Saturday, October 2, 2010


From the couch of AC2, Sparker.

I- AC2- am a huge Harry Potter nerd/fan/dork/however you want to say it. I think J.K. Rowling is a magnificent writer and I love the world that she built and that she believes, like Madeline L'Engle*- that children can deal with the dark and heavy and the hard questions because they are as much a part of life as the happiness and magic; indeed experiencing one can only strengthen the regard we have for the other.

Naturally I had to try and find Rowling's interview with Oprah that aired today and the internets did not disappoint me (Leaky Cauldron FTW!). What surprised me is that in my natural state of procrastination, I should find just the words that made me want to stay- not on track- but to do better than I have been by far. (It's amazing just how demoralizing unemployment is, friends, I will say that.)

"Failure. Failure. It's so important; it doesn't get spoken about enough- we speak about success all the time. But you know- I do not know any- I haven't met- and I've been so fortunate to have met extraordinary people through Harry Potter-and not one of them didn't have their failure, their more than one failure- and it's the ability to resist- to resist failure in may ways, or use failure that often leads to the greatest success, isn't it? So yeah. Failure.

I've often met people who- who um, are terrified- you know, in a straight jacket of their own making because they'd rather do anything than fail, they don't want to try for fear of failing. Well that's the rock bottom thing- rock bottom wasn't fun. At all. I'm not going to romanticize rock bottom. But- it was liberating. What did I have to lose?"

There is power in that freedom. I have a hard time with the fear of Doing Things Wrong (I think this is a trait common in anyone who likes to please people or has ever been accused of being a "goody two-shoes") and that brings in quite a scope for failure. It's why I love being friends with people like Lauren Carter, who push me out of my boundaries and get me to try things I might never have done on my own otherwise. I am more of a perfectionist than I am willing to admit, even to myself. (This becomes a funny contradiction when I'll, say, let cleaning go for longer than I should because I don't have time to clean it perfectly. That's weird, I know.)

So while I'm not starving and it's probable I'll find some sort of job before I get evicted (and therefore I'm not, you know, digging up the scuba gear that originally dubbed us the Aquatic Cousins in order to explore the water table under rock bottom), I have quite a long way before I get anywhere near where I'd like to be- where I've probably unconsciously expected I'd be- at this point in my life. Whether that's actually a "failure" or not will always be judged differently by All Who Can Be Called Them.

I think I will listen to Ms. Rowling for a while. She seems to have done rather well for herself.

P.S. Oprah are you hiring?!


*There's a quote from Madeline L'Engle that I love also: "You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."

I have a huge love for YA (young-adult) lit and I can't believe how overlooked it is. Twilight is not an exception because Twilight is horribly written- I'm happy if it acts as a gateway to reading better books, though. Try His Dark Materials or The Hunger Games. Those books will sit with you long after you have read them. . . and might even make you think a little differently. That, in my mind, is what a good book should do.

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