Channeling challenges into creativity
In researching my main site [Talent Development Resources] about issues that impact personal development and creative expression for gifted and talented people, I have perhaps been “guilty” of emphasizing the problem side of topics such as introversion, self esteem, high sensitivity etc.
But many authors, filmmakers and other creators have been able to celebrate even difficult or challenging personal qualities to make characters that are unique and richly human.
J.K. Rowling has used aspects of her experience as a gifted girl to create “Harry Potter” stories and characters that resonate with millions of children – and adults.
In a January magazine profile, she described herself as a girl being “short, squat, very thick National Health glasses like bottle bottoms – that’s why Harry wears glasses.
“I was shy. I was a mixture of insecurities and very bossy. Very bossy to my sister but quite quiet with strangers. Very bookish. Terrible at school.”
She said the “whole thing about Harry being able to fly so well is probably total wish fulfillment.”
Although she was “never happier than when reading or writing,” she “wanted to be a ballerina at one brief point, which is embarrassing in retrospect because I was virtually spherical.”
Hermione and Rowling
In a Salon.com interview, she noted that “Hermione was very easy to create because she is based almost entirely on myself at the age of 11. She is really a caricature of me. I wasn’t as clever as she is, nor do I think I was quite such a know-it-all, though former classmates might disagree.
“Like Hermione, I was obsessed with achieving academically, but this masked a huge insecurity. I think it is very common for plain young girls to feel this way.”
Brains and hormones
Rowling added, “Similarly, her crushes on unsuitable men… well, I’ve made my mistakes in that area. Just because you’ve got a good brain doesn’t mean you’re any better than the next person at keeping your hormones under control!”
[Photo: Rowling writing in a cafe, from article: Introverted, Shy or Highly Sensitive in the Arts]