I have not forgotten about Books to Build Solidarity. I have been reading a number of textbooks in an attempt to understand concepts such as culture, race, ethinicity and gender. It has been thrilling, for me. However, reading and writing for school is a separate endeavour than Books to Build Solidarity so I have attempted to keep the two just that, separate. Thus, my free reading has been a little sparse.
A few weeks ago my students brought up Harry Potter in one of our classes as we discussed conflict management and resolution. I had to date not read any of the Potter books but went along with my students example. It proved to be a decent approach as it required them to think through and clearly explain their responses so I could learn and educate along the way. We still had a class to follow up on our discussion regarding conflict so I decided to read the first of many Potter books to keep up with my students.
I cannot say I learned a lot from the book. It was a easy read and indulged in more creative thinking then I have in many months, if not years, making it entertaining. Like many of you already know, Harry goes to a magical school, Hogwarts, and learns that he comes from a unique, misunderstood, and perhaps feared wizard family. Along with his peers he begins his journey into wizard life – learning spells, tricks and how to play some game on a broom stick. I now understand why people thought it was fun to run around a field “riding” a broom stick. Unfortunately my new understanding has only decreased my level of query but not eradicated my desire to understand why this has (or was) a common past time for University students.
Here’s the thing though: I am not sure I can get on board with reading the rest of the Harry Potter books. I feel like I need something different to stimulate me at this time in my life. BUT reading the book has me wondering about the deep rooted desire individuals must be feeling to engage in creativity, to escape from their daily lives into this factious world, and to imagine beyond human capabilities. I cannot stop myself from thinking that life has become so mundane, so scary, so exhausting, so (insert word of choice), that adults are absorbed in child and youth literature in order to relax, dream, imagine, and be creative.
Maybe it is the cynical in me, but I am a little concerned that this is where society is at. On the other hand, J.K. Rowling, you have hit the target. You have created this adventure that young and old are journeying through wizard life together and have likely revived much lost creativity. For that, hats off to you!