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  1. April 7, 2018: Reflections after five years (Or twelve, depending on how you look at it) @RoxiMalfoy did one of these last week, and having come up on my own milestone, I’m jumping on the bandwagon I can’t believe it was this long, but I first joined the Harry Potter fandom twelve years ago. It was a very sudden thing. I had read half of the first book years before and not really gotten into it much (…what was I thinking?!), so I forgot about it until around April 2006 when a friend found out I’d never read the books and told me I had to. So I did – I read all six that were out at the time, and searched the internet for anything more I could devour. I found a forum where people were discussing theories for the next book, and jumped right in. People were also writing fanfiction there, and I tentatively (and very skeptically, I’ll admit) had a look around – I had never read fanfiction before, but I was already unfairly judgemental about it because I’d heard it was stupid. (A reputation that very much bothers me now, but I’ll save that for another blog.) Anyway, I opened up one Marauders fanfiction and was sucked in. I began writing my own first fanfiction a few months later (which took six and a half years to finish, but that’s another story ). The rest, as they say, is history. That forum, and particularly the fanfiction part of it, became a beloved community for a few years. In 2013, I heard that forum was going to shut down. Most of the activity had died out a few years before, and it was somewhat of a ghost town, but it was still kind of sad to say goodbye to it. I decided to move my two stories to a new place, and I thought of HPFF, because someone had once recommended a story to me there years before (it was Delicate, in case anyone wondered ) Aside from reading the one story there, I’d never had much to do with the site – it was just so big and kind of seemed overwhelming, but I created an account there. That was five years ago, to the day. I never planned on writing more stories, I just intended to finish the one I was working on at the time. But I discovered the HPFF forums and entered challenges and got constructive reviews and read incredible stories by talented authors and made wonderful friendships and improved so much as a writer. Whatever I may feel about HPFF now, I will always treasure what I got out of it and the amazing community atmosphere that flourished there at that time. Especially because during all these years I’ve been moving around a lot for my fieldwork, and HPFF was like my internet home, the one thing that was constant. Of course, I was devastated when that all fell apart, and I don’t know what I would have done if HPFT hadn’t risen from that wreckage, keeping all of the good things intact and leaving behind all the bad. It’s true I’ve had a lot of trouble writing since the Drama at HPFF two years ago, but what always picked me back up again was the community here at HPFT. Despite my intense writers block for years, it was honestly the encouragement I got here that motivated me to finish my latest WIP. People here are so encouraging and understanding, and you are all what really make this place amazing. The community is the heart of this place. Even though I’m basically not around anymore due to my remote living situation, I always feel so welcome whenever I check back in, and see all these messages that I appreciate so, so much. It’s easy to feel disconnected out here, but you always pull me back in with open arms. Even if I never wrote another word again, I’d still stick around on the periphery just because I love all of you. I have high hopes for writing this spring, though. For the past few weeks I’ve actually been wanting to write again, which hasn’t happened for two years. I don’t have internet where I live, which is frustrating, but also probably very good for my productivity – I can’t just waste time on Twitter, I actually have to write Only time will tell, I guess. Anyway, just in case it got lost in this very long, rambling description of my journey for the past five years as part of this community (or twelve, if you count the wider HP fanfiction community), it’s been so rewarding to be a part of HPFT. I’m always so thrilled to see the incredible support here and how thoughtful and intelligent everyone is here. Thanks, HPFT, for everything. This place is awesome, and I'm so happy to be part of the HPFT family. for everyone.