On Harry Potter

I have never read Harry Potter.

I know that is a shocking statement, for someone of my generation.

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My school did not allow Harry Potter, because magic. And even a fantastical story about a boy wizard could lead young, impressionable minds down the wrong path. The Bible does, after all, have some pretty harsh things to say about witchcraft.

Similarly, it didn’t allow Twilight, not because it modeled a dangerous relationship dynamic masked as *true love*; no that part was fine. The issue was that a fantastical story about sparkly vampires may lead to an interest in the occult. But I digress.

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I turn your teenage daughters into sexual beings, and that leads to devil worship.

 

That’s not to say that many girls in the dorm did not have the books stashed away.† I’d just rather use my limited space to stash other contraband. Like instant coffee. ‘Cause I’m a rebel like that.

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Kids these days, with their fancy Starbucks via. We had Folgers instant, and we liked it.

You see, the first time I became aware of the cultural phenomenon of Harry Potter, I was in 10th grade, and 15 years old. It really became big in my school the next year. My childhood best friend, who was a year behind me, had her Bertie’s Bots Every Flavor Beans, and her Gryffindor scarf; but I was an Upperclassmen. Dare I even say, I was an adult. I drank coffee. And I certainly did not read children’s books.

Basically, I was a pretentious little snot. I’m sorry, anybody who knew me then.

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Every adult in my life, probably.

Had I been a few years younger, I would have been the target age group, and would have loved them. A few years older, and I wouldn’t have been such a little snot, and loved them. Harry Potter just happened to occurr at the same time as I was undergoing, uh, growing pains. Thus, I missed this whole huge thing that impacted so many of my friends.

Last summer, I decided to rectify that. For my 29th birthday, I bought myself Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was finally going to understand all the Weasley jokes! I would fall in love with Hermione! I’d finally meet the Boy who Lived!

Well, it’s now a month away from my 30th (exactly!), and it’s still sitting on my shelf. I’ve set it in a prominent place, I fully intend to read it, I just haven’t yet.

So I’ve decided to blog it. Chapter by chapter, I’m going to examine exactly why Harry Potter has become such a cultural phenomenon. If you want to relive the magic, or perhaps see Harry through new eyes, or have never read the books yourself, join me as I explore Hogwarts.

I will post the first chapter later this week.

† Yes, I’m a boarding school brat. No, don’t judge me like that.

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So I’m Just Gonna Start

I have had this blog for a while, now. Almost every Monday (or Wednesday, or Sunday), I decide that this week will be the week I start blogging regularly. I’ve got so many ideas for blog posts, things I’d like to put in writing, to share with the world. Not that I think I’m so great that everyone should pay attention to me, but I feel the need to create. To put myself out there, regardless.

Except. Except I always felt the need to have an opening post. A starting point. A clear beginning that defines the goals of my blog, something to make my ideas seem a little more cohesive. A mission statement, of sorts.  Writing experts say that for a blog to be successful, it needs to be cohesive, have a specific purpose. Except I’m not a cohesive person. I’m all over the place. My interests span food, pop culture, politics,  gardening. So this blog will encompass all those things.

I have tried to condense this expanse into an exciting, engaging opening post a million times. Currently, it’s a jumble of paragraphs collecting dust in “drafts”. I periodically go in and add to it, edit, and then close it again. I ask myself things like”Will people understand my particular brand of humor?” and “What do I have to say that’s so special?”  You see, I’m having trouble finding my “voice”. It is, in reality,  procrastination. I don’t know how to start, so I don’t. I put it off until another day. Upon which I will put it off again. Because you can’t fail if you never start, right?

Except in college, I never started a paper with the introduction. I’d always start in the middle. I’d only have a vague idea of what I wanted the thesis to be. I’d let it develop organically, then I’d go back and write the introduction. Instead of struggling to find a starting point, I would begin with what I knew I was comfortable with, and let that beginning find me.

So this is me starting in the middle. I’m just going to jump right in and start talking about stuff. My blog is imperfect, and my writing style is still imperfect. But I’m here. And maybe, one day I’ll hit “publish” on that jumbled up intro post.

Stay tuned, more words coming to this space soon.

A Very Late Two Month Check In

Whoops

I’m not even going to bother going through my list of things this month because I failed at all of them. Keeping a schedule? Fail. Blogging? Fail. Reading? Made it about two thirds through a short book. Yoga? Ha!

Basically, I was the real-life version of Allie Brosh’s cartoon on adulting. After I wrote last month’s post, my brain went, “That’s it! We’re done! See? We even wrote about it! Yay!”.

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If you’ve never read the whole thing, go do it now. I’ll wait.

So then the week after I didn’t accomplish anything. That’s ok, I thought. I can start again next week. But then that week came and went. And so here we are.

So I’ve had a setback. It happens. I just can’t let it become a permanent setback. This will not cripple me. I’ll begin again, as many times as I need to, to make it work.

One Month Check In

This past July, I turned 29, freaked out, and set list of goals to accomplish before I turn 30 and my youth is officially over. This is my (approximate) one month check in. Below, find my successes and failures, things I’ve learned, and things I still need to work on.

First, the Successes

  • Get some sort of exercise at least three times a week. I asked around for ideas on how to get in shape without living in the gym, and a friend pointed me towards a 30 day yoga challenge on youtube. So far it’s working great, and  already I feel better when I start my day with some movement.  Apparently I have lots of thoughts on the subject of movement, because I wrote so much that it made more sense to move it to it’s own post. So if you care about the minute details of my workout mindset, tune in later this week.
  • Drink adequate amounts of water. So, I’m a magpie. Keeping water in a colorful tumbler instead of a boring pint glass means I will drink more. Who knew? Keeping water in a plastic tumbler with a lid also means I can carry it throughout the house with me as I do things instead of leaving it on the counter and forgetting about it. I’m so hydrated now!
  • Be diligent with the sunscreen. I already had a close relationship with my sunscreen, carefully layering it on before any scheduled yard work. I did not, however, put any on if I was planning on doing “just a few things” outside. I’ve become more diligent about putting it on regardless of time I think I will spend outdoors. That being said, I still burned last weekend. Perhaps I need to make it part of my daily routine.
  • Organize one room/area of my house a month. My intention was to start upstairs in the back bedroom closet and work my way out and down, documenting the process as I went. Because, of course everyone needs to see the inside of my closet. What do you mean, you don’t care? I don’t believe you, once you see the eye shadow collection housed within, you’ll change your mind. ANYWAY, you know what they say about good intentions. Instead, I started in the basement. And did not take any photos. But believe me when I say that my basement is much more organized – as in you can actually see the floor. While it’s far from completely organized, I’ll call that a win.
  • Read for an hour every evening. This is easily my favorite resolution, and the one I’ve had to think the least about. This month I have finished I, Elizabeth, a fictionalized account of Queen Elizabeth I told from her point of view, How to Create The Perfect Wife, the biography of Thomas Day, and I Await the Devil’s Coming, which, despite the name, was the absolutely charming story of Mary MacLane, told by 19 year old Mary MacLane herself.

Things I still need to work on

  • Set a schedule and keep to it. This one I’m still working on. I’ve been better about getting up at a reasonable hour, and insuring that certain tasks get done on certain days. However, I’m still struggling to focus on one thing at a time and getting everything I want to accomplish actually accomplished. I’m thinking about setting aside time to go to the library a few days a week to focus on writing and job-applying. Does anybody else do this? Do you find it easier to work from a location that’s not home? Let me know your ideas!
  • Volunteer. As selfish as this sounds, I’ve decided to work on myself first. I will still find a place (or several!) to volunteer before the year is done, don’t worry!
  • Earn a Paycheck. Still no job. Sadface. I have decided that I need to rework my resume, then redouble my efforts in job searching. Anybody know of anybody that is hiring?
  • Blog every weekday. Obviously I’ve failed at this. OBVIOUSLY. But today is monday, and it’s true that if you want to start a new habit, start on Monday. Or at least this is true for me. So I am setting a smaller goal today: I will blog everyday this week. Next week we will tackle when next week comes. Baby steps.
  • Repair relationships. I have written emails to several important people in my life, I just haven’t been brave enough to send them. I need to just suck it up and accept the consequences.
  • Do something creative everyday. Honestly, I don’t know if this one is a failure or a success? When I wrote this, I imagined myself doing something Creative! with a capital C. Something I could clearly point to and say, “yes, see. That’s my creative project for today. I am an Artist“. That didn’t happen. But I am a creative person, and I do small creative things all the time. As do you, dear reader, whether you consider yourself a creative person or not. This month, I have been mindful of all of those little creative ideas and solutions. So while I’m still not an Artist!, I have been more aware of my own brand of creativity.

Clearly, I’ve picked the easiest first. When August first hit, I kind of felt letdown that I hadn’t accomplished everything on my list already. Part of this process is learning that these goals are ongoing, and if I stumble, or it takes me longer to start on a few of them, that’s ok. I have the whole year. That being said, I shouldn’t procrastinate just because, “well, I have the whole year”. If I fail at something, I can put it away and revisit it next month, but I can’t put it away forever.

So I have two questions for anybody who may be reading this:  Do you have any tips or advice to help me accomplish my goals? What are your goals for this year?

P.S. I promise the focus of this blog is not going to be me me me. Less self-centered content is coming soon, if you want to stick around.

Goals for My 29th Year on this Planet

Last Monday, I turned 29. After a week reflecting on the direction of my life, I feel like 29 is a make-or-break point for me. Either I learn to harness my creativity and make something of myself, or I give up. I accept that maybe I am not destined to make the kind of mark on the world I want to, and I move on with my life. I can’t continue to flounder around, I need to find some direction. I need to stop dreaming about what I’d like to do or be or accomplish, and start actually doing and being and accomplishing those things. Or at least working towards it.

With all of this in mind, I have created some goals for my 29th year. In no particular order:

  • Get some sort of exercise at least three times a week. This body isn’t getting any younger, so I better start taking care of it.
  • Set a schedule and keep to it. Just because I spend most of my time at home doesn’t mean that I can do things whenever I want. Not having a schedule means I procrastinate a lot, and nothing ever gets done. No, I can’t do things later. I’ve got to do things now.
  • Volunteer. Not only do I think that it is important to give back to the community, but more selfishly, volunteering can be a way for an introvert like me to get out of the house and meet people with similar interests. So not only is it an opportunity to do some good, it’s also an opportunity to get to know the community better.
  • Drink adequate amounts of water.
  • Earn a Paycheck. Being unemployed can make a person feel pretty useless. Getting paid regularly is a reminder that my work has value, and that I am a contributing member of society. I need to start contributing monetarily to this household, too.
  • Be diligent with the sunscreen.
  • Organize one room/area of my house a month. It sometimes feels like every drawer is a junk drawer. Time to get a handle on the mess.
  • Blog every weekday. This blog is a shining example of a project I’ve started, but never finished (Is a blog ever finished? Anyway, you get my meaning). Blogging everyday is something concrete I can accomplish, that I can share with the world. Make no mistake, I don’t think I am so special that everyone just needs to read my every thought, but I do feel like I have a my own sort of creativity that I need to share. So I will put myself out there. Everyday. And with a little discipline, hopefully my terrible writing will become a little less terrible and something people actually want to read.
  • Repair relationships. This one is probably the hardest. I am an introvert, and can let relationships fall away because I can be selfish and don’t want to put in the work that it takes to maintain long distance, or even short distance, relationships. I just need to suck it up, suffer through the awkwardness, and make that phone call. Hopefully my friends and family don’t hate me!
  • Do something creative everyday.
  • Read for an hour every evening. When I was younger, my then-roommate and I would come home after work and spend about an hour in silence, just reading. It was a good way to decompress, to relax and recharge before we got into whatever shenanigans we had planned for that evening. I miss that. I have forgotten how much I love to read, I have forgotten how enmeshing myself in a good story can feed my soul. So I will make it a point to read, everyday.

I am hoping that writing this all down will help to solidify my determination. Likewise, I hope that sharing this list will hold me accountable. If this list seems kind of ambitious, well, it is. At least for me. But that’s the point, isn’t it? To push myself to be better. I want 29 to be a good year; I want to be proud of myself on my 30th birthday.

I Am Terrible At This

So I start a blog, and I don’t update for two weeks. I am terrible at this. I may not be an excellent writer, but I promise, from here on out, to at least be not-sporadic with the blogging and the uploading and the creating.

By the end of today, I will have a real post up. I will also work on putting content up explaining the tabs and work on my about page. Yay, goals!

This blog is a work in progress. I hope you join me on my creative venture.

Isn’t Blogging What People Do Now?

I’ve spent ages trying to come up with a clever name. You see, I have been considering starting a blog for ages now, but every time I decided to take my idea seriously, I would get hung up on what to call my blog. A blog needs a clever name, something memorable, something that lets the reader know what they might find within that space. Unfortunately, creating pithy titles is a skill I lack.

Perhaps I have been using my inability to find an appropriate name to shield myself. If one does not begin, one cannot fail.

Even if it turns out that I am, indeed, a terrible writer, one must begin somewhere. I begin here.

Stay tuned. Changes to this space coming soon.