On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ok, so I'm finally getting to the whole latest Harry Potter thing--Rowling's sudden and unexpected declaration that Dumbledore is gay.

Huh? I can't help but wonder what brought this on? There are no clues throughout the series, and the statement after the fact seems somewhat suspect. Had there been some reference to the fact in the books, it would have made perfect sense, but there really aren't. Dumbledore's friendship with Harry appeared to be just that, and any suggestion otherwise would have been pedophilic. His relationships with other wizards or even muggles offered no clues to this claim.

So why now, after the series is over? And why insert any sexuality into a children's book anyway? It appeared to me to be a desperate bid by the esteemed J.K. to grab the spotlight one last time. Chances are she will never again hit it as big as she has with Harry Potter. (If she does, well and good, but I feel that this is a phenomenon that will not be repeated.) Frankly, as a writer, I feel it's embarrassing and unnecessary. Well, it worked. People are talking about her again. But I am disappointed that she would suddenly spring this simply as a way of extending her time in the media spotlight. This does not lend any credence or dignity to gays, but is simply a Deux ex machina of sorts, to resuscitate her fame.
What a shame.

Why would she make that statement? And is there really a place for sexuality in a children's book? Part of the charm of the Harry Potter books is Harry's and his friends' innocence in the face of evil, the idea that they can battle evil with good. It's an innocent, some may say naive, idea, but it's right for children. They grow up fast today anyway. Let them be children a little longer.

What do you think? Should writers verbally add character traits after their work is finished? When should a writer let the story end?

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Well, it’s fall. When I take the dog out in the morning, the grass is coated with frost and the nip in the air is fresh and clean. Sweet air is quiet, the sky dome so high that sound from the highway just goes straight up and doesn’t wash over my yard. When a car or truck does pass, it’s a quick, sharp engine sound that quickly disappears. Nice. I noticed this morning that the leaves are still falling, one at a time, but with their early morning ice coating, they fall hard, and instead of a soft, rustling sound, they hit the earth with a definite “thunk.” Interesting.

That "thunk" got me thinking. (Notice the alliteration?) It presented a different way of viewing and describing that eternal metaphor, the leaf gently breaking from its branch and wafting away into the air, floating toward death and a cold eternity. A rapid descent to hard ground, thunk, and it's over. That's what we as writers strive to do--to look at the world and refashion the images with which we are presented, twisting them to represent an emotion or an opinion.

Here's an exercise for you: Look around you for a common image. Nature is good, because it is constant, yet not consistent. Then write your scene, describing it in an uncommon way. Pick a mood or a personal epiphany and write to it. Then, when you are finished, do it again, but pick the opposite mood. It's fun, and you might find yourself looking at something you barely noticed before in a whole new way.

Labels: ,