Been away for a bit to recharge the batteries. It feels good to finally get back to writing!
One of the cool things I did on my down time was visit Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. It is impossible to put into words how amazing the experience was, but I’m going to try.
J.K. Rowling’s books have been a presence in my life for over thirteen years, and I’ve been anticipating this visit since the park first opened in 2010. My affinity for all things Harry Potter began when I worked at a book distribution company early in my career. I had several friends who were children’s book buyers, and every once in a while, they would bring me an ARC they insisted I read. One day I found one, with an odd title, sitting in my chair. It was called, HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN.
At the time, Harry Potter had quite a following in England, and was just on the brink of breaking into the U.S. market. I devoured the book that evening, and the next day I went back to the buyers, insisting they lend me their copies of the earlier books, which they joyfully did.
Since that momentous day in May, 1999, I have relished every book and every movie about this amazing boy wizard. Thus, when the opportunity presented itself to see J.K. Rowling’s world in living color, I jumped at the chance. It was everything I imagined and more.
As I walked through the gates at Hogsmeade, I was immediately greeted by the Hogwarts Express, Zonko’s joke shop as well as Honeydukes candy shop. Then as I walked up the street, I was stunned to see Hogwart’s Castle in all its glory. The attention to detail was amazing in this magical place, right down to the droning voice of Moaning Myrtle, which sounded every time someone flushed the toilet in the public restrooms!
My favorite part of the day was the walk through Hogwarts, approaching the Forbidden Journey ride. As I watched the Sorting Hat talk, I couldn’t help be struck by the fact that all of this was made possible through the imagination of one extraordinary writer. If Jo Rowling had given up on that first novel, while living on public assistance in Edinburgh, we would have never experienced the true magic that is Harry Potter. Without her amazing worldbuilding skills, we would have never learned about Quidditch, or wondered what butterbeer (YUM!), or pumpkin juice (Yuck!) tasted like. We would have never understood the word Muggle, or how a flying car could take on a gargantuan tree affectionately known as the Whomping Willow.
All these elements would not be part of the literature vernacular now, if it wasn’t for the brilliant, magical universe this talented writer built for us.
So today, I tip my hat to each and every one of my fellow writers who is working on a fantasy novel. Please continue to write, no matter the roadblocks thrown your way. Use your imaginations to inspire and thrill us. Take readers, both young and old, to some new place where we once again can become children and marvel at a world where magic comes alive.
I hope that one of you out there will be the next generation’s J.K. Rowling. Someone with an extraordinary flair for creating a distinct universe we would all love to be a part of, even if it’s just for one day!
The Infamous Sorting Hat!
The Monster Book (it moves!)