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The Ghost in the Stereoscope, ca. 1856

No one ever mentions that a solid third of the Harry Potter series is just accounts of the gang doing homework. Or worrying about an internal school sport league. Yes, there’s a shady presence stalking the protagonist’s psyche and threatening racial genocide, but there’s also exams to be passed and essays to coerce your only female friend to write for you. And Voldemort respectfully tends to schedule his destructive plans towards the end of the school year. Despite its monsters and menaces, this world is not terrifying but comforting and coherent, at least from the reader’s bird’s eye view. …

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Two girls by the water’s edge by Anna Nordgren

I got my first period when I was 9 years old. Or that’s what I tell people. The truth is that it’s not a clear memory — I might have been a young 10.

If pushed, I would say I was bewildered, embarrassed, in shock. But in truth, none of those words ring true. It is just too hard to rummage back fifteen years and try to feel now the contours of emotions then. Whatever I felt was not solid and expressible. It was just a tiny illuminated edge of unknown unknowns, barely perceptible, but obvious once you know the…

If you type the ‘f’ into the bar of my internet browser, the letters ‘acebook’ fall in line behind it. I can enter that blue world in two little key strokes: ‘f’ + ‘enter’. My muscle memory leads me there in milliseconds. Nowadays, this two-step routine makes me feel nostalgic. It pops up on my internet strolls like a once well-trod pathway that retains the marks of old attention. But what it used to make me feel is shame. I would cringe at the fact that this machine had optimised itself so perfectly towards what, by regretful but continuous treading…

Clare Kelly

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