I have a major confession that I hope will not result in me being tarred-and-feathered. I have not read even one of the Harry Potter novels, and it is quite possible I never will. However, my ignorance as far as everything Potter has not been so thorough that I am unaware of the little wizard’s impact on our culture (He is a wizard, correct?). Potter, nor his creator, J.K. Rowling, needs my seal of approval. The votes have already been cast. Millions of book sales. Hundreds of millions in movie revenue for this past weekend’s Deathly Hallows: Part II alone.
Harry Potter is doing just fine without Phillip Thomas Duck.
Nevertheless, I find myself compelled to express my high regard and appreciation for the series. I am a writer, and a decent enough one according to some (the others are delusional), but I was a reader first. Dr. Seuss and later the Hardy Boys. Quick pause while I scan through a Hardy on my bookshelf for the first line:
“Iola’s missing?” Chet Morton gasped as he ran up the driveway to the Hardy home.
Okay, I’m back. I don’t know Iola from a can of paint but she is missing and I, right along with Chet, am certain something needs to be done. Go get ‘em Hardys!
Eventually, I graduated from the Hardy Boys to more adult fare. A Stephen King here and there. One of the naughty Anne Rice’s too steamy for Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. James Patterson. Eric Jerome Dickey. George Pelecanos. Walter Mosley. Lee Child. James Lee Burke.
If every author I’ve loved were a brick, I could build an additional wing onto the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Thank you, Wikipedia).
My love of reading ultimately fueled a love of…this is brilliant stuff, so pay attention…a love of words.
made me want to be a writer. I knew by writing I would have the opportunity (hopefully) to transport someone to another world peopled with characters I invented. I could make readers laugh, or cry, think, or simply drift away (drift being different than falling asleep). Reading
I write books about flawed people and broken relationships. Husbands that forget anniversaries and wives that make forgetting easy. Absent fathers and those that stuck around but should have gone on a twenty-five year run to the store for cigarettes. I also write about violent men with soft spots for discarded women. And troubled teens with both the intelligence and will to overcome their circumstances.
I write about people you know.
I write about you.
I am beyond grateful for the writing opportunities I’ve had as well as those that are still to come. But I am even more grateful for every book I’ve read.
So who in the world is Neville Longbottom?
Most would say a transcendent character in Harry Potter.
I say INSPIRATION.