* This post was edited minimally from its original version. On occasion you will see entries like this, where a more personal first-person point of view is taken in favor of preserving the original message and to show you a different approach to the topics discussed.
I’ve stayed up enough nights and dreamt of your worlds often enough to be on a first name basis, even if you’re not aware of who I am, which is fine. I know you’re busy, and like many other readers, I smile when I know you’re busy. I just wanted to write a few words to say thank you and send plenty of love for your birthday.
As a muggle, I’m still happy to report that I’m a proud Ravenclaw at heart and were I to find myself on the quidditch field, I’d be a chaser. My favorite spell would possibly be lumosfor its simplicity, to bring light forth. When I visit the Wizarding World, I'd always have two rounds of treacle and pardon me if I’m a bit generous when it comes to butter beer… although now that I’m in my later-thirties, I wouldn’t mind a splash of fire whiskey once in a grey moon.
I’ve seen the movies, preferred the books, and jumped like a kid when I went to the Wizarding World. I was able to go to two midnight sales and there are no other books that have inspired more random conversations on the subway than your books.
You, my dear Jo, are magnificent. You embody elegance, perseverance, and keep quite humble for however much praise you receive and success you attain. You are one of the people I most look up to because of that. Because you also reach out. Because you dreamed and damn everything, you wouldn’t let go of that dream. As a writer, I see this behavior and know that when we have words we believe in, letting go is not an option. Better to be tied to the mast than to drown in the ocean away from our charge. You are generous with your time, your wealth, and your attention.
How many nights I’ve stayed up perusing through your mind, your fears, your scars – lightning bolt shaped, or not. I haven’t read your other books and for that I apologize. My only excuse is that I have been getting acquainted with other lovely literary friends. Neil, Stephen, Douglas, Frank and only too recently Terry… How foolish I feel for having discovered him so late in my life and he has already passed. Still, I was lucky I discovered you at a time in my life where magic was sorely needed and your stories provided it in spades.
Yes, yes, I do apologize I got to know your world initially through film, but we can’t all be perfect. Still, when I saw that film, something in me transitioned. There was a magic induced shift, if you will. I had just switched colleges and the transition was initially very unpleasant: dad was ill, finances weren’t the best, that sort of thing. Then I saw the film and felt like I’d just pushed through platform 9 ¾. The next year I saw Chamber of Secrets, and in 2004 I was in New York for a summer internship when I read the first two books, Saw Prisoner of Azkaban, and went to a bookstore to buy three titles, Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival, The Mystified Magistrate and other tales by Marquis de Sade, and The Prisoner of Azkaban. As you can imagine, the clerk looked at me crooked and rung me up as if I were in a pharmacy and had bought chocodiles, an action figure, a length of rope, prophylactics, and some ointment for muscle pain. But I didn’t care, that was me, and still is. I loved all three books for different reasons, although yet again, I felt most love for the Harry book… your book. Or should I say, our book.
As a writer, I look to you for the humanity you captured in those tales, for the imagination, the creativity, the textures, the sights, the flavors, and everything I encountered that showed me just how much magic a word, a page, and a book can hold within valleys of words.
So on this birthday, I say congratulations. For beauty within and beyond, for talent and grace. For humanity, for talent, for cheekiness, and for you.
Much love, luv and a very happy birthday to you.
A smiley, grateful, muggle who wishes only the best for a master of wizarding words.