Friday, March 29, 2013

I'm Off to See the Wizard(ing World), by Matthew MacNish

photo is from Wikimedia Commons
Happy Friday, Mayhemers! My family is driving down to Orlando this weekend, and then spending three days at Universal Orlando. Apparently there are two parks, but I only care that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of one of them.

I cannot express how excited I am about this. J.K. Rowling, and the Harry Potter books, changed my life a bit. Cliché, I know, but it's true.

When I first bought The Sorcerer's Stone, it was because I'd seen the hype on TV, and was curious what people were so excited about. So, this was in maybe the year 2000, I bought a copy for daughter, but when I tried to read it, it seemed like too much of a children's book, and I dismissed it as beneath me.

This was at a time in my life where I was not writing, and was only reading a bit. I'd always loved reading and writing as a teenager, but had given up on it in my twenties, as the stresses of being an adult took over.

Well, I'm glad to say, once my daughter fell in love with the series, and convinced me to give it another chance, I read every single book, and loved every minute of it. In fact, it's what made me fall in love with the written word again. I used to read The Lord of the Rings every spring. I did it for like ten years in a row when I was a boy. I used to write too when I was young. Poetry, song lyrics, short stories, whatever came to mind, really, but I stopped all of it when I grew up. I'm not really sure why, but it doesn't matter now.

After reading Harry Potter, I remembered the magic of storytelling. I started writing seriously, as in trying to become a published novelist, maybe 5 years ago. I won't recount every detail of that journey here, and some of it is available in other places anyway, but I will just say that, short of meeting J.K. Rowling, visiting Hogwart's seems like the most excellent way to celebrate.

What about you all? Did you ever forget your love of words, or were you always clear about your passion?

Anyway, have a great weekend!

26 comments:

  1. Have an awesome time! Some day I hope to get there myself :) I hope you blog about your visit when you return.

    Simply put, I would never have had the courage to pursue writing and publishing for children if I hadn't been inspired by J.K. Rowling.

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    1. Thanks, Suzie! I'm not sure I'll get to write about it, with A to Z going on, but maybe on Facebook.

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  2. Have an awesome time, Matt. It sounds like such a cool place. And I loved the Harry Potter series too. Like many aspiring authors, it inspired me to try writing.

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    1. I'd wanted to write a book before Harry Potter, but it definitely helped me believe it might really be possible.

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  3. I'm not a HP person, but this is once again a reminder that there are books for all people and this is GOOD. I love the way these books have meant so much to you, your writing, and your family.

    Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks, Caroline! I completely agree. No book is for everyone, but there is definitely a book for everyone.

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  4. I want to see this too. I loved the books. They totally reignited my love of children's literature, and are a huge influence in why I write for that market. I hope you have a blast!

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    1. I feel the same way. Thanks for your comment, Steven!

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  5. Well, I had no idea that HP inspired you so. That's pretty cool.
    I think it was around 2000 when I picked up the first one, too. I know that the 4th book had just come out, and I finally bought all of them at that point. A box set. I spent the next year reading them to my oldest son.

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    1. Yep. I've only read them once, all the way through, but I love the whole thing so much. The story. The characters. The world.

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  6. So. Jealous. :) Have a magical time!

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  7. I used to read Lord of the Rings every year too! (in fact, I think I'm over due). My daughter (11) just finally got into Harry Potter and is blazing through them. We'll have to go the Wizarding World next!

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    1. I'm overdue myself. I reread The Silmarillion a few years ago, but I need to go back to the originals.

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  8. I can never forget about writing, it helps me organize my thoughts and makes me happy! Hope you're having a good time!

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  9. I hope you enjoy it as much as my daughters and I did! They have lived and breathed Harry Potter for most of their lives, know every line of every book and movie, so it was truly thrilling for them to explore all the shops and try out the rides.

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    1. I'm sure it will be amazing. I only wish we weren't going during such a peak time!

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  10. Have a great time, Matt and family. My wife and I discovered HP book 1 when my mum brought it over from England (where it was called 'The Philosopher's Stone.') It was a very sad time in our lives and we devoured the novel and loved it. Soon, we were getting the books delivered the day of release and staying up all night to read. J.K. Rowling wasn't my inspiration to be a writer (that came many years before HP was on the scene) but she certainly made me appreciate writing for young people and the young at heart.

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    1. Absolutely! Thanks, Mike. And I just got back, but of course you know all about that from Facebook.

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    2. I lived through you on Facebook, man!

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  11. I hear it's great--have fun!!

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  12. Oooooh I am so envious! I hope you have enough fun for me too. I never forgot my love of words and began writing at a very young age.

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  13. I came to HP late, the first two movies peaked my interest, but I didn't start reading the books until high school, I read other things. I did further my interesting in reading outside what school required of me.

    For me,though, Tor Seidler's animal stories and Michael Hoeye's Hermux Tantamoq series were the most impactful to me as a writer early on, and remain so today.

    At the time I started writing my animal fantasy, these author's books gave me hope that this type of story was still being published. Modern(In terms of when Hoeye's series books first came out) proof that Charlotte's Web, Redwall and Warriors aren't the last word for this type of story.

    YES, I personally have had times where the love of words and language just got shafted when I had to learn the business of it all, and let's face it, not everyone in publishing moonlights as a titan of industry, or are/were teachers for the kids/tweens/teens we're TRYING to write for.

    Sometimes, I feel writers who aren't innately BLESSED with business savvy are the most vulnerable to falling out of love with language and storytelling when we have to start consulting word books, school vocabulary lists, and (Non-parents/teachers especially) feel like we need to understand all the intricate science behind how developing children read.

    I love writing middle grade novels. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have turned in my application when you put out a "Call to Arms" of sorts when you had need of new blood for Project Mayhem.

    Still, at times I wish I had some adult novels in me so I don't have to give myself a migraine analyzing "Can a kid under 13 read this?" or second-guess EVERY word choice I make that's not basic. Sentences beyond 10 words are numbing to readers of chapter books, and even readers on the low end of MG.

    It feels like doing my own root canal(Sans Morphine)to put one's love of language in limbo. In order to give service of facing the massive learning curve involved in navigating the world of publishing.

    Lots of writers I know (Before they were published) who are now making strides in their careers seem to find the far more straightforward than I do.

    They may not find it easy, or fun, but at least it doesn't emotionally block or overwhelm them in the same ways as me, or if it does--they sure hide it dang well! (Sigh...)

    Now that I've contracted my first book, work on the next one is slow-going, but I hope to have a draft done soon.

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Thanks for adding to the mayhem!