Title Our Authors

A VISIT FROM JK ROWLING

By Sally Steele

GWTW

I was working on my latest excuse to delay doing my housework one day when the doorbell rang. I was as surprised as I was pleased to see JK Rowling standing on my porch. I had written a glowing fan letter a few years ago and invited her to drop by for tea if ever she was in the neighborhood, never dreaming she'd take me up on my offer.

But here she was now, smiling and waiting for me to invite her in. I stuttered, looking over at the vacuum cleaner I'd left in the living room. I hemmed and hawed as I noted the thickening dust on the side table next to the couch. I gulped and managed a weak smile.

"Won't you come in?" I asked, stepping aside to show my unkempt house in all its glory.

Ms. Rowling was very gracious. "Oh," she said. "This reminds me of the flat I lived in when I wrote HARRY POTTER."

Knowing my literary ambitions from my fan letter, she put a reassuring hand on my arm. "It's my belief that a messy home is the sign of a good writer."

Her kind words put me at ease and I led her to my kitchen. After clearing away the clutter from the table, I laid out two cups and saucers, then put the kettle on for our tea. JK Rowling sat down and, while we waited for the water to boil, she asked me who my favorite woman author is.

"My favorite woman author?" I mused as the kettle whistled. I took it off the burner and poured it over the Earl Grey into the teapot. While it steeped I took over the conversation before Ms. Rowling could say another word, launching into my favorite book. She sat there in a stupor as I rattled on.

"Margaret Mitchell is by far my favorite author," I said. "I learned more about the Civil War from reading GONE WITH THE WIND than I ever did in school. Her characters are so real you feel like you could go to Atlanta and find their graves."

I stopped to pour the tea.

"I have a shelf full of books of and about GONE WITH THE WIND and Margaret Mitchell. Did you know her grandfather was wounded in the Civil War? A Minié ball seared a groove in his skull. When she was a little girl he had her feel the dent it had left. It was something she never forgot."

I took a sip of tea.

"She made her story feel so personal too. I felt like I was Scarlett O'Hara, starving on the plantation, terrified of the Yankees coming, plotting to win Ashley's love and fighting to keep Tara out the hands of Jonas Wilkerson, their old overseer, and I cried when Melanie died.

"And her descriptions! I can smell the cherry blossoms on the day of the barbecue. I can feel the coolness of the newly plowed red earth. I can smell the smoke from the burning of Atlanta and feel panic and hopelessness when Scarlett comes home to find her mother had died.

"Margaret Mitchell was a master storyteller. I've always admired her, for all that I'm a Yankee myself."

I took another sip.

"I would love to have her skills and talent, but she was one of a kind. I've never read any other book that could compare with hers. GONE WITH THE WIND is the best book I've ever read and I've read it so many times I've lost count."

I stopped to take a breath and suddenly noticed that JK Rowling's initial look of shock had turned to stone. She glared at me and said, "I meant who was your favorite author besides me."

I wanted to crawl under a rock, but she was the one who asked. "Oh…um…you're good too," I cringed.

She stood up. "Thank you for the tea," she said icily, "but I must go."

She stormed to my front door and left, slamming it behind her.

I followed like a lost puppy and stood, staring at the closed door for a moment feeling mortified.

Oh well, I thought. I turned and went over to my shrine of GONE WITH THE WIND books. I pulled one off the shelf and sat down to read it…again.

 

 

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