What I Know Wednesday is a bi-weekly round-up of thoughts, ideas and recommendations from the desk of Leah Jarvis. The best advice for writing is to write what you know. This is what I know. . .

Finding the Magic in the Small Moments

This time of year makes me feel like diving headfirst into the magical world of Harry Potter. The books were released when I was in elementary and middle school, and as an adult, I fully appreciate the child-like wonder that was built into my summers thanks to publishing calendars. If you weren’t like me and immersed in reading about Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts as a child, the first book came out in 1997. I remember buying the paperback version at my school’s Scholastic Book Fair because the cover looked whimsical – despite not knowing what the word whimsical meant at seven years old. 

For the next 10 years, new books were released every year or two in July. My dad used to drive me to Walmart at midnight every time a new book came out so I could be one of the first to buy it. I would devour at least a third of the book before falling asleep when we got home. He never complained, not even when I got scared of the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and refused to pick it up for a few weeks.

I could go on and on about the impact the series had on me, from sparking my love of reading to teaching me important lessons about good and evil to even understanding that magic can be found in the tiniest of places. But many have talked at great lengths about J.K. Rowling’s modern masterpiece – praising it and ripping it apart – and I don’t need to add to the conversation.

Instead, I’d rather treasure the memories of my dad driving me to go buy a book in the middle of the night unknowingly encouraging me to always pursue the things I love, to find whimsy in the ordinary, and love the written word all in a short drive across town. Those small actions mean just as much to me as what I learned from the boy who lived under the stairs who grew up to save the magical world. 


Quotable

Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.

– J.K. Rowling


Background Noise

Since my job requires me to make words into sentences, I can’t listen to anything with words while I work. Too many times I’ve been writing away and a stray lyric or phrase has ended up in whatever I’m working on. Now, I listen to movie scores when I need to be productive. The music is vague enough that I don’t lose my train of thought while working but familiar enough to comfort me when the going gets tough. Here’s my favorite working playlist. Spoiler alert: You’ll find a lot of music from the Harry Potter franchise. But I bet you’re not the least bit surprised.

My favorite thing about this playlist is no matter how many times I listen to it when I get to “The Quidditch Match” I ALWAYS think, “This is from Jurassic Park.” Nope. Even John Williams’ creates things that sound similar. That’s reassuring. 


What I’m. . .

Reading: Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith (reading a chapter a night, almost done!)
Listening To (book):  City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Listening To (podcast): Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations on When You Know Better, You Do Better
Cooking: Everything in the Instant Pot 
Baking: Chocolate chip banana bread
Knitting: Finally finished the back panel of Kevin’s sweater. Now onto the front. 

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