Aboard the Hogwarts Express (GoF 11)

220px-Taylor_Swift_-_Reputation“Ohhh look what you made me do.” Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation, comes out in a little over a month, and man I CANNOT WAIT! It’s going to be great. Taylor Swift’s concept for this new album is taking her “ruined” reputation back into her own hands. There’s nothing better than seeing someone stand up for themselves in life, even though we still don’t have control over who lives, who dies and who tells our story. But it made me start to think a little deeper about reputations and law school.

This chapter of HP fit in perfectly with that thought! Reputations are being built or solidified everywhere! The chapter begins with an urgent house call made to Mr. Weasley about Mad-Eye Moody. Mad-Eye Moody has a reputation for flying off the handle and being a bit paranoid. Weasley is sent to go and help with Moody’s latest home incident witnessed by Muggles. The rest of the gang heads to Kings Cross Station to board the Hogwarts Express. Percy doesn’t tag along for his normal “I should really be at work” excuse. Fred and George tease Percy solidifying Percy’s reputation as a kiss-up. Once on the train, Hermione, Ginny, Ron, and Harry run into Draco Malfoy who is spouting off loudly about his brilliant father and how Draco knows this year’s biggest secret taking place at school. Hermione tells Ron to not let Draco get under Ron’s skin as Draco continues to brag (solidifying his reputation as being a haughty bragger).

Reputation: the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.

Alastor_moodyFaculty and staff always preach reputation at the law school. Your professional identity, the small Denver community, being nice to your peers… the lectures go on and on. While they mean well, and of course they do, I think there is something to be said about reputations. To me, reputations are simple perceptions about people usually made through the lens of your own insecurities added to half-truths about the actual person. Take Draco Malfoy for example. He has a reputation for being a brat, a snotty, rich brat. Most people dislike Draco terribly. His reputation does nothing but hurt him, over and over and over again, until you get to the end of the series. Draco puts up a front, he elaborates on his stories, he lives a half-truth filled life, attempting to make things seem better or make himself seem more important so he doesn’t have to face the real him inside.

Ron hates Draco based off Ron’s perception of Draco and the Malfoy family. The Weasley family is poor, the Malfoy family is rich. The Weasley family is kind to muggles, the Malfoy family HATES all non-pure blood wizards and witches and of course muggles. Ron’s perception of the Malfoy’s was most likely built from a young age and as he started school he has carried that with him and began hating Draco due to that perception. Ron refuses to look any deeper than the reputation Ron has built in his mind of Draco. We all do it. We find someone whose actions push the nerve of an insecurity inside of us and subsequently build a wicked reputation of that person in our minds as a coping mechanism.

Law school makes us do that even more. As we are put in a high stakes, high stress, and high competition environment we start to build these beliefs and opinions about other people. “Oh that girl is a gunner,” ” oh that guy just parties, there is no way he is smart,” “oh that person is always in the library, they must be super smart.” I’ve heard these all, and I’ve partaken in building some of these reputations. We are only human, it’s what we do to avoid our real issues. images-3

But we don’t have to. We can instead work on the reputations we build for ourselves about ourselves. If we took the time to stop looking outward at the people around us, instead taking the time to look inside our own hearts and minds we could change the world. I’ve always struggled with not letting other people get to  me (much like Ron) and really wished I could just brush it all off, but at the end of the day, there is no brushing it off, because it triggers something deep inside me I need to really work on.

So the next time someone rubs you the wrong way and you start to build up an opinion about them, take a moments and analyze why that bothers you. Then decide whether or not there could be another explanation about why that person is acting the way they are.  For Draco, it could be an act to try to win the approval of a father who never chooses to show Draco love. For Percy, it could be an act to try and feel important when he lives in a super large family who just doesn’t seem to appreciate him the way he would like. For Moody, it could be a real mental issues (paranoia and PTSD) triggered by his years of work putting wizarding criminals in Azkaban.

No matter what the story, the underlining premise of all of this is to just be kind to people. Don’t talk crap about them, don’t be curt when they ask for your help, just be nice. You never know what battle someone else is fighting or has already won/lost. So be kind.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

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The Riddle House and The Scar (GoF 1&2)

Starting a new book is always a fun adventure, but starting a new book the same time you move into a new place on the one year anniversary of this blog is the BEST ADVENTURE… oh and there was some sort of eclipse thing today too if you were like super interested in that.

IMG_1814Well ladies and gentleman and scholars and muggles and wizards and aliens alike… we did it, we’ve made it to book 4 of the Harry Potter series. The Goblet of Fire is where things start to take a truly dark turn in the series. It’s also the movie that I punched my sister in the arm after because she made fun of me for crying at it. Anyways, like every book, JK Rowling reconfigures the story for us, setting it off on the right path, picking up from where she left off. Except, in true Rowling fashion, this book doesn’t start off with Harry… instead we get a little story about the Riddle family and their gardner.

The Riddles were a nasty rich family who one day all fell over dead into their dinner. The gardner was taken in by police and questioned, since he was the only other person seen at the house that day. His release only happened after the autopsies of the Riddle family came back clean… no signs of poison or violence as the cause of their death. The whole family seemed to be terrified to death! Years later and the gardner still worked on the premises, paid by a man who did not live at the house but instead owned it for tax purposes. One night he is awoken by knee pain and sees a light in the old house. He assumes its just brave children who snuck into the abandoned place and lit a fire. He goes to check it out, only to find its 2 men planning the death of some person named Harry Potter and discussing the recent murder of a woman. He tries to escape but is caught by a snake which one of the men can communicate with. He is summoned into the room, only to be murdered with a flash of a green light. Harry awakes having dreamt all of this. His scar hurts. He searches his mind to make sense of it all, identifying the two men as Wormtail and Voldemort. Uncertain as to what to do next he writes to Sirius explaining the pain of his scar. IMG_1572

What’s interesting about law school is listening to the stories people tell. Having just finished the first week of school and now starting the second week you hear a lot of stories from 2Ls and 3Ls recapping their summers and discussing their class schedules and you hear the woes of 1Ls talking about their classes, teachers, classmates and bragging about their resumés. It’s fun to catch up, to hear about people’s jobs this past summer, to hear about their adventures, and to share my Italy stories. It’s also good practice to get back into the swing of advocating and presenting information in an intriguing but to the point way.

AS part of my classes this year I will be participating in a Community Economic Development Clinic, which is fancy way of saying we help people start businesses and non-profits that help redevelop low-income communities. As part of our orientation we went down to Five Points, a “dangerous” part of Denver. We took a tour of this historic city, known as the “Harlem of the West” and heard about the great Rossonian Hotel which once saw jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. We listened to stories and hardships belonging to the neighborhood. We visited an exhibit showcasing memorabilia collected from residents in the neighborhood. We asked questions. We digested the stories, and we took them with us back to the classroom.

IMG_1287While digesting these stories and feeling inspired by the work that lies ahead it made me think of one of my own stories. Now, I’m talking about a book I wrote, but also about a time in my life where I wanted to make a difference so bad I rushed through the process of writing, editing, publishing and marketing a book. I quickly started a not-for-profit business to sell this book and ended up selling 64 copies. I used the money to then purchase 64 books for a local elementary school (books they needed for classes). Eventually, I felt like it wasn’t enough, I need to do more, I needed to crank out another book, keep a blog going, sell more copies of my current book and keep going and going and going…. until I ended the whole thing altogether. But the desire to do more for local communities never ended… and look where I am now.

Stories are what drive us in law school. We collect stories from clients. We take in and reframe stories into arguments. We weave together sentences and calculated pauses to create a narrative that will hopefully help us win our case. We have stories that push us, motivate us to go further than ever before. Everything we do is tied up in a greater story. We live for these stories. We feed off these stories… we are always looking for the next one. It’s what we do. It’s who we are, even if we hate it.

At my core there is a writer. I’ve spent my entire life piecing together stories. From playing barbies, to playing in the woods, to sitting alone at my desk creating new worlds… for a second last year, I though for sure I had lost my drive to tell stories. I thought I lost my ability to create new worlds, to truly get lost in the worlds hidden in my mind. I thought I would only ever be able to reach them again in movies or if I stumbled into some free time to read for fun. Even with this blog, I still felt as though my desire to write these grand stories was fading away… and then I went to my clinic orientation and there stood a neighborhood, a hidden jewel of history and stories. There stood a hotel full of music and life, waiting to be re-released onto the people rushing past it. There stood my inspiration. IMG_0892

I tell you this because I think it’s important that we never lose sight of the story inside us. The story may seem out of focus, it may seem to get a little off track, we may stray from the usual patterns and rhythms of our normal stories, but in the end, it all has a purpose. Rowling started this book with a different beginning than the last three. She started it with a brief backstory, a brief insight into a few not so new characters. She started it with a purpose in mind. And while we may not see that purpose unfolded in the first two chapters, when we get to it, when we watch it completely revealed to us, we won’t be disappointed.

So, as the new school year begins, what stories are you telling to the world and yourself? What stories are you collecting and reframing? What voice are you using? Dig deep. Find your story if you lost it. Check in with your story if you’ve been adding to it. Enjoy your story as it unfolds and keep writing… you’ll never know who needs the inspiration.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed