“You should really read Harry Potter,” my older sister said to me for the umpteenth time that month. “You’d like it.”
I sneered and thought she didn’t know what she was talking about. I was fifteen years old and I was serious about being that age. I spent my spare time writing poetry and reading Shakespeare plays alone in my room. “I don’t know…”
“You’d like it!”
It was summer, so I was out of school and really bored. All of my friends were a year older and had cars and jobs, so I was left at home, alone, with my terrible, moody poetry. By the time it was August, I was so bored that I caved and borrowed my sister’s edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
I finished it in one day.
Next, I tore into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I remember stumbling into the kitchen to get some iced tea and an apple and my mom said in worry, “I think you need to put the book down, sweetie. You’re straining your eyes.”
“But you don’t understand, Mom!” I whined. “Everyone thinks Harry’s the Heir of Slytherin! He’s hearing things in the walls! I have to know what happens! God! You just don’t understand!”
My mom just gave me this look that said, “I can’t believe my daughter has finally turned into a whiny teenager, but instead of a boy, it’s all over a boy wizard,” and I left the room to be alone with my beloved book.
Two days later, I was home alone and I was screaming throughout the house, “OH MY GOD! IT WAS SCABBERS!”
I was officially obsessed with Harry Potter and officially a lifelong devotee of J. K. Rowling.
J. K. Rowling, or Jo Rowling, wrote the first Harry Potter book while living as a single mother on welfare in Scotland, which a lot of people like to paint as romantic, but in reality is punk rock. When she reached a point in her life where others would give up, she decided to take her situation as an inspiration to be creative. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at creative rock bottom and turned to the documentary, “J. K. Rowling: A Year In The Life”, for much needed encouragement and inspiration. (Okay, probably seven times, or thirty.) I just think she’s a woman of talent, grace, discipline, wit and courage. She’s the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up. She’s utterly majestic .
You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but why is J. K. Rowling a Crush of the Week, then? Shouldn’t she be a Crush for Life?” She is a “Crush for Life”. This week, however, Jo did something exceptionally amazing. This past Thursday, she published her first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy.
The easiest thing for J. K. Rowling to do at this point would be to sit on a pile of her money in her Edinburgh mansion and sing Nicki Minaj’s “I’m the Best” on a loop until the day she died. No one, save for her myriad of jealous haters, could begrudge her this glory. But Rowling isn’t resting on her laurels–or her mountains of money–she’s still writing. She’s writing what she wants to write when she wants to do it. It’s about pure creativity!
People often talk about how important it is not to give up after you’ve suffered a setback. No one ever mentions how it’s equally important not to give up after you’ve had a success. I often fall into the trap of doing pretty well at something and then never trying it again for fear that it will never be as good as it was before. The success of the Harry Potter series was so overwhelmingly unusual, that it’s impossible that anything J. K. Rowling will write again will even meet a fraction of its success. Not only that, but by writing for adults, Rowling is announcing herself as a new talent in a much more critically abrasive world. Some would say that she has everything to lose and nothing to gain.
But that’s not true at all.
By writing and publishing a book for the pure joy of it, J. K. Rowling is showing that she is someone who loves the act and art of writing in and of itself. She didn’t write the Harry Potter books believing she was going to make millions and millions of dollars. She wrote those books because there was a story within her that she felt needed to be shared with the world. She’s keeping that integrity as a storytelling today. Some people will love The Casual Vacancy and others will hate it. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that she told the story she wanted to tell.
Because of her creative courage, J. K. Rowling is my Crush of the Week.
Okay, fine, she’s my Lady Crush for Life.
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