Monday, August 1, 2011

The Shared Experience of Writing

Post by Jenny

So much has been written about Harry Potter this summer that I’m a bit reluctant to add another blog post to the list. But my family and I returned Saturday from Orlando, Florida, where we had the opportunity to spend some time at Universal Studio's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I still have Harry Potter on the brain.

I’m a big fan of the books and movies, and the Wizarding World was amazing, more than exceeding my expectations. We sipped on Butter Beer as we walked the streets of Hogsmeade, where the “snowy” roofs sparkled in the 90-plus degree heat. We browsed Zonko’s and Honeyduke’s and had lunch at the Three Broomsticks. We visited Olivander’s, where aspiring witches and wizards ooh-ed and aah-ed over the selection of wands. And we toured our way through a spectacular replica of Hogwarts as we waited for the ride of all rides, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

As I rubbed elbows with Muggles from the world over, it boggled my mind to think that the Harry Potter phenomenon sprang from the imagination of one woman. I know that hundreds more people were involved in bringing the books, the movies, and the park to life, but Harry’s world is and always will be J.K. Rowling’s creation. But even more than that, I found myself reflecting on the power of the shared experience. Writing can be so personal, such an individual undertaking, but once someone else reads what we’ve written, it becomes a shared experience. It might be one person, a hundred people, or—as in HP’s case—a bajillion others, but the sharing of stories is still as important to us, culturally and socially, as it was when the first cave people sat around the fire listening to each other recite Diary of a Wimpy Kid. (Okay, maybe my prehistory is a little foggy.)

So here’s to all of us who are bringing our stories to the world. Maybe we’ll never reach “theme park status,” but the acts of writing and sharing are still amazing and important. And by the way, the power of story wasn’t my only shared experience at Universal Studios. Two others were:

1. Queuing (as the Brits say) – I’m not sure how long the line was, but before I reached the end, I had to shave my legs. Twice.

2. Sweating – Florida in July. Enough said.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Universal Studios also pays homage to another of my favorite authors: Dr. Seuss. That was magical in a completely different way.

What’s your favorite part of the shared experience of writing?


Marlena Cassidy said...

I like getting together with my writer/reader friends and just talking about a book or thinking up crazy theories if it's part of a series. Once you put your work out there, it takes on a life of its own, and that I think is some real magic.

Edna Pontillo said...

Well put! LOL!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I want to take this trip so much, but I think I'll go when it's a bit cooler.

My favorite part is getting together with other writers at an NCW coffee or a conference. When everyone is thinking about some aspect of writing, the energy is amazing.

Jenny said...

Marlena, that is some real magic.

Thanks, Edna!

Pat, you'd have a blast. I enjoy the coffees and conferences, too.

Andrea Mack said...

Wow - this sounds fun. My family is thinking about going. Any tips for a smoother trip?

Jenny said...

Andrea, I should have checked out one of the published guides to Universal beforehand. My library has a copy that I happened to see when I got back, and it had some good information I wish I would have known, such as who offers AAA discounts and what exactly the rides entail. Oh well, I'll know better next time :-)

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