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Lee Conell, Age 8
A writer whose stories have appeared in publications such as American Short Fiction, The Kenyon Review, Indiana Review, Guernica, Crazyhorse, and The Collagist, Lee Conell is the author of Subcortical, forthcoming this winter from Johns Hopkins. She wrote this story in the third grade.
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— Lee Conell, Age 8
“When I was eight, I lived with my parents and dog in a basement apartment in New York City. There were these timed automatic lights that would go on and off at night just outside my window. When the lights turned on, they’d cast all the books and toys in my room in a new weird glow. Which really freaked me out. But I was just starting to realize that by writing about my fears, I could temporarily transform them into something that felt very different. When I wasn’t experiencing bed time worries, I was learning about birds in Inwood Hill Park or spending time with my best friend imagining up new worlds where we had to fight fire demons and collect magic crystals in order to stop the forces of evil. I was also reading constantly: books by Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, Edward Eager, and also various nonfiction books about dogs rescuing their owners in snow storms.”