Friday, September 16, 2016

Wizardry and Passion

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: labor, mercy, why, Harry Potter, captain, and crunch. They were submitted by:

This might be a bit rambly, but I did a loose format letting the words take me wherever. 


For my entire existence, I’ve been into books. My mom has told me stories about being able to read
me books from memory because I would request certain ones over and over. Even now, when I see the cover of Wings on Things by Marc Brown (my favorite back then), I smile and feel a few warm fuzzies and can’t help wanting to slowly turn the pages even though I’m probably 30 years above the suggested reading level. Books, for me, were life. There was nothing better than being the captain of my own adventure through someone else’s vessel (me being the reader and the author being the owner of the vessel). It was the only way I made it through my childhood. That escape—the ability to live a life that wasn’t mine even for a short time while I devoured a novel—quite literally kept me sane.

I still read with the same fervor now as an almost 35 year old, but it isn’t exactly the same need as I had when I was young. As an adult, my life isn’t quite so tragic or so hectic. I mean adulting is an exercise of frustration and futility for the most point, and the escape into someone else’s world helps, but it’s not as necessary now as it used to be. I can go a whole week without reading anything much at all besides the occasional blog or article and not think about it, but that would have been torture for little-me.

Reading hasn’t been the same for my son which, admittedly, was a bit of a disappointment for me for awhile. I wanted him to love reading as much as I did when I was his age, and I really kind of pushed it on him from the time he started being able to read. It took some reflecting to realize he didn’t need it like I did, and when he does need an escape he is just as likely to pick up a video game as he is a book. And that’s okay. Along the way, though, when I backed off, he started finding things he really loved to read (which tickled me to no end), and once I started homeschooling him, we picked out books we could read simultaneously to discuss and reflect on.

That’s how we ended up reading the Harry Potter series last summer. I hadn’t ever gotten into it when I was younger. By the time the books came out, I was already 16 and too old for that sort of thing because of my snobbish teenage apathetic angst (yes I realize the oxymoron there). The books were a brand new world for both of us to explore while crunching through chapters and laboring on through the tears. I wasn’t at all prepared for the amount of tears I would shed nor for the profound effect that series would have on me. I read all 7 books in less than 3 weeks, but I’m still sitting here over a year later near tears and screaming “WHYYYYY????” whenever I think about Sirius. I fell a little in love with that character partially because I like troubled, dark, and handsome dudes but also because he reminded me a little of someone I used to love so profoundly that HIS death still haunts me after 14 years. Every death in that series, honestly, hit me no holds barred. No mercy was spared. I seriously cried through half the last book sitting in the floor of my bedroom being careful not to wake anyone in the house even the dogs knowing I would never be the same.

And I’m not.

I don’t know that it would have affected me so deeply in my youth without the same sort of understanding of the world that I have now (however limited it is). It certainly didn’t affect Evan the same way. He cried. On some level, I know he related to a few of the characters, but I also hope that he reads the series again in his teens and with his own children again in the future after he’s had time to experience the ups and downs that life continuously offers. And maybe just maybe, he’ll have to pick himself up off the floor at 8 a.m. and dry his face and know that part of him would always be a little different for having gone back to it. I also hope he calls me regardless of knowing that 8 a.m. is a time I wish didn’t exist so we can talk about all the things he missed when he was younger.

I love when art, in whatever form, leaves you changed the way Harry Potter did for me even as a 30-something who had previously baulked at the idea of a YA novel about wizards. But I’ve also grown to appreciate the fact that I don’t have to be reading to experience that. I used to be one of those people who didn’t watch television—a snob. And judged people for not reading. I shared memes about it, made statuses about it on social media, and proudly discussed what book I had just finished. After shows like Transparent, One Mississippi, Parks and Rec, Stranger Things, Grace and Frankie, and Love made me laugh and cry and get so incredibly immersed in a digital world, I started to see the art for what it was and not as automatically tainted based on what format it was in. The same is true for video games. The Witcher 3, Tell Tale’s Walking Dead, The Last of Us…those games are masters of human experience in a vivid world that may be fictional but still utterly relatable. Writing might be my preferred art—both for consumption and crafting—but it surely isn’t the be all, end all I’ve always made it out to be simply because it was the only anchor I ever knew. 

Whatever you love, find something that makes you feel, that makes you see a new perspective, that leaves you shaken to your core and trying to put back the pieces of everything you thought you knew. Watch it, play it, read it, write it, act in it, who the fuck cares…just do it. Life’s too short to live without passion, too fleeting to live without the sucker punch of a quote that robs all the air from your lungs because someone, somewhere gets you exactly the way you are.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Southern Belle Charm

Not That Sarah Michelle

Spatulas on Parade

The Bergham Chronicles

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

On the Border
Confessions of a part time working mom

Never Ever Give Up Hope


  1. For me the key is to keep an open mind. Watch a few tv shows, try a few video games, read a genre you thought would not interest you. That's where the growth is.
    I used to only read mysteries. My grandmother loved historical books, I wouldn't even consider them, sounded like a chore not enjoyment. I picked up a Philippa Gregory book, I don't even know why, but I'm so glad I did. I was hooked.

  2. I always appreciate your posts and you are RIGHT -- what is life without passion? Everything I do, I try to do it with passion!

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I love to read and so do my boys. We read the Narnia series, more than once and when the movies came out we HAD to see them. Much like you with Harry Potter, we connected.

  4. The only thing better than a great book is a great series! My daughter was a teenager when they came out and she was crazy about them. I had the same problem with my son, but he read in spurts. He didn't like to read books so I would get him car magazines and comic books. He turned into a reader over the years although he never cracks a book.