Monthly Archives: February 2014

If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Never Stop

Okay, so this is a rant. A writing related, very angry little rant. So, here we go.

This article popped on my news feed yesterday. With a title like “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It,” I knew I was going to be a bit miffed after reading it. Or that the author was going to be telling some kind of a joke and that we’d all have a good laugh about the title. Nope. Just angry. Just. Angry.

First, the author admits that she’s never read the Harry Potter books. If that’s not your bag, I totally understand that. I groan about the Twilight Saga because I got through the first two and then failed to see the characters going anywhere, so I stopped reading them. I can’t comment on the last few, but I’ll sure as heck giggle about the shell that is Bella in the first two. But this is not a Twilight rant, that’s for another day. This was the quote that started my “wtf” with this article.

I did think it a shame that adults were reading them (rather than just reading them to their children, which is another thing altogether), mainly because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.

 

Okay, so I’ll say that I started reading Harry Potter when I was young, when it came out, and followed it through. But you know who else did: My mother, father, and older by six years brother. Harry Potter was, for our family, a bonding experience, and one we still share. Standing in long lines at midnight releases and staying up for a day straight until the first reading of the book was done were exciting. And I’ll return to my father for a moment, and her bit about YA books not being “stimulating” for adult minds. Perhaps this is just me being Daddy’s youngest daughter talking, but my father is intelligent. Like, can re-build you a computer, fix a car, and then sit down and try to help you sort out complex algebra and the theories of Hawking. He introduced me to Stephen King, Terry Brooks, and RR Martin. And I gave him Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, and Alanna. Why? Because they reminded me of the “grown up” books that he was reading. Granted, I got to read some of them to when I was old enough enough to not cringe at some of the things that King was writing.

The fact of the matter is this, “Young Adult” fiction is not just for the “Young Adult” audience. I was certainly not a part of that audience when the last few Harry Potter books made it to publication, and was near the end of it when I met Tamora Pierce in a Boarders and legitimately cried. And why did I cry? These authors have given me all the lessons I’ve needed to become the person that I am today, and even their new writing continues it. Alanna and Kel taught me that girls could be heroes, and is the reason that I’m a feminist (or equalist if you prefer, but we’re going with feminist right now). Harry, Ron, and Hermione taught me the importance of building strong friendships, and that with them you could overcome insurmountable odds. Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape taught me that you shouldn’t judge a person by their appearances. Or their families. Because that isn’t what defines a person’s character. And these aren’t lessons just for children. Adults can learn from brave young people too, and can enjoy reading their stories. So yeah, if you’re doing it the right way, it’s just as stimulating for a twelve year old or a twelve times twelve year old.

And then there was this:

So this is my plea to JK Rowling. Remember what it was like when The Cuckoo’s Calling had only sold a few boxes and think about those of us who are stuck there, because we can’t wave a wand and turn our books into overnight bestsellers merely by saying the magic word. By all means keep writing for kids, or for your personal pleasure – I would never deny anyone that – but when it comes to the adult market you’ve had your turn. Enjoy your vast fortune and the good you’re doing with it, luxuriate in the love of your legions of fans, and good luck to you on both counts. But it’s time to give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe.

 

This author is clearly writing for the wrong reasons if she’s concerned with waving a magic wand and becoming an “overnight bestseller”. And that’s certainly not what Rowling was after when she was writing on napkins in coffee shops because she didn’t have money. You do not write because you want to be a superstar, or make millions of dollars. You write because you have a story to tell, and beyond that, you have a story that you want to share. If you can market it, and maybe a few other people will get something from it, then that’s great and you should do it. But you should never be writing a story or poetry for the soul purpose of trying to make money. Because that’s not what storytelling is for.

I guess my point is, telling JK Rowling to stop writing just because she’s good at it and you think she’s making it hard for you to get in to the market is like telling Meryl Streep to stop acting, or Beyonce to stop recording. It comes from a nasty place of envy. And you know what? Those three women didn’t get to where they are overnight. It took time, and it took work. And it took stories that they thought needed to be told and poured every ounce of themselves in to making them audible.

So this would be my plea to JK Rowling: Please never stop writing. People like you, and the wonderful worlds you create (Adult, YA, or otherwise) have made me who I am today. You’ve crossed over generations, and the magic you’ve brought even to just my family and friends is something that no mere “YA” book could do. You write stories that touch people (Even if it’s a little uncomfortably like with Casual Vacancy but dang if that wasn’t still awesome). If the stories you tell can still speak to people, then we’ll listen.

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Filed under Author's Notes

One Track History

I wouldn’t say that there’s a whole lot
That I firmly believe in really.
Unless we’re talking the laws of physics,
Or my absolute love for my mom’s cooking.
I mean, fate?
Really?
Who has time for that.
But in all the train cars,
On all the lines,
In the whole damn city,
And I had to walk in to yours?
Shit.

For a moment, I remembered
What it was like to be fifteen and
In need of saving.
When you asked me if I wrote,
And we wrote a story that told us
We could be weird if we were weird
Together.
And how three years later,
You told me to go be weird
Alone.

But the best part of that ride,
Those 30 minuets and promise to
“Totally get coffee,”
Was a reminder that when everything changes,
Not everything has to change.
College, forclosure, my sister’s wedding
Which sorry, you didn’t make the list,
And we’re still talking about your latest
Internet boyfriend and haunted houses.
You’re still wearing the same pink eye shadow,
That I probably helped you pick out once,
And I’m still dying my hair,
Like the time you did mine.

A lot of closure can happen in
A half hour ride as a captive
On a train car.
And no, we won’t get that coffee.
And maybe you’ll never see
This or the other dozen or so rants
About or against you and my youth
In a box in my closet.
But it was nice to see you,
And the fact that we kept being weird
Apart.

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Filed under Poetry

28. Wand

It was perfect. A little sticky with sap, but that seemed to match the boy’s perpetually sticky fingers anyway. He swished the thin branch around, running about the yard. His bright eyes were wild with glee as he pointed the branch at any bird or beast that happened by him. When the boy’s father came out to see what all the noise was about. He could not help but laugh when he saw the boy excitedly pointing and waving it at the dog.
“Why won’t it work…”
“You aren’t old enough yet.” The father went out to his son and scooped the boy up in his arms. “Just be patient. You’ll be a fine wizard one day.”
“When?” The energetic boy wiggled in his arms.
“Soon. You’re almost able to go to school.”
“Like you and mom did?”
“Yes, just like us. Now come on. It’s time for lunch.”
“Can I take my wand with?”
“Yeah, sure.”

“Twelve and one quarter inches. Ash wood. One of mine, isn’t it?”
“Yes sir. Unicorn hair at the core.”
The excitable young boy had grown in to a handsome young man. His hair stayed the color of the dirt he seemed to have been always covered in, as if it had stained it then. His eyes too maintained that wildness, that lust to try and to learn. His smile carried that same gleam to it as well.
“You take good care of it?”
“Yes sir. Just polished it last night.”
“There’s a good lad. Well, the best of luck to you, Mister Diggory.”
“Thank you, Sir.”

Harry Potters eyes were wide and as green as the bolt of light that soared towards the chest of Cedric as they stood in the decaying graveyard. The dark-eyed young man didn’t even hear the other one shout. For a moment, he wondered if he could duck, or shoot something back at him. But instead, he closed his eyes.
For a moment, he saw the wild boy trying to make his pet dog fly with a bendy twig from a pine tree. Then there was the boy that would not let the beautiful ash branch part from his hand after it had been placed into it. He slept with it on his pillow for all of his first year of school.
It was strange that he could feel it fall out of his hand. He was sure that his mind would go dark before then. But there it was, falling from his fingers. He watched it hit the ground before he ever did.

“It is said that Cedric Diggory was the first casualty of the second wizarding war. We have since discovered that this is not true, but his death is one that is certainly most felt.”
The museum worker paused before the portrait of the young man. He was in the dashing uniform of the Hogwarts champion, dirty and ragged after rretrievingthe golden egg from the dragon. And he was smiling, the ash branch clenched and raised over his head.
“He had been accepted in to the auror academy, and was a shining hope for the new age of the wizarding world. His parents graciously have gifted us with his wand, which you’ll see in the case here. It was made by the wand master Olivander. Twelve and one quarter inches, ash wood with a unicorn tail hair. Please, no flash photography.”
And as the people left, the light caught the plaque in front of the case. “Wand of Cedric Diggory: The Boy Not Given The CHance to Live.”

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Filed under Flash Fiction

Haikus brought you you by the slow running CTA

If you ever want

To feel small as a child,

Put on Father’s shoes.

 

Church on Every block,

With the slum lord just next door.

Big city living.

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Filed under Poetry