January 24th, 2014

Pretty Tom

Snowflake Challenge - Day 6

Day Six

In your own space, share a book/song/movie/tv show/fanwork/etc that changed your life. Something that impacted on your consciousness in a way that left its mark on your soul. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Hmmmm. Time to once again share something else with people.

My thing that changed my life?

Harry Potter.

I'm just going to come out and say it because you know, that's where everything started for me. As a writer, and as a reader.

I first read the books.... I dunno. Probably before the first movie came out because I distinctly remember being rather miffed that some of it wasn't included in the movie. I remember going to see it with my best friend (at the time) and our mothers, while our brothers sodded off to go and watch a film that was rated 12!!!!!!! I was so jealous but honestly, I probably got the better deal. XD

But everything about it - the books, the films, they completely got my imagination caught and I loved it. I wanted that world because it was a world that you could disappear in, that you could do things and be things that you could never do in real life.

I do remember wanting my letter from Hogwarts, even up to my twelve birthday in case they made a mistake. Goddamnit, that was a hard blow to get over.

JK Rowling didn't write books when she made Harry Potter. She wrote fuel for imagination, not just for my mind, but for hundreds of thousands of millions of children around the world, showing us how to outline imagination with plot, craft characters with some skill, and to weave narratives. They were the first books that I fell in love with as not just words on a page but more.

And then there was the fic - it started somewhere so small as an archive, I don't even remember how, and it's probably shut down now. They don't tend to live long if people don't contribute.

But I read. God, did I read. I loved it - I devoured fic, page after page, chapter after chapter, story after story every chance I got. And when that ran out, I found fanfiction.net, and I started there, and then I got into fandom, and writing my own.

They were bad. They were so fucking bad.

But you start somewhere. You start with something even if it sucks, and then the only way is up, to be honest.

And that's kind of what happened.

The older I got, the more I read stuff that wasn't just porn - how weird does that sound - but I started reading stuff that was critical of what Rowling wrote. They picked at the source material, poking at the holes or the mistakes or the places where it was flat and broken, and that draw me into questioning source material. What about the history, the backstory, the meta narratives and the discussions about the society of the wizarding world. Because it was broken. It was damaged. Things were wrong and the history of it needed to be dissected and discussed. It needed feminist theories and queer theoriest, and digging deep into the frame work of the story that JK wrote.  It was different, and needed to be broken open and discussed and that's where I started wondering about how to dig into that kind of thing.

And then it kind of exploded into other fandoms, and other worlds, and yeah, I lost that for a while. I got drawn into less of the interesting, meta stuff and more into the fandom, and that sucked and was excellent in the same breath.

But I found it again, with later worlds, and writing my own stories again.

Now, I find myself reading and questioning it, looking at the characters, asking what if all over the place, which is what the Harry Potter verse taught me. Almost every single page has at least one what if if not a hundred more, and they're not just what if Character X hooked up with Character Y instead of Character Z. They're about what if Character X was deaf, or if they were trans*, or what would happen if they were actually treated in ABC way, rather than FHS way? And I want to write that.

And it taught me the value of words and writing, because Rowling's words weren't perfect. They were problematic in terms of character representation or the lack of it. There few characters of colour, there was poor treatment of female characters. They were often too complex for their own good, and she fucked up a lot with time lines, and sometimes, there were some contrivances that couldn't be swept under the rug.

Which is important to note. Representation matters, and lack of it hurts.

But she wrote a world where you could dive in, and luxuriate in the words and the plot, and I'll always remember that. I'll always enjoy it.

And I'll always remember that her books made me feel like I could do the same, and nothing could stop me.