Creating Positive: Day 13 of 21

The trouble now is deciding which daily positive experience to share in this medium! I start out thinking it’s going to be one thing, and then it turns into a completely different moment from my day. I’m grateful for this challenge! And speaking of challenges, how’s the Dopamine Challenge treating you? What has been a particularly memorable experience for you so far?

The Other Three

  1. Exercise – nope
  2. Meditate – done
  3. Kindness – done


  1. Sleeping late
  2. The helpfulness of Apple employees
  3. Crying (again) when Dobby dies
  4. Making my own naan!
  5. Movie candy at home
  6. Avatar cartoon series
  7. Clean Sheet Day

Positive Experience

I well remember the day I was first introduced to Harry Potter. It seemed obvious to me that any book(s) that were grabbing the interest of so many young people across the globe had to be worth at least a cursory glance from me. But like the others before me, there was no turning back once I read:

Dear Mr. Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that  you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.

Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.

Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall,

Deputy Headmistress


My daughter and I have been experiencing the story differently this time (who’s counting how many times and ways we’ve read them?) by listening our way through the audio version of all seven books, and we are now halfway through the final book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Dobby just died again, and again I am overcome with tears. Driving through town, my daughter sitting next to me just as affected as me, but perhaps not as willing to show it, I allow my emotions to roll shamelessly onto my shirt, and I am grateful in this moment for the power of words, the capability of story, and my shared love of literature with this beautiful young woman to whom I’ve been reading out loud since before her ears were formed in my belly.

For Mariam

Most nights you could find me under my covers with a flashlight, chewing an old piece of gum I retrieved from the stockpile on the back of my headboard, heart pounding so loudly I was sure my parents could hear it down the hall and would implicate me at any moment, and reading. I read most anything I could get my hands on – and I’m sure our very frequent trips to the public library were amusing to the casual observer. I always went home with a pile of books taller than me (I realize it doesn’t take many books to make that stack), and within a couple of days I was ready to exchange them all for new ones. I had my personal favorites – books I read over and over again, but I always enjoyed new stories, too.

Recently a dear friend asked me to list some of the most influential books I’ve read. Since I read a lot of fiction and non-fiction, alike, my first list is only comprised of works of fiction. I found this to be a daunting task. What if I forget one? What if my list isn’t that impressive? What if no one else has ever heard of any of my books? What if my readers laugh at me? (Just kidding. You can laugh all you want; I do it all the time.)

I took a deep breath, grabbed my pen and my notebook and started writing. I know if a book comes to me later – I can add it; that’s the beautiful thing about the “Edit” option in WordPress! This list of books is my list – and these books in one way, or in many ways, have made an impression on me, and that’s why I created it. If you haven’t heard of any of these books – it will be a great list to take with you to the library, and if you laugh, then I will feel even happier I took the time to write it all down.

I plan to write about each book individually to explain its impact on me, but for now we at least have a starting point. What are some of the books on your fiction list? Let’s compare notes! Leave a comment to get the dialogue going because I’m always looking for my next read.

  1. A Thousand Splendid Suns
  2. All of a Kind Family
  3. All Quiet on the Western Front
  4. Anne of Green Gables
  5. Cold Sassy Tree
  6. Harry Potter – all seven of them
  7. James and the Giant Peach
  8. Jane Eyre
  9. The Kite Runner
  10. Little House on the Prairie
  11. The Lord of the Rings
  12. Mama Day
  13. The Neverending Story
  14. The Poisonwood Bible
  15. Possession: A Love Story
  16. The Secret Garden
  17. The Secret Life of Bees
  18. The Witch of Blackbird Pond