When Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone was first published 20 years ago, the subject of the book didn’t interest me all that much. It was a book for kids about wizards and magic, a genre that didn’t captivate me.
When I started reading the series a few years later, I realized that it is about so much more than magic and the hero it’s named after.
It is a fantastic story in an imaginative world. Even though Harry is the star, there’s a host of other characters to fall in love with. Any reader has something to relate to in this series as it’s not just about Harry and his Hero’s Journey.
Neville Longbottom also lost his parents and became an orphan at the hands of Voldemort, and he fights this war with the same sense of purpose and courage as Harry does.
Severus Snape has his own demons to tame and grapples with his unrequited love for Harry’s mother.
Hermione is one of the most brilliant witches of her generation, but because of her Muggle status, she will always be an outsider in the wizardry world.
There is a real threat of darkness taking over the world and destroying everything those characters hold dear. Adults in Harry’s life are haunted by Voldemort’s reign of terror, and as a reader, I felt like there was something significant at stake with his revival.
This world of magic is fun, but it’s simply a way of telling stories of loss, love, loneliness, isolation, anger, and darkness. It gives readers a context to understand the human condition.
You don’t need to be a wizard to know loss or the feeling of being an outsider or finding the courage to fight the darkness in this world.
It’s stories like these that tell stories like our own. Stories like these tell us about people like us so that we can find our own way in this world and what it means to be human.
I didn’t have Harry Potter as a young reader but I had Roald Dahl and The Boxcar Children. Those stories guided me as Harry Potter guides children now.
And I think that even though you and I are not children anymore, books still give us that guidance.
No matter your age, the world is filled with loss, love, loneliness, isolation, anger, and darkness. The stories in these books serve as your guide.
That is what I strive for in my work.
The stories that I write have the power to be that guide for others, which is why for the next 60 days I will be focusing my efforts on writing a work in progress.
With the holidays being what they are (re: filled with anxiety), I take the month of December off of writing so I can focus on self-care. Even when the earth is fallow, it prepares itself for a new phase of creation.
For the next (roughly) 60 days that I have to write in 2018 I will be stepping away from the blog so I can devote my energy to a story that the world needs to hear.
The working title is The Underground. Just like when I read the Harry Potter series, I’m exploring a genre that I never, ever thought I would write: vampires.
You read that right, vampires.
I had my doubts, too. I thought, Haven’t all the stories about vampires been written? Isn’t the market, you know, saturated?
Perhaps, but one question has always plagued me about vampires: why are they evil? Aren’t they just following their nature? And is evil really that simple?
This is what I love about telling stories. It’s a way for me to answer these questions with my readers and engage in a dialogue with them.
And you can get a sneak peek of it. The first chapter of this book will be published in Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction on October 30th.
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Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash