“Harry Potter Will Be Remembered” is trending on Twitter today. My first response, “Duh.”
Forget that Harry Potter solidified my love of reading, brought my family even closer together when Mom would crack open the books and read aloud, gave me a great literary allusion for pretty much every paper I had to write in high school, supplied me with a massive amount of t-shirts, helped me bond with people in college, gave me something to draw on when picking a college (“Hogwarts”) and just in general has added a whole other level of meaning to my life. I mean, why would I remember Harry Potter for that?
Because, in an indirect way, J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard inspired my career aspirations.
When I was 10 and well on my way to being a total Potter-phile, my mom presented me with my first “grown-up” magazine, the special Harry Potter edition of Vanity Fair that came out just before “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was released in theaters.
I was beside myself: Harry Potter was the beginning and the end for me at that age. The alleluia chorus was probably singing as I cracked the thick book open, smelling the lightly perfumed pages and coming face-to-face with Harry sitting in his cupboard under the stairs.
Dramatic as it sounds, that issue was what started the ball rolling for me to go into magazine journalism. Up until then, I had only read American Girl Magazine and was quite bored with it. Vanity Fair was fresh, new and mature, and even though I didn’t understand all of the articles I read inside of it, I spent that month pouring over the pages. Even as a 10-year-old, I thought it would be remarkable to work for such an interesting magazine.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing; ever since I could pick up a pen, I’ve been crafting stories in my spare time and experimenting with words. Although journalism is my main focus, writing books is a hobby that’s kept me sane throughout the long years of puberty, starting my novel writing when I was 11. I don’t write angst-filled pieces — at least, I try not to — but I try to make my stories have something more lasting than the usual young-author fare. Right now I’m working on my fifth novel, a futuristic look at gang warfare, and a sixth, a comedic story of a romance novel writer who hates her job but loves extended metaphor, but I’ve also written fantasy (not vampires!), coming-of-age and action books. I guess you can thank genre-crossing Harry Potter for that, too.
So will Harry Potter be remembered? Of course he will. Harry Potter will be embedded on every page I edit, sewn into the binding of every magazine I read, at every company I work for — and that, my friends, is the magic of lasting literature.