I never played “wedding” as a child; my Barbie dolls were always single novelists living in the city, and I was appalled when my favorite Disney character – Ariel from The Little Mermaid – left her life under the sea to walk on land with a man.
It might’ve been my mother who turned me into an early feminist. She was the one who lightheartedly taught me to say, “All men are chauvinist pigs” at the ripe age of 4 in order to floor my semi-bigoted uncle.
But I think my fierce independence ran deeper than that.
As an only child, I spent much time by myself either playing in the forest that surrounds my childhood home, or in my head while writing fiction. I felt enlivened and free in the fantasy worlds I created.
When the film “The Craft” came out in 1996, my 11-year-old imagination went to town.
I bought several books on magic and Wicca. Converting from Christianity never crossed my mind. I simply wanted to learn about things I didn’t understand. I was bound and determined that I could make things happen with my mind.
My mother knew that I wasn’t worshiping Satan or any such nonsense, and so, with a distant but mindful eye, she let my curiosities run wild.
Unfortunately many of my friends’ parents didn’t approve.
I was at a sleepover and had brought a book on candle magic; my friends were interested, so I delivered.
At the end of the evening, we cuddled under blankets in the living room and watched TV.
During the movie my friend’s mother called me into the kitchen. When I got there, I saw that my candle book was lying on the table.
“What is this?” she asked. Her expression was mixed with anger and fear. I was speechless; I couldn’t believe she’d gone through my things. When I failed to respond, she said, “Your mother’s on her way.”