JK Rowling wrote some of ‘Harry Potter’ sitting on the loo.
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Friday 6th August 2021
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
JK Rowling wrote some of ‘Harry Potter’ whilst sitting on the loo.
The author has confessed she penned some of her famous book whilst using a public loo but she refuses to divulge where it is as as she has been left “embarrassed” by her revelation.
She said: “I once wrote a paragraph of Harry Potter sitting on a public loo. Literally, that happened. You know what? It was the moment, I had no time, it’s gonna have to happen now.
“So it made me very un-precious about the conditions I need to write, and that was good because it meant I could continue to raise my kids and keep going. Maybe [the books] would’ve been better written if I hadn’t had that life but that’s what it was. I’m not telling anyone where that loo was, I’m too embarrassed, I can’t believe I’ve told you that but that is the truth.”
The 55-year-old author admits she isn’t always “inspired” when she writes.
Speaking on the BBC podcast, The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed, she added: “I don’t know if they say this to you, ‘Do you only write when you’re inspired?’ In my head, I say, ‘Well if I only write when I’m inspired I’ve only written half a book’. A professional writer has to push through, we all love those moments of brilliant inspiration but it’s the work you do after that that counts or that’s how I see it.”
The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed
J.K. Rowling: Eight things we learned when she spoke to Simon Armitage.
This week on The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed, Simon Armitage welcomes one of the best-selling authors of all time. J.K. Rowling, creator of Harry Potter and the Cormoran Strike detective series, has sold over 500 million books. Additionally, as screenwriter of the Fantastic Beasts films, she’s been responsible for generating over £1 billion at the box office. Over 25 years, she’s gone from unknown to a global one-woman industry. Rowling reveals the strangest place she’s ever written, the full story behind her pen name and how a childhood nightmare inspired some of Harry Potter’s scariest characters.
The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed: J.K. Rowling
- She wrote some of Harry Potter in a public toilet
I read about writers having elaborate rituals… I once wrote a paragraph of Harry Potter while sitting on a public loo.
Rowling and Armitage share stories of their favourite places to write. While Rowling says her ideal writing spot is “a room with a view”, she’s learned to write anywhere. She was working on Harry Potter when her daughter was very small, and she had to grab writing opportunities where she could. “I could only really work when my daughter was asleep,” she says. “She would fall asleep and I’d think, ‘I’ve got an hour’.” She says she owes to her daughter Jessica her ability to focus, to the point that she is now able to write anywhere at all. “I read about writers having elaborate rituals – light the candles; they have to be in a perfect space – and… I once wrote a paragraph of Harry Potter while sitting on a public loo.” No, she won’t say where the loo was.
- Harry Potter began life in a little flowery notebook
Every guest on the podcast is asked to bring in a meaningful object. Rowling reveals that her meaningful objects have only been seen by three people in the whole world. They’re the notebooks in which she first jotted ideas for Harry Potter. “I bought these in an art gallery in the early ’90s,” she says. “One’s got a reproduction of… a Dutch still life [on the cover] and one’s just got a William Morris-type cover.” They’re full of ideas for Potter, including thoughts for spell names, scattered among general notes. “There are old phone numbers in Portugal (where she used to live), doodles, reminders of things. Then suddenly, you’ve got a bit of dialogue that actually did end up in Philosopher’s Stone.” One of the books also contains the original name of Dumbledore, “but I’m not going to tell you, because it’s rubbish.”
I wanted to go back to getting an honest rejection letter.
J.K. Rowling on writing the Cormoran Strike novels
- She still reads her reviews
Many successful authors will tell you they stop reading critics’ reviews fairly early in their career, but Rowling says she’s always read them. “A good review is something you learn from,” she says. “I’ve always felt that. Good or bad. Certainly not all reviews… but interesting or thoughtful reviews.” She says part of the reason she wrote her Cormoran Strike novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith was because “a lot of [reviewers] were reviewing me, and the phenomenon, and how much money I have… and I just had this craving for what I look back on very fondly.” She wanted to be judged on her own merits. “I wanted to go back to getting an honest rejection letter.”
- The name J.K. Rowling was used in part to avoid her first husband
I’ve never actually said [this] before, but I actually wanted to be published under a completely different name.
The well-known story goes that the reason the Harry Potter books are published under the name J.K. Rowling, rather than Joanne Rowling, is because the publishers didn’t think boys would buy a book written by a woman. While that’s true, Rowling says there was another reason she didn’t use her real name. “I’ve never actually said [this] before, but I actually wanted to be published under a completely different name,” she says. “I’d come out of this very difficult marriage. I was a little bit paranoid… because my ex-husband knew what I’d been writing… so if he ever heard about it, I suppose he would know it was me.” Rowling has said in the past that her first marriage was abusive. “I actually had a restraining order against my ex-husband. As we got nearer publication, I thought ‘maybe I will just publish under a different name’.” She had another pen name in mind, with the last name Oliver, before deciding to use a more formal version of her real name.
- She couldn’t have written the Harry Potter series if she’d known how famous she’d become
Rowling repeatedly says how grateful she is for her fans, but also says fame comes with a lot of pressure and fear. When the first Harry Potter book became successful, she became a personality and newspapers and fans wanted to know more about her. “This is not what was supposed to happen. I found it incredibly scary… My little dream had been that one day I would hand over my credit card in a shop and someone would say, ‘Oh my god, you wrote my favourite book.’ That was my fantasy. I never expected to be papped on a beach.” When it began, she thought the attention would be short-lived. “If you told me… this would be 30 years, I’m not sure I could have written the second book.”
- Ending Harry Potter felt like a bereavement
Rowling spent 17 years of her life writing the Harry Potter series. Losing it from her life hit her hard. “I felt bereft, utterly bereft,” she says. “The thing the reader can never know is how much it gave you; how much strength it gave you, to have that place to support you. Potter had seen me through the death of my marriage, the birth of my child.” When Rowling finished the final book, her second husband, Neil, took her to Venice. “We’re sitting at breakfast and he’s beaming across the table, and I just burst into tears… I said to him, ‘It feels like a bereavement’.”
- The dementors were inspired by a childhood nightmare
The dementors, the terrifyingly ghostly guards of Azkaban in the Harry Potter novels, were, Rowling says, made to “embody depression,” which she has suffered with in her life. “It is cathartic to take those things and turn them into fiction.” While that was a deliberate choice, she says she only realised later that there was a second inspiration. “I realised subsequently that their appearance owed everything to a dream I’d had when I was a child… I had a dream… that I was hiding from a creature that looked like a dementor: the empty black cloak and the withered hand. It was sort of drifting toward me. It didn’t seem to have feet. I was terrified.”
- Nothing terrified her more than the 2012 Olympics
Of all the things Rowling has done, she says nothing has frightened her so much as doing a reading at the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. “Literally the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.” However, she also remembers 2012 as a lovely year, because it’s when she came up with the idea for her next book, The Christmas Pig. “I was working on the idea on a holiday just before the Olympic opening ceremony,” she says. She describes it as “a short book for younger children” about a toy pig. “He speaks, and other things speak, which you might not expect.”
To find out more, listen to The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed: J.K. Rowling.
Have you seen what fans did to the bathroom of the cafe JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter in?
Magical mischief has been managed by fans of the book series.
We all know JK Rowling decided to doodle on the bust in her Edinburgh hotel room when she finished Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows but have you seen what fans have done to the bathroom of the cafe she wrote The Philosopher’s Stone in.
Redditor isaywekeepit headed to The Elephant House in Edinburgh and discovered something truly magical in its bathroom – a shrine to The Boy Who Lived and the woman who gave him life.
Fans have flocked to the cafe, located in the city centre near the University of Edinburgh, to pay homage to their favourite author for years.
The House Elves must have a NIGHTMARE trying to clean it all off at the end of the day.
TOP TEN OF THE DAY
Top Ten Best Books of All Time
A book is a medium in the form of many pages of writing bound by a cover. It can take the form of a novel, play, poem, collection, eBook, biography, or nonfiction.
The Top Ten
1 The Bible
2 The Return of the King – J.R.R. Tolkien
3 The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
5 The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
6 1984 – George Orwell
7 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
8 The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
9 Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
10 To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
– Nicolas Chamfort
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe, or we are not. Both are equally terrifying. -Arthur C. Clarke
Happiness is….doing anything just sitting relaxing on the loo.
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
I tried to escape from the apple store, but there were no windows.
Love is…dancing to your old vinyl records.
A time to write whilst sitting on the loo…A time to confess that write whilst sitting on the lo0.
1945 Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by the US B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay”.
1960 Chubby Checker performs his version of “The Twist” on “The Dick Clark Show” starting a worldwide dance craze.
1989 “Oh! Calcutta!” revival closes at Edison Theater NYC after 5959 performances, Broadway’s longest-running musical revue.
1996 Punk rock band the Ramones perform for the last time at the Palace in Hollywood.
1844 The first UK press telegram was sent, to The Times, announcing the birth of Prince Alfred to Queen Victoria.
1889 The Savoy Hotel in London was opened.
BOOK OF THE DAY
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RETRO HIT RECORD RAMBLINGS
Reflections of a Top Hit Record
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©2021 Phil M Robinson