Contrary to the popular opinion of soothsayers, the Ides of March is not such a bad day. See, March 15, 1984 was the day my wifey was born, and without her I probably wouldn’t be writing to you now.
Let me explain: in 2007 I had a wicked bad back surgery after jacking myself all to H-E double hockey sticks in the Army. After the surgery I was laid up for about a month without a dang thing to do. Talk about a drag, man. Anyways, my loving wifey got me reading about this little so-and-so named Harry Potter, which in turn got me writing stories again. Fast forward five years, a couple of published stories, and a half-done novel later and you’ve got me in the here and now working my little fingers off trying to be a writer.
So in addition the Nintendo Wii I got her and the delicious burrito casserole I’m making for her now I figured I’d ask all of YOU to go to her blog and say Happy Birthday. Because without her I wouldn’t have started down this road, and what a sad tale of woe that would be, folks.
What pops into your brain when you think about Harry Potter? Is it places like the Burrow or the Leaky Cauldron? How about Molly Weasley’s magical self-knitting needles? How about Hippogriffs, Dragons, or another one of Rowling’s magical beaties? Or are you more a sports buff getting rowdy at a Quidditch match? Me, I’m all about the food. I know, I know, I’m a fat kid. But how can I not be? With all the candies in Honeydukes, the butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks, and Great Hall meals that are off the chain, it’s hard to get my mind off the deliciousness.
I think I've got a problem with butterbeer.
When my wife and I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last March I spent an unhealthy amount of time in Honeydukes Sweet Shop. It’s there I learned that chocolate frogs and Every Flavor Beans do not count as an entire meal. Still, good times. This picture of me with a frosty butterbeer should be proof enough of that.
Which part of the Potterverse is your favorite?
[here’s the source of that Honeydukes pic]
Man, I’m rocking and rolling with this new book. I’ve set out a plan–oh how I love plans!–to crank out two chapters a week, and I’ve been sticking to the thing. Each chapter is about 2,500 words or so, and as I’ve done a super wicked awesome job plotting this bad mama-jama out that the thing each one of those chapters is swimming in nail-biting conflict.
Oh, yeah. I’m stoked.
Bad jokes are what I do!
Writing 5,000 a week is actually a step down from how fast I pumped through the first draft. For that one I was doing three chapters a week and those things were bloated like nothing you’ve ever seen. I’m talking about 3,500-4,000 word chapters kind of bloat. Chapters like that make for a monster book, eh? That’s the problem with plotting out a bunch of crap and then packing in a whole bunch more crap on top of that crap. I started having to set a word limit for each chapter–a rule that’s become useful for this draft as well, actually.
No Potter? No problem!
On a non-writing note, who’s been following the news about J.K. Rowling’s new book? There’s been a bunch of hype surrounding the news, most of it good, some lukewarm. I’m more on the she’ll-knock-it-out-of-the-park side of things. Of course, I might be biased. If it wasn’t for HP I would never have started writing, and what a sad tale of woe that’d be to sing.
Which side are you on? Think she’ll crank out another amazing tale, or will the lack of Potterness end up a bust? Seriously, I want to know.
[those clever pictures are from here and here]
In 2007, after jacking my back up in an Army related incident, I was prescribed a round of surgery that’s usually reserved for middle-aged asphalt workers. Keeping in mind the wonderful track record of the military medical system, you can imagine how excited I was to have my back chopped open by an Army doc. But as it turns out, crippling back pain is a fairly good motivator so I elected to let them have at me with the hope that I’d wake up with all my appendages.
The surgery went as well as it could, but I was left with thirty days of convalescent leave to spend splayed out on the couch. That might not sound like such a bad deal to you, but when you’re used to working nearly twelve hours a day it can be a little difficult to adjust to doing that much nothing. My wife suggested that I read a few books on my off time, and seeing as I hadn’t read a book for fun in way too long I decided to follow her advice. So on the first day of my leave, before she went to work, she left me the first two books in a series by some British lady that chronicled the adventures of a kid named Harry Potter.
I cannot tell you how incredibly awesome my wife is for doing that.
I was hooked from chapter one and blew through the first two books in two days. By the end of the week I was almost through the entire series, but more importantly I started to remember how much I loved reading and writing. I spent my college years reading nothing but accounting standards and business textbooks then after graduation I went straight into the military. Go ahead and take a guess at how much creativity is emphasized in the United States Army.
After I finished Harry Potter I started writing again–one of my favorite things to do as a kid. The stories I wrote were horrible–some of the worst in the history of bad stories, I’d guess–but they did lead to some good ones later on that have since been published. It’s strange to say, but that month was probably one of the best time of my entire life despite being unable to dress or bathe on my own. I think about it like this: without getting my back cut open by doctors with questionable credentials I might never have started writing again. And honestly, I can’t think of anything more sad than that.