A Political Post: JK Rowling

54th Trial: Blaming time and money as my limitations

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 0

Weekly Choice of Tea: Irish Breakfast Tea

Biggest Success: I’ve decided to quit my job to become a sole practitioner, a writer, and open up a non-profit chapter here in San Francisco! My biggest success is change itself!

A thought happened upon me the other day, and I found a new inspiration for my dusty, ill kept blog. Can a blog site, used as my own journal for the literary pursuits of my novel, while the pursuit at hand is at a screeching halt, be used still as a vocal platform for all things literature? I would say absolutely, as the silence is still more deafening and lame to me of the fact that I am not writing at all. With this thought, it is exciting to announce to you all that change is in the air! Not just for me, but within our country, within our social systems, within health, and within the neighborhoods at our feet. I see nothing but positive change, especially in this time in America, as imagination holds the key to determining our reality. An imagination that we must all turn to, when threat is in the air and uncertainty becomes the shadow beside us.

Why do I say this? Because JK Rowling has inspired just that. Remember the years when the Harry Potter books were being released at midnight? And we fell in love with her ideas, her characters, her plots? We dreamed of Butterbeer, fantasized of magic hidden amongst us, and admired the unyeilding friendships of the admiring characters. That magic is real, and it comes in many shapes and presentations. It is the same world that will help us through the upcoming years of tyranny, and in facing all the foes to freedom.

I laugh, when I see the battle JK Rowling is having to face. Not her rightful battle against the idiocracy of politicians or Trump himself, but with the response that she is getting from people who used to stand in those very lines at midnight. Who loved her strong characters, who loved the story of overcoming evil at all costs. So many have turned away from her, completely upset that she speaks out against the politics of our day. And my only thought to them is this:

From the author of Harry Potter, could you have assumed anything less? Not only does she write about defeating evil and standing up for those discriminated against, she lives it. What on Earth did you like about her Harry Potter books, if you do not like her modern day vocal tweets and political rants? The essence of Harry Potter is in defending basic human rights, or did you think they lived on a cloud and Avada Kadavra was shooting people with bullets of cotton candy? For you who burned her books, or disapproves of how she is in the political realm, we are all thankful to no longer have your contradictory voices behind the force for good. Because it’ll take the purest imagination to get through this, and it’ll take the consistency that is illustrated in the Order of the Phoenix and in Dumbelore’s Army. Imagine that!

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Amongst the Rare

51st Trial: The first 30 minutes of the writing process. The sitting down, the picking of the pencil, and the blank and sometimes uninviting white paper.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot:  8hr

Weekly Choice of Tea: Earl Grey

Biggest Success: Successfully snowboarding down the mountainside in Northstar, near Lake Tahoe. I fell, I landed hard, and I conquered.

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Jane Austen claims that one who can write a letter with ease, cannot write ill. Yesterday as I struggled with the chapter’s momentum (I have started chapter eight, happily enough) those words wrapped me in an innocent bubble, because I can write letters easily. In this bubble I do not feel the weight of my own expectations or of those brilliant writers that any novel will be compared to. But instead I fell alone, and my writing and my story are what they are. My technique compares to mine alone, and my voice echoes from my own mind. It does not give me confidence that I do in fact write well, but at least I cannot write ill. I find, like with most letter writing, beginning it is the toughest, whether you are starting a new chapter or picking up where you left off. About 30 minutes into my writing do I then become involved and pick up speed, but those 30 minutes are dreadful.  Must look beyond dreadful – mental note!

I wished I had seen Austen during the book fair I went to during my Valentine’s day treat! It was in Oakland, and it was the largest rare book collectors fair in the world. Jamie took me there as a surprise, little knowing that any book there ranged from $400 – $100K. I looked through the rows of vendors, pining over the Dickens, the Brontes, the Wordsworth, and the Shakespeare. I held tightly to Arabian Nights only to have to put it down again. The series of Tennyson sat nobly overlooking my puppy set eyes. Austen though, evaded me. I felt her, along with my favorite stories by the Bronte sisters, in the booths of particularly dusty, well-used, and sometimes stained books. There were large world Atlases that reminded me of the young Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, and there were thick books of anatomy, horticulture, and beetles that took me into Mr. Rochester’s library. Rarity comes with a price, but it was worth it to hold and flip through the pages of History and Time itself.

Happily I found a first edition of Harry Potter, which came home with me later that night!

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Fantastic Beasts: a Reality

47th Trial: “I never worry. Because it only hurts twice.”  A (summed up) quote from the ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ movie.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot:  3hr

Weekly Choice of Tea: Earl Grey with Almond Milk!

Biggest Success: This blog post is inspired by the incredible movie that I saw last night, where J. K. Rowling’s imagination again found footing in reality. Maybe it was because I infinitely enjoyed magic in America that I loved this movie, or because I saw the beautiful care of precious creatures, or getting to spend an evening watching Eddie Redmayne (who is singularly adorable)! But the effect of the movie was immense! I cannot come back down so easily from the high of Rowling’s wizarding world, and am eyeing the latest release of the illustrated second Harry Potter book, ready to begin reading it tonight again. For the 15th time.

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them” took even me by surprise, a die-hard Harry Potter fan. Its magic was innovative and full of wonder, and the creatures were fascinating. The movie was brilliant, funny, and brought back the names we know so well:  Albus Dumbledore, Gellert Grindelwald, and even Lestrange.

Rowling’s world has turned out to be endless, naturally. I look forward to all the possibilities of Newt Scamander’s world and those of the multitude of other characters. These books give hope to reality, as their trials are the trails that we too have faced. We are no different, in our differences. To worry, to feel estranged, to feel obscure–though natural and intuitive emotions, have the power to grow fear and violence. How right it seems, to have this wizarding world show us all in turn our differences and our ability to always fight for humanity–in ourselves as well in others. Whether it be for the innocence of beasts in the wild, the abused and oppressed child, or for choice and free will.

I worry from the recent election. I worry for my stability in society, and my footing in California. But where there is imagination, hope, kindness, (and for me, Harry Potter!), there will always be a beautiful reality worth fighting for.

You Love to Write

44th Trial: A story is a part of you, like a cell maturing into an egg, that then grows in the womb (I understand I am skipping a few steps!). When you give birth to it, it becomes detached, in need for nurture and responsibility. This is a strange comparison, however I feel a bond with my novel, and yet a strange detachment. As if I neglected it, and I don’t know it as well as I did when it was only within me.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: Since it has been over 2 weeks since I last wrote to you all, I hate to admit that my writing hours amounted to a small, dismal, 30 minutes. Let me use the excuses of long weekends working, increase demand of attention elsewhere, and continue to justify my lack of progress.

Weekly Choice of Tea: Turmeric and Ginger, with the occasional Pumpkin Spice Latte (thank you Starbucks for now having almond milk)

Biggest Success: Finished reading the play, The Cursed Child. The magical world filled the empty pockets of my living room once again, and every time Time turned, I felt its rush! I look forward to seeing the play one day, happy to see the dynamics hold strong between Harry, Ron, and Hermione, as I envisioned them to. I know the characters live always within Rowling’s mind, as she has stated, but in a way they never leave the reader’s thoughts or our hopes.

As I said before, I will no longer write of not finding time to write. Or that life gets busy, hectic, stressful, and long-winded. It will ALWAYS be ALL those things. It is a beautiful thing however, to understand that something you create comes from your love of doing so.  It may take daily attempts to see it this way. I love to read and to write, and that passion comes from nothing more complicated than my enjoyment of it. You always read the quotes that say “do more of what you love”, which means the majority of us do not. Though I will support that it is not without lack of trying for most. I never wonder why people do things they do not love doing, but it astonishes me when people ignore the things that they love. Be it the person you are married to, the purpose of your career, the pursuit of knowledge, or the beauty of art.

I sat down to write for the first time yesterday in a couple weeks. The story was extremely malnourished and frankly, I thought pitiful. I reread the paragraph I last wrote. The sentence structure was rudimentary and the language of my genius downright knickbockery. And yes, I just made that word up. Instead of letting self-hatred lead me to give up on my novel, I told myself this:  you love to write. And then I just picked up where I left off, knowing it is my own deficiency of character to NOT work for what I love.

Currently, I am reading Margaret Atwood’s “A Handmaids Tale” as well as a children’s novel, “The One and Only Ivan”. And have not watched anything BBC in too long. It is time that I incorporated something more British into my routine.

The Wizarding World of… Southeast Asia?

38th Trial: I wonder so much as to Joseph Conrad’s undeniable skill at detail. I have read ‘Heart of Darkness’, but have began ‘Lord Jim’ as I ironically began a 4-day boat trip through Indonesia, and am even more fascinated with his abilities. And now when I write, how can I describe better the brown of her hair? The sound of the wind and the emotions it stirs? Conrad has become a model of description for me overnight, and can be apart of my blog- as he did learn English while in England!

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 4 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Luwak Coffee, Bali

Biggest Success: Began typing up Chapter Six, sailing the islands of Indonesia, climbing Mount Merapi Volcano in Java, and not getting eaten by wild Komodo Dragons as I walked within their reserve. Amidst all my travel, I am lucky to have found time to write and work on my novel!

Do I have a blog focused on British influence and literature, and not yet have a post dedicated primarily to Harry Potter? I cannot imagine that to be true, and those who know the far reach of my love for those novels wouldn’t either. So I hope that I am repeating sentiments that have been illustrated before, and swim once more in the imagination of the world of Harry Potter. I am sure I can sit down and analyze the many ties that link that imaginary world to ours, and the powerful political, psychological, and ethical morals inlaid in its own illustration of life and humanity. But instead I wish to save my breath and my effort, because these books speak for themselves. You read Harry Potter, and you know Rowling’s imagination is a reality to her, and the world around us is a magical place. Many people may see my love for these books as juvenile, but it is my love for imagination and its ability for truth, love, courage, and to link endless possibilities to our own potential.

I know this, more now in Indonesia than I felt it back in America. Many Europeans have traveled in Southeast Asia, and I imagine Rowling did the same. I see so many things here, settings and people, that remind me of the wizarding world. Southeast Asia can be a playground for the imagination, and I sense the reality of that mystical and magical touch within the reach of my eyesight daily. I marvel at the acute sense an artist has, to look upon the ordinary lifestyle and the monotony of the daily lives of some, and wonder, what if? What if that motorbike can fly? What if I walked through that archway, and disappeared? I have no idea if Rowling did ever come over here, but I appreciate her novels even better now. I have said it before—look around you, there the stories and the inspiration are derived from for any piece of art. But not just in its reality, but in its potential and possibilities. For those who are interested in reading further, here is a small list of the things I have witness and thought Rowling’s eyes must have witnessed too.

The Knight Bus:  I rode in a night bus from Koh Rong to Siem Reap. It’s “beds” were flat to the floor of the bus, with a bunk-bed above me. While they did not move and swing above in Harry’s experience with the Knight bus, one could imagine it–especially because the roads and drivers here are truly insane. You move to and fro, and I have found out that it makes not difference if you are in a seat or not. “It’s going to be a bumpy ride!”

The Weasley house:  its shape is slanted so much to a point that magic must hold it erect.  I see houses here stacked impossibly on one another, and the angle of lean makes you wonder at how the splinter and broken walls still have a vertical element.

Harry and Dumbledore’s boat trip into the cave in search for a horcrux: In peninsular Thailand we visited many caves, and one cannot help but imagine the stone walls opening to a secret passage with the offer of blood. It was in Phang Nga Bay that we canoed through a cave where darkness was disrupted by just one ray of light from our headlamp. We saw the flowing rock formations and stalactites loom in the background, and no sound came from the black water as the paddle passed through it. A part of me was scared to disturb the water, should a zombie-skeleton hand reach up and grab me.

Hagrid’s Motorbike: There are many types of interesting transportation methods in Southeast Asia, and the motorbike is the most common. When in Phuket we were sitting in the back of an open taxi, watching the traffic build up behind us. One man pulled up behind us, sitting on the motorbike with one of his legs hidden by the attached cart. Inside the cart was a family clustered together, and it was apparent that it was used for businesses as well. I thought instantly of Hagrid’s motorbike J

The Veiled Archway:  While in Siem Reap, the many Angkor temples give a ghostly lure. More specifically, while at the royal palace of Angkor Thom there was an open doorway that say near the top of the staircase. No stone walls or sandstone sculptures rose beside it, and it looked as eerie and empty as the veiled archway in the Ministry of Magic. As I stared into it, the same whisper seemed to pass with the wind that I hear with most of the temples here—an old wisdom telling of its age and infirmary.

The Mirror of Erised:  The royal palace in Bangkok, Thailand is, as a friend of mine put it, a jewel box. But within it, we entered a stone building that showcased many ceremonial chairs and decor. Upon exiting, we passed an open room roped off, where nothing but a large mirror stood. It was very tall and wide, surrounded by a frame of engraved metal. It seemed oddly placed, as if there by chance or in changing its location. Maybe being moved deep into the heart of the palace, where nothing short of charming a dog, giving into nature, finding a key, grabbing a drink, passing a knocked out troll, and playing a game of chess would gain you access to see.

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Canoeing Phang Nga Bay

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Canoeing Phang Nga Bay

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Royal Palace, Angkor Thom

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Angkor Temples

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Rive homes in Bangkok, Thailand

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Gateway in Angkor

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Motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

My Muse Must be Magnanimous

27th Trial: Saying goodbye to a home that has become my Muse

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 1 Hour (in total since last post)

Weekly Choice of Tea: Christmas Blend

Biggest Success: Eating authentic Austrian Macaroni and Cheese. Philip, my Austrian connection and the one that helped Jamie and I out when she fell off the cliff side, full-filled his promise to make us macaroni and cheese using specific Austrian cheese. There. are. no. words.

It has been two weeks hence since I picked up my laptop to speak again to you all, and I beg that you forgive such absent-mindedness. Over the past two weeks I have been re-packing, selling with vehemence, and planning. Not to mention doing all of this and keeping the Christmas spirit alive! Luckily for me I am back on the couch you saw in the earlier post, sitting peacefully next to the fireplace. This week will be my last week working for a while, until I move to California and begin practicing there. Yes, you heard correctly! I will be leaving my dear Charlotte–a place that has given my novel its voice and its setting. I can only hope that my Muse will morph into the trees and oceans that meet me on my upcoming journey, and does not create a yearning within that dries one’s quill or locks prose in corners I cannot reach.

What is a Muse to me, then, if it be ever changing? Charlotte, and more specifically Noda, has given me song and inspiration as of late. And when I am in California, can She become the seals by the chilling waves of the Pacific? The sweet temperament of sun’s rays on endless coastal highways? Will she be spiteful towards me, for forcing change and inconsistency? My muse must be magnanimous, and without solid shape. A Boggart of sorts!

Do I look forward to this change, this immediate lack of work? Can idleness and inactivity give me any rest or repose? I will make a promise to this blog and to myself:  let anytime away from one passion allow another passion to thrive. Over the next month and a half I will be dedicated to my novel, and will dazzle you surely with witty sense and breath-taking revelations. Surely, I will!

A Philospher’s Stone

21th Trial: Following brain, heart, and environmental responsibilities all at once! I am lucky enough to be able to, even when they collide.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 2 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Orange and Ginger from Scott and Lori’s home!

Biggest Success: Finishing Chapter Four!

This weekend was particularly exciting, and I was happy to find it filled with the essence of that something-more-British I gravitate to. I was in Atlanta to see “old” friends from chiropractic school, and could not say anything but that I am beside myself proud of them and what they’ve accomplished. The weekend was filled with visiting my old favorite haunts and reconnecting with a city that has left bitterness in my mouth ever since I sat in four hours of unmoving traffic. I could write twenty more paragraphs on the merits and qualities of the excellent people I spent the weekend with, but that would take me from the topic I wish to discuss.

And what that topic is, you may wonder at, is something I am surprised I have not focused on before. What else is there to say? I am proud then to express my absolute obsession and adoration of a book series that naturally has contributed to my literary development, a stone in my philosophy! That is of course, Harry Potter!

Two friends of mine from school were with me this weekend, Shaun and Jenna. They are the great friends that I found myself many nights playing scrabble and eating fondue with. Anyways, they told me just days ago, that they just now started reading the Harry Potter books, and that the movies do not actually do them justice! I was told this at Der Bier Garten, and immediately dedicated our first sip not to seeing old friends, but to the growth of their knowledge! The expansion of their imagination! The light that shall always follow such literature! How exciting, how amazing!

I will not continue to divulge the extent of my love for those books, that I have spent summers reading them repeatedly 14 times, or that I have a weird shrine in my house (that will just always be there. There is just no going back). However, I would like to share with you all the fun collection that I began a little while ago. Pictured above are Harry Potter novels that I’ve acquired in different languages and/or from different countries. Anywhere I travel, I pick one of these guys up. Currently I have editions, mainly of the first book, from England, Scotland, Italy, Sweden, and Austria!

I have finished my chapter four, and this week I will dedicate my time to typing it up. Thanks Jenna and Shaun, for stirring the love for literature this weekend–just as naturally as you spooned the cheese fondue a year ago!

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At Harry Potter World!

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Missed this man this weekend! Benard, who has shared my love for HP!

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