A couple of months ago, I recorded a TV dramatisation about JK Rowling’s journey from childhood, to writing Harry Potter and the craze that followed. The recording sat on my Sky box, unwatched, for weeks. Today I sat down and watched it.
I always knew that Joanne Rowling’s story was an amazing one. Ever since I first read Harry Potter, years and years ago, I immediately had an immense respect for the author and was mesmerised by the books. I think I was more mesmerised by the fact that I was in my late teens – not the targeted audience for the book. Joanne Rowling does something very clever with her words and stories and somehow makes the Harry Potter book’s appeal to, well, to just about everyone. I know there are a few people out there who do not rate them, but generally as a whole, I rarely come across anyone who hasn’t read them or didn’t enjoy them.
After reading some of the books, I then read an un-authorised biography that someone bought for me. It gave me a little insight to her background and her struggles and it cemented my respect for her. My family knew my love for Harry Potter and I would get quiz books and games and later, films, as gifts.
In this dramatisation I watched, it documented Joanne’s love of writing from a young age and followed her through some really bad years; not getting accepted into Oxford, her mother passing away, an abusive relationship and having to live off the state. But, throughout all this time, on and off, she wrote Harry Potter and the philosophers Stone – the first in the series. She found herself an agent, after being turned down and eventually got a publishing deal (after 12 rejections). When she picked up the phone and was told of the publishing contract, I cried. I cried because I was so overwhelmingly happy for her. I cried because it was such an achievement. I cried, because I want it so bad, too.
And when the program finished, I cried some more. I’m not quite sure why, but I did. I couldn’t help it. I had all this pent up emotion inside and I had been so enthralled in her story, her constant battle with life as it threw everything it could against her, and I watched her succeed and live her dream. I was so incredibly happy for her. I ‘get’ it. I ‘get’ that feeling of just wanting someone to realise potential in something. I ‘get’ the scared feeling when someone else reads what you have written. You feel so exposed, so open. You pour your heart and soul into these pages and people out there have the ability to rip your insides out with just one word, one negative word or expression. It’s a vulnerable place to be. She (well, the actress in the dramatisation) says at one point, ‘I’m not writing for the money, I write because I love it.’ I couldn’t agree more. I think there is only one way to write, and that is from the heart. You cant force it. Yes, people have deadlines to meet, but if it’s not true from within, the story wont be there.
I am incredibly proud to say that I am a huge Harry Potter fan, and also, a huge fan of JK Rowling. She has achieved so much when all the odds were against her and I’m so glad she did because the world got to see the magic of Harry Potter.
My daughter is 5 years old, and a few days ago we started reading Harry Potter at bedtime. I want her to experience it and just hearing her say Dumbledore brings a smile to my face.
I may not get a publishing deal, I may not get an agent, I may not make millions from my writing and I may not be famous…….but I know what will happen, I will always be a writer.