Years ago, when Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen came into this world, I often wondered if I’d ever get the chance to return to her origins. I imagined what it might be like to carry her to the feet of the Brothers Grimm statue at the Hanau Marktplatz, where her origins first tickled my imagination. And if I were to be so lucky, maybe I’d even get to visit at Christmas time, when the Christmas market is in full swing. After all, that’s when Libby came to Germany with her parents.

Hanau, Germany Christmas Market

Have you ever wondered if will affects fate? If you can wish for something enough that the chances of it becoming true are increased? Might a thought generate physical manifestation? Can the former beget the latter?

I often wonder. But regardless of whatever metaphysical truths we have yet to grasp, what I do know is this:

If you don’t wish it, think of it, hope for it–whatever phrase you want to use–then you won’t strive for it. And if you don’t strive for, then … what? If good fortune falls your way, even if it is exactly the thing you would have/could have wished for, you might enjoy the happenstance, but it would be devoid of the same meaning. Because you didn’t first imagine it. You didn’t will it into being. You didn’t make choices, or work for it to manifest.

Visiting the Abbey Ruins from Liberty Frye

Enough of that, because the point here is: Fantastico! What serendipity that I had the opportunity to visit the fourth and fifth graders at the Landstuhl Elementary School last week.

It was a great experience–I love the enthusiasm and limitless possibility that children see in life! And the bonus? Landstuhl is only 1.5 hours from Hanau, Germany: the birthplace of the Grimm brothers.

Liberty Frye visiting the Grimm brothers

And Rodenbach, where Libby stumbles through the winter night in Chapter Thirteen, The Witch in the Woods, is only a few minutes further by car. Of course Sam and I had to pay a visit to the setting of Sabine’s home: the Wolfgang Abbey Ruins!

Reading Chapter 13, Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen

Sitting there, reading my story in a place where years ago, I’d had just a spark of an idea, I realized all over again how precious that ephemeral, flitting, rip-in-the-fabric-of-reality thing is that we call thought.

Because thoughts are magic.

Our minds are magic. They can create something out of nothing, change the mundane into beauty, flip sorrow into joy. Thoughts weave an idea into a story, and if you stick with it long enough, they can even breathe that story into life. Thoughts let you see glitter in a rainstorm and turn a starless night into velvet.

Thoughts are what create the world around us; they are what make us each unique; they empower us to see and create realities that might not otherwise exist; they give us hope to strive for something better, just beyond. But first, we have to have the thought, the idea.

So to every educator or nurturer who encourages children to read, and not just read, but to foster our imaginations, thank you. Thank you for recognizing the magic inside each of us.