I’ve self-identified as a Slytherin for most of my years in the Harry Potter fandom, dating from July in the year 2000, when I read the scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in which Severus Snape rolls up his sleeve to show Minister Fudge his Dark Mark as proof of Voldemort’s return. That act of Snape’s crystallized my admiration for both Snape and Slytherin House as people who do what needs to be done, regardless of personal cost or what people think of them.
Despite this admittedly aspirational identification with Slytherin, just about every sorting test I’ve taken, including Pottermore’s, puts me in Ravenclaw. I was irritated by this until I realized that perhaps it’s not such a terrible fit for me, especially since my favorite female characters are bookish Hermione Granger, who the Sorting Hat considered putting into Ravenclaw, and the delightfully bonkers Luna Lovegood, who was sorted into Ravenclaw. And I do love books and research. So I’m okay with Slytherin being my sun sign and Ravenclaw being my moon sign (and possibly vice versa), especially on days like this when my Ravenclaw tendencies are in ascendance.
Exhibit A: I have bought pens for my book signing at Warwick’s this weekend. Four of them. In different colors, all neighbors on the color wheel. And then I bought labels to use as book plates if people bring their previously-bought copies that the bookstore won’t let me sign at the event. And a superfine green Sharpie for signing the book plates in case my signing pens don’t work well on the labels. And generic sticky-notes for people to write how they want their books personalized to reduce the likelihood that I’ll misspell their names. And another Sharpie (black, retractable) for writing on the sticky notes.
Exhibit B: I am having to be very stern with myself to keep from obsessing over the excellent Critic’s Report I recently received from the initial round of the BookLife Prize. I will not know until September if my overall score of 8.25/10 is sufficient to make it to the quarterfinal round, which comprises the ten highest-scoring books in each eligible category. Looking at the top scores in my category from 2017 (the top 16 ranged between 8.25 and 10) or the 2016 semifinalists (my category wasn’t accepted in 2016! Noooo!) is not actually useful, since this year’s contest will be an entirely different batch of books, and there’s no telling how strong the entries are overall. This lack of certainty is also helping me manage my expectations for how I will fare overall. I’m not quite so silly as to think that this wonderfully weird, unfashionably earnest verse memoir I wrote will take top honors and the $5,000 prize. But I can’t keep my brain from imagining what the PW editorial folks who judge the quarterfinals will make of the book. Will they grok it the way the initial round reviewer did, or dismiss it as self-indulgent rubbish? And if they find it grokkable, might they grok it sufficiently to kick it up to the semifinal round? Because I think I’ve decided that I’d be really happy to end up there, where this year’s guest judge(s) will see it. I don’t expect the guest judge to necessarily grok it enough to send it to the finals (unless they REALLY like sonnets of course), but my book is weird and memorable. Even if the judge doesn’t entirely grok it, they will probably remember the bonkers sonnet lady. That’s my dream, anyway. And it’s a sensible dream, because if I get to the semifinal round, the book won’t be eligible for future rounds of the contest, so I won’t be tempted to resubmit it. Plus, yeah, reaching the semifinals with RISK A VERSE would be insanely awesome and a great thing to have in my pocket the next time I pitch an ambitious project or seek representation for another book. And if not? Well, the first round Critic’s Report is freaking awesome, and that ain’t nothin’!
Smooches to All,