eyes.
However, simply performing the experiments and observing the magic still wasn’t enough for me. I now wanted to know how these phenomena happened. I wanted to know why the “Fizzing Phantom Potion” bubbled violently when I added baking powder and vinegar and how “Presto Change-o Chameleon Water” changed back and forth from clear to bluish black. Countless hours were spent working through each experiment over and over, closely watching the transformations take place, examining the ingredients, and trying different approaching to determine the change in results. I didn’t realize until later that my fascination wasn’t with magic, but with the reality of matter itself and how different substances interacted to create the colorful, explosive, or otherwise surprising reactions we observe. Even at this young age, I was an analytical chemist at heart, and so I eventually grew tired of the magic book because it didn’t offer the answers I craved.
I realize that what I do now is exactly the same thing I did back then except with more expensive instrumentation and slightly less common household supplies. It all boils down to me doing an experiment, wondering what in God’s name just happened, and then repeating the experiment or doing more experiments until I can figure out what happened. I still love magic, but I’m not satisfied until I understand the magic. I guess as grown-ups we call that science.