Sunday Reflections: The Worst Week Ever
This week began with the news that David Bowie had passed away. I found out via text from The Mr. and to be quite honest, I thought he was participating in some cruel, cruel joke. But no, that news turned out to be true.
Then I made the mistake of reading the comments on several different articles, further illuminating my fears that the world was in fact going to hell in a hand basket.
Then on Thursday, we all got a punch in the gut when we learned that Alan Rickman, the fabulous actor that played Snape, had also passed away.
As a YA librarian for 20+ years, my career has been punctuated by the journey of a boy named Harry Potter, the friendship that carried him through 7 books of trial and triumph, and the adults that surrounded him. First there were the books, then there were the movies. If you have been a YA librarian for more than 5 years you probably have stories of your own to tell about midnight Harry Potter release parties where we sorted guests into houses, made edible wands, and celebrated the boy with the lightning bolt scar.
This loss felt too personal. I grew up with Harry Potter. I became the YA librarian I am today with Harry Potter. And Snape taught us all that we didn’t always know the whole story. The character arc of Snape worked in large part because of the brilliant acting of Alan Rickman.
I’m not going to lie, I cried several times – in public, at the Reference Desk – on Thursday. Every time I saw a picture of the wands raised in the air, I choked back tears.
Rickman himself understood the tremendous impact that Harry Potter had on the world. His quote about reading and re-reading Harry Potter – always he said – is all of us.
This year, The Teen finally became a Harry Potter fan. Well, I guess technically I mean last year. She read the books. We marathoned the movies. And this weekend we mourned.
As part of her mourning, Emma Watson shared several pictures of Rickman that contained quotes by him. One of them was about his feminism. Unfortunately, she was lambasted on social media for being opportunistic and insensitive. But to her, this was her friend Alan Rickman. She was remembering the parts of him that were important to her, that helped shape her, that connected him to her. He was a feminist, she is a feminist, their shared ideals are part of the story of their friendship. And yet those that decry the word feminism lashed out at her in the moment of her grief for sharing her grief in the exact same way that we all were.
I spent this week sharing meme after meme of both David Bowie and Alan Rickman. Look, here is David Bowie posing for an ALA Read poster. Look, here is Alan Rickman talking about his love for Harry Potter. Look, look, look . . .
This week was a truly horrific week. We collectively lost some artistic and creative genuises that left their fingerprint on the landscape of our lives. I personally lost men who had created works that were seminal to my adolescence and early adulthood. I remember dancing to Bowie at high school dances. I remember reading Harry Potter with my children and then watching the movies. Every time I hear these songs or see these movies, I remember the moments.
This weekend I am re-watching the Harry Potter movies with my children. And the truth is, if you asked me if I was going to re-watch them again, the answer is of course . . . . always.
Filed under: Sunday Reflections
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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