How do you write about something you love?

Harry Potter is an obsession of mine, but it’s something I have a hard time writing about.  The depth of feeling I have about the books keeps me from being able to explain myself in a coherent way, because the emotional experience is so raw and personal that it overwhelms me, and I can’t find the words to express it.  I listen to the audiobooks constantly (because I have more time to listen to audiobooks than to read, lately), getting to the end of Deathly Hallows and starting over again with Sorcerer’s Stone.  It’s pretty much constantly on my mind, and even if I’m not actively thinking about it, it’s always nearby.  (The only piece of jewelry I wear other than my wedding ring is a ring I designed which has 7 symbols on it, one of which is the sign of the Deathly Hallows.)  I may proselytize about the church of Joss Whedon, but Harry Potter means more to me than anything Joss has created, though I rarely talk about it due to its personal nature.  I find myself disappointed and heartbroken whenever I try and fail, so I often just keep my mouth shut.

This puts me in an odd position with regards to the Harry Potter movies.  I absolutely love the film series, both for its faithfulness to the heart of J.K. Rowling’s story, and its ability to stand on its own as something unique.  But unlike some other film series, we don’t watch Harry Potter that often at my house.  Partly this is because it feels like at least one of the films is on TV at any given moment.  But it’s also because I have a hard time just watching them the way I watch most other movies.  I’m pretty much an emotional wreck during the movies, especially with the final two, and I get easily frustrated with household distractions while watching them.  And while I generally enjoy being an emotional wreck, it’s not exactly a happy, relaxing way to spend the evening.

However, the last time we watched the series (over a year ago), I decided to take notes, with the thought of doing an analysis of the movies in the style of my Pirates of the Caribbean analysis.  I ended up with 16 pages of notes, which were basically my stream-of-consciousness observations while I watched.  Though I’m sure I would have no trouble turning that into a robust analysis, the emotional toll it would take and my constant frustration with my inability to express myself in a quality that I feel does justice to my obsession eventually dissuaded me from my original plan.

The idea of writing about the Harry Potter films hasn’t ever completely left my brain, so I’ve been wondering how I could write about it a way that would seem interesting to readers and that wouldn’t cause me emotional distress either in the writing process or by my internal frustration with the results.  What I’ve decided on is an analysis of the directors of the Harry Potter series, which allows me to look at stylistic choices and changes, and how the pattern of directors shaped the narrative of the films.  It’s specific enough to give me focus, and something I can analyze without getting overwhelmed with emotion.

So you can look for that in the upcoming days, but it left me thinking about how I as a blogger write about things that I have a deep personal connection to.  There’s no denying that I get emotionally wrapped up in my writing, and while on most things I like to hear differing opinions, there are some topics that it hurts to much to be told I’m wrong.  Or worse, to simply be ignored.  I already have Friday Favorites as a way to highlight things that mean something to me in a fun, specific way, which people seem to enjoy.  And the last thing I want to do is to simply turn this blog into incoherent fanboy ramblings, which contribute nothing to the conversation other than the stereotypical “squee” sound that fans tend to make.  (Not that I have a problem with that sound, or with fanboy ramblings, it’s just not what I want this blog to be about.)  But perhaps focusing on one particular part of a larger whole, like the directors of Harry Potter, will allow me to detach a bit, at least for the length of an article.

If the directors of Harry Potter analysis goes well, maybe I’ll try to find other ways to write about the series, which is, after all, the highest grossing film series of all time, and seems like an obvious topic for my blog.  Watch for it in the next week or so.  Also, for those who are curious, the list of planned articles on the left side of my blog is not just false advertising.  All of those items are in various stages of planning and writing, it’s just that I keep getting distracted by new ideas.  However, I fully intend to post all of them eventually.  As always, any suggestions or recommendations are welcome, too.  And I’m thinking of starting a “Quote of the Day” feature.

What do you think?  Do you have trouble writing about something you are passionately obsessed with?  How do you separate your feelings from your writing (or at least separate them enough to be able to form coherent thoughts)?  Is there anything you would like me to write about?  Let me know in the comments!

17 thoughts on “How do you write about something you love?

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever found anyone else who basically feels the same way about Harry Potter that I do. I actually sometimes find it hard to read other people’s thoughts on Harry Potter because reading about how someone feels about it just…feels inadequate…it isn’t the same as actually feeling it…if that makes sense. Whenever I try to talk about Harry Potter, it starts off ok but eventually disintegrates into something like ‘I just love Harry Potter so much becausealkkdljglkdmf,mbnalkdfj’. So yeah. Lovely blog post! 🙂

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    • I’m the same way. I think most people have that one thing that means so much to them that they’re reluctant to share it with other people, because if the other person doesn’t feel exactly the same then it’s a huge disappointment. It’s hard loving Harry Potter so much and trying to talk about it to someone who likes it but not on the same level as you. And I know exactly what you mean by everything disintegrating into “I just love Harry Potter so much becauseiohasgliohalsghlisjelijasg”, which is what I’m trying to avoid posting. It makes me sad that I haven’t been able to go to any of the conventions, because I feel like people there would get it on a level that most other casual “fans” wouldn’t.
      Thanks for the comment! It’s nice to know there’s someone else out there who can relate to what I’m talking about.

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  2. Back in the day, people told stories, not with the idea of having tales full of scientific and historical facts, but having tales full of Deep Truths Revealed. Stories, well told ones anyway, unlock the door to the Basement of the Collective Unconcious (or Middle Earth, or Hogwarts), and give us a light to see what’s down there. Much of this cannot be explained with science, or math, or even words. We need stories to take us into the depths of Faerie.

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  3. PS: I also have issues at times writing about stuff that resonates deeply with me (Lord of the Rings, Mirkwood, the Elven Archetype). I worry that someone will not agree, or think I’m a complete dork.

    Or at least I did once. Now I just blort it out. Abraham Lincoln said something like this: “You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

    I pretty much put on my Badass Grandma costume and just say what I think.

    As far as separating an analysis from your emotional reaction, just tell the audience which it is? Hey, this is an analysis… this here is my reaction to the story.

    The key is that Mother Nature lives diversity; of species, of approaches to life, and of opinion. Accept that others will not necessarily have the same opinion, and that’s OK, it’s part of Diversity. You’re allowed your reaction/opinion, and so are they.

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    • Thanks! I don’t care so much what other people think. I had a great argument with someone at work when I took a day off to go to the midnight premiere of the final HP movie, who thought that was not something a grown man should be doing. My reluctance comes from times when I’ve had a receptive audience and I’ve tried to explain something very important to me with regards to Harry Potter and have failed to get the point across. I get so emotionally wrapped up in it that my meager writing skills fail to compensate, and then I get frustrated and angry with myself for letting myself down. I have no problem proudly proclaiming my love for Harry Potter, as I generally don’t care what people think. But I have very little patience with myself when it comes to writing about it.

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  4. Pingback: Book Review: The Casual Vacancy | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  5. Pingback: Friday Favorites: Favorite Scene – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

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