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Mark Barrowcliffe

“I thought it very likely I might have this sort of untestable power myself. It was kind of logical--no good at sport, alrightish at my studies, there must have been some field in which I excelled. Magic had to be it.

It's difficult for adults to picture just what a grip these fantasies can take on a child. There's occasionally a reminder as a kid throws himself off a roof pretending to be Batman, but mostly the interior life of children goes unnoticed.

When I say I thought I could be a wizard, that's exactly true. I really did believe I had latent magical powers, and, with enough concentration and fiddling my fingers into strange patterns, I might suddenly find how to unlock the magic inside me.

I wouldn't call this a delusion, more a very strong suspicion. I'd weighed all the evidence, and that was the likely conclusion--so much so that I had to stop myself trying to turn Matt Bradon into a fly when he was jumping up and down on the desk in French saying, "Miss, what are mammary glands?" to the big-breasted Miss Mundsley. I feared that, if I succeeded, I might not be able to turn him back. It was important, I knew, to use my powers wisely.

There's nothing that you'd have to call a psychoanalyst in for here. At the bottom line my growing interest in fantasy was just an expression of a very common feeling--"there's got to be something better than this," an easy one to have in the drab Midlands of the 1970s. I couldn't see it, though. My world was very small, and I couldn't imagine making things better incrementally, only a total escape.”


Mark Barrowcliffe, The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons And Growing Up Strange
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