Two Great Passions

Foreward to “These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you” (coming up after these messages!)

I have two great passions in my life – Hanson, and Harry Potter. I fell in love with both during that first decade of my life, and both have been consistent presences ever since. Both make up a large portion of who I am, and to fully understand me, you need to understand them. Even my own mother does not “get it;” she thinks these are passing obsessions via the likes of *NSYNC, Star Wars, Peter Pan (all of which I still love but no longer devote to). She has yet to even finish reading all the Harry Potter books (much less the movies) or attend a Hanson concert (though she will listen to songs when I play them for her).

For me, Hanson defines passion. They put so much into their music, and have fought so hard to continue making it, and that love comes through in every lyric and stroke of the piano. They are constantly fighting against perceptions and connotations, associations with “mmmbop” and the fact they became famous as pre-teens whose voices hadn’t yet dropped. I have grown up listening to their music, hearing the changes that come with maturity – both emotionally and musically – and relating them to the emotions tormenting me.

I met Hanson, in particularly Zac, in 2005 outside of a show – the first show of theirs I’d seen since 1997 and become an adult. The moment was life-changing and brought my childhood and adulthood together. To actually meet the man I obsessed over, my first love, who I’d listened to countless times and stared longingly at posters of, was surreal, and I felt my life was complete in many ways. He is still the man I consider my “ideal,” though I am mature enough now to realize the reality of life. 

Harry Potter is a different kind of love. I read the first story and immediately fell in love. In fact, when I read it now, over a decade later, I can still remember the way I felt reading the words for the first time. I still become enraptured with the characters, the wonder, the magic of it all. Like Hanson, I grew up with Harry Potter. My generation, and those a few years younger, were roughly the same age as Harry and followed his journey, relating to the emotions and turmoil like no one else could, because we were living it. I waited impatiently between book releases, scooping them up at midnight and reading them in a single sitting. Harry represented so much of what I wanted to be, and his battles became my own.

This summer I started working at a technology camp, where every week we lived a different theme – Greek Mythology, The Last Airbender, and Harry Potter. I pulled together a Hermione costume and we transformed the camp, complete with Muggle Quidditch, a Sorting Hat and House Cup, and Wizard Duels. As instructors, we carried wands and cast spells, handing out raffle tickets tocampers who “performed” them for us. (For instance, if we yelled “Lumos!” and a camper turned the lights on, he or she was given tickets). Essentially, we lived Harry Potter for two weeks.

Since then, my costume has grown – thanks to Halloween, movie marathons and premieres, and Dress Up as Your Favorite Literary Character days at work – and I find excuses to wear the costume whenever possible. This summer, my fellow Harry-loving instructor (who would be made fun of with me for our incessantconversations while the boys talked about programming and/or sports, depending on the person) and I are moving to a different camp location, and are bringing Harry with us.

So you understand the magnitude of my meeting Daniel Radcliffe, the boy who grew up as Harry Potter, after over a decade of loyalty, and the excitement when he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Nice hat, by the way.”