((Yes, the official AtoZ Blogging Challenge has ended…. and I failed to finish with the rest of them. However, I am STILL persevering to finish on my own time. I might be tardy to the party, but I won’t be absent! On to the first of many missing letters… H!))
Disclaimer: This blogpost is a complete and utter ramble about my extreme nerdiness for Harry Potter. Linear thought does not apply. Writer’s thought train has been known to jump tracks and charge into a fireworks factory without warning. We are not liable for whiplash.
Yeah, we all should have seen this coming. I reference HP… a lot. Whether in real life conversations, blogs, or my writing, if I stumble upon a chance to use a Harry Potter reference, I take it. Much like the day Hubs surprised me at work with a random gift.
— Melissa A Graham (@MelissaGraham85) March 29, 2015
Not a single person I work with got the reference, but I had my husband laughing. This is why I married him. No… really. Let me break it down to you.
In September of 2006, I joined a Harry Potter online roleplay site (that I will not link because reasons). I came across an ad for it on Myspace and was intrigued. Become a part of the Magical World of Harry Potter, you say? Take classes at Hogwarts? Oh my! So I joined, created my first character Gwendolyn Kettleburn, and came to an understanding that it was not a *real* school to learn magic (which I TOTALLY knew already, I swear) but a place where you create a character, create stories, and “live” in the wizarding world for an hour or two (or 17) a day.
Not too long after that, I noticed a guy named Druman De’Shay. I noticed him mostly because, where a lot of people were using play-bys that were hot at the time: Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, basically anyone under 25 and in mainstream media in 2006, Druman was using David Draiman (read my blog post, Musekicker: Online Roleplay Communities, for an explanation on play-bys). David Freaking Draiman! Chin talons and all! So we got to talking, we started writing together, our characters ended up dating and getting into shenanigans, and the rest, they say, is history. We had our first face-to-face date in 2007, moved in together in 2008, and got married in 2011. It was the longest, most careful, and strangest courtship of my life and I got a true soul mate out of it. To this day, we still play on HP RP sites together, Gwendolyn Kettleburn has become Gwendolyn De’Shay, and we still know that our love and our connection was kindled all thanks to J.K. Rowling.
It not only gave me the love of my life, but has opened me up to meet so many amazing people that my life would just not be the same without. In April of 2007, Hubs and I moved from the site we met on (because reasons) and to a brand new site called Hogwarts Undone. It was ran by one of my closest friends, whom we shall call Emis henceforth, and not only did we play on it but we were allowed to be a part of the creative team. The site, now known as Hogwarts School Online, has flourished beyond any of our imagining. The lifespan of a new RP site (of any genre) averages a year before dying out due to inactivity. If you make it to two, you are doing really well. HSO, though, has recently celebrated its SEVENTH year as a Harry Potter Roleplay site, with over 7,000 characters! (Since its inception, it has had 15,000+ characters created, but many have fallen inactive over the years and aren’t counted towards the active total. It’s the nature of the beast.). I have played many roles, both in character and out of character, and have recently been promoted to Governor (a high Admin position). This means, I get to be even more involved in creating the most magical site possible for fellow Potterheads.
Of course, life has a habit of getting in the way, so there have been times where the Harry Potter roleplay hobby had to be put away. One of these times was because I had a vision for a story and wanted to devote all my attention to it. I do not regret it, but I can say that, during those months where I was not engrossed in fictional wand-waving and magical chicanery, I did feel a void. It is very much a part of me that I may very well end up dying in old age in front of my computer having a heart attack over crazy noob posts and god-modding disputes.
That, of course, does not mean it is my only avenue of Potter-fever. We have all of the Harry Potter series in hard and paper back (or at least did until moving and borrowers misplaced some of them), we’ve bought each movie at LEAST 3 times and even found a very rare form of the Half-Blood Prince dvd, and we listen to the audiobooks routinely. Jim Dale is the final word in HP audio. Even if you’ve read all the books and seen all the movies, do yourself a favor and listen to the Audio Books narrated by him. It is a whole new experience, and the closest any Potterhead will get to getting that “reading for the first time” feeling back.
So yes, no matter what happens, no matter how old I get, no matter what life brings me… Harry Potter will be a daily infusion into my life. It’s one of those things that just never leave you. I’ve gained a lot from my love of HP, and without it, I may never have had the idea, the ambition, or the courage to try and do what my heart wants most; to write my own story that, someday, someone might become just as addicted to. If Neville can kill the last Horcrux, I can be a writer, damn it. And so, I will leave you with a few pictures, videos, and misc things related to HP that always make me smile.
A favorite now in our house
An oldie but goodie