Monday, June 13, 2011

If a butterfly flaps its wings...


I’m sure we’ve all played some version of the butterfly effect, but I am constantly amazed at how often tiny things like that come up. There’s a book I doubt I’d have read except for a choice I made, a small choice. A name.

This book is now very famous, but I wouldn’t have sought out a copy and bought it early on. When I read this book, I was amazed. I didn’t realize that these kinds of stories were allowed. I’d skipped MG and YA as a YA. I went straight to Adult fiction, and this book wouldn’t have stood a chance in the publishing market place of my youth. Well, maybe it would have, I’ve no idea why lightning strikes one location and not another.

One summer, I took a job as a horseback riding instructor at a camp. For those of you who have never done this sort of work, it’s about the craziest job you can ever take. Most of the children who show up have NEVER seen a horse in person, and the first time they do, you put them on one. Then the instructor (read: crazy person) stands in the middle of the arena while rank beginners attempt to ride horses inside the arena. Yeah, really not a bright idea, as most of the kids don’t know the whole pull back on the reins and they stop thing. Seriously scary as the person on the ground. 

At this camp, the instructors all go by false names, and I chose Draco (after the star constellation). All summer long the campers would ask “Wait, like in Harry Potter?” Then I had to describe the stars and constellations, and they’d be disappointed. They wanted my name to have something to do with this Harry Potter fellow. 

After a summer of “Like Harry Potter?” I went and bought the book. 

I’d say that book changed my life. Before, I’d thought all the stories in the world had to fit a particular mold, but Harry Potter shattered my preconceived notions of what I can write about. 

And did I mention I’m very excited about the last installment of the movie? I’m going to go read through the series one more time (cause I’m a nerd).

1 comment:

  1. I wrote Harry Potter off for a long time. It wasn't until my friend Melissa, who was in her thirties at the time, loved Prisoner of Azkaban so much that she sent me books 1-3 (all that were out at the time) that I fell in love with them. I still remember letting dinner burn because I was so wrapped up in the end of book one.

    My preconceived-notion-shatterer, though, was probably Meg Cabot. She wrote like she talked, and it wasn't until then that I realized that's what "voice" was all about. She taught me that when it comes to writing, there is no spoon.

    (Totally dating myself with that reference, I know!)

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