The wizarding world of Harry Potter is an etymologist’s playground. Very few characters have meaningless names, even the bland-sounding Harry Potter, whose name implies great leadership skills and the overthrowing of an old regime.

I mean, wow, spoiler alert.

By dissecting the names of certain characters in the Harry Potter series, some major plot points become blindingly obvious.

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Photo by Rae Tian on Unsplash

Remus Lupin

Newsflash: Remus Lupin is a werewolf. No need to read the books or watch the movies to know this to be true — just take a look at his name! Lupin comes from the Latin word lupinus and gives wolves their scientific…


Add an audiobook to your idle hours and you’ll be amazed at how much you can read every day.

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Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

I get it, you’re busy. Between work, family, household upkeep, and your commute, you just don’t have any time left.

But you do.

Most likely, your phone is either in your hand or within easy reach right now. Your phone is jam-packed with books! All you have to do is listen.

If you have time for chores, you have time to read.

Cleaning is not fun. It’s repetitive, brainless, and sometimes it’s kind of gross. Plus, it’s a major time-suck. It’s easy to get fed up and just walk away from a mess, but that’s really not a good idea.

You’ll need an escape for your mind while you clean.

Television…


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Image AP

The average lifespan of a monolith in 2020 is about 4 days.

The first unexplained monolith, which appeared in the Utah desert in November, lasted for about 10 days before a group of people dismantled it, proclaiming that it was a piece of litter. To be fair, the monolith was located in an environmentally delicate area, and the sudden surge in tourism caused irrevocable human damage to the landscape. In order to preserve Utah’s natural beauty, vigilantes evidently stepped in to “leave no trace.”

The second monolith in the Romanian city of Piatra Neamt was in place for just about…


A 100-word holiday story

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

“There’s, like, a huge pile of packages out here, did you know?”

“Get out of the way!” I shouted, toppling my children like bowling pins.

“What’s in there, mom? Is it for us?” asked my mosquitoes.

“None of your business!”

My stomping covered the clamorous clattering of toys as I dragged the heavy stack upstairs. I crammed the boxes in my closet and hid them behind rarely-worn dresses. An old blanket covered the teetering mountain.

“Can we see?”

“No! Don’t come in here!”

Slamming the door shut, I wondered if they could have guessed that their Christmas presents had arrived.


This is what Grammarly does to your writing

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Have you been considering shelling out money for Grammarly Premium? If you write a lot, it’s probably crossed your mind, but between Grammarly’s reputation and the high price tag, you’ve probably shied away.

So what do actually you get with Grammarly Premium? Is it worth it? Today, we investigate.

Below is about 250 words of unedited text describing my prior experience with the free version of Grammarly. Then, I’ll run that text through the paid version. Let’s see what happens!

This is the original text with only minor self-editing.

I spotted a few errors already, but I let them slide to allow Grammarly to do its thing. …


Take a look at your work from a new perspective

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Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

Editing is nearly as important as writing, and there’s no lack of information on how to do it properly.

It’s worth running your writing through programs like Grammarly and Hemingway App. They aren’t perfect, but they’ll catch your most egregious errors. Read your work aloud and allow your work to rest. Nix the passive voice, strengthen weak verbs, and replace adverbs — that’s all solid advice.

But it’s not always about catching spelling mistakes and moving commas. Sometimes it’s all about how you see things.

Change the font or the color

Boring old Arial is great, but what does that font say about your writing? If…


Even a super-skeptic like me can reap the psychological benefits of crystals.

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Photo by Franco Antonio Giovanella on Unsplash

I know what you’re thinking. Why would a skeptic be interested in crystal healing? Isn’t that reserved for crunchy people who take their horoscopes way too seriously? Rocks are just rocks; they don’t do anything. Maybe, but a love of crystals isn’t just for geologists and yoga instructors anymore.

I’m not spiritual. I don’t even believe in a higher power. But for me, healing crystals are something else entirely.

Kids collect rocks and become attached to them. They decorate their little kid bedrooms and fill their little kid pockets with the shiniest, sparkliest pieces of gravel they can find. Each…


Someday, carpal tunnel’s going to catch up with me.

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Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex with the Author in 2019

Whether the medium is text, yarn, or food, I’m always making something with my hands.

I’m a writer.

That’s the wildest part about becoming one — just the very act of writing and then saying that you do it is enough to qualify you as a writer. Imagine if becoming a surgeon worked that way!

I’ve allowed my degree in Creative Writing to gather dust, but in these last few months, I’ve decided I’m ready to try again. It’s been hard to trust myself enough to click “publish,” but I’m going all in. I absolutely refuse to stop writing again. Currently, I’m a…


The only kind of influencers I want to see are the ones that spread joy.

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Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

Don’t get me wrong — Instagram is my social media drug of choice.

I love a good beach photo with a weird vague inspirational caption. I actually do want to see what my friends are eating for dinner. Funny pets and blooming flowers make my day. Feeling cute? Post that selfie!

But I don’t want to see yours. Chances are, your profile is brimming with negativity and sales pitches.

There is a very limited number of pages I will follow. That list includes family, close friends, a few foodies, and select artists.

That’s it.

All I want to see on…


Sometimes science needs an open mind to make major discoveries

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Okapi photo from https://www.zoo-leipzig.de

In the mountainous rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a miniature giraffe with zebra stripes slips silently between the trees, almost never observed by humans. The gentle creature is larger than a man, has horns, and a long blue tongue. When presented with the description of this creature, 19th century Westerners mockingly called it the African unicorn. Too many badly taxidermied hoaxes had jaded biologists, and it was deemed a cryptid.

Okapis had nearly evaded Western discovery due to skepticism and reluctant research.

Amazingly, a 5-foot tall, 8-foot long, 700 pound animal had gone nearly undetected. Okapis are perfectly…

Sarah Czarnecki

Storyteller. Yarn spinner.

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