Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One More HP Interview

This quarter's Carleton College Voice includes an interview with me by the lovely Danny LaChance '01. The picture above was an outtake from my photo shoot with the equally lovely Metin Oner at the Cloisters.

The hat I'm wearing in the picture on the Carleton page has been lost to me, alas -- a sincere "alas" there, as I really loved that hat: pink wool, with a flower. So I'm grateful to have a good picture of me in it, and grateful to Carleton for the nice attention.

ETA, 3/26/08: When I was writing up this post last night, I forgot to mention what I was really excited to talk about in the interview: mechanics -- that is, punctuation, capitalization, spacing. As my authors can attest, I am mildly obsessed with these things, because, as Isaac Babel said, "No steel can pierce the heart of man as icily as a full stop placed at the right moment." I think of that cold breath in the middle of Percy Shelley's "Ozymandias," how you hear the futility of human ambitions and the silence of all the ages in the pause before "Nothing beside remains." Or, closer to home, in our incredible In the Shadow of the Ark by Anne Provoost -- the Noah's Ark story told from the point of view of a girl who stows away on the boat -- one polytheistic character eventually comes to accept Noah's Unnameable and singular god, and we signified that change by making "him" (in reference to God) uppercase when that character talked about Him: the tiniest of differences conveying this entire shift in the character's philosophy. I love this kind of stuff, and I was thrilled to get to talk about that in relation to HP, where much thought and discussion went into capping Cloak vs. Wand and Stone or the right circumstances for a colon vs. a semicolon. . . . While I do try to move faster than this, I admit that like Oscar Wilde, I can spend all morning putting in a comma, and all afternoon taking it out again.


  1. Ooooh, lovely article, Cheryl! And I adore the hat.

  2. So I know it's impossible to replace such a great hat. I've lost a few dear hats in my time.

    But you should give this a look. The fact that it's called an "I Feel Pretty Hat", might just hook you.

    I purchased this hat for a dear friend and she loves it.

  3. Great article, and a very pretty hat! I hope you find another you like as much.

  4. I left my beret from Paris in a Joseph-Beth bookstore. At least it has gone on to a better place.

    And I love the picture! It looks like a painting!

  5. I agree! The picture does look like a painting. And you look super-pretty in the hat :)

    The article was fantastic. Your sincerity is inspiring, Cheryl. It's not often that people spend ages agonizing over commas and full stops just so that it would make a perfect sentence, and understand that it makes ALL the difference(Eats, Shoots, Leaves?!) Of course, it IS your job but the fact that you love doing it so much is amazing.

    At the risk of sounding terribly dim-witted, the incident about the smile made me smile :) Thanks for giving the link!

  6. You're right, it was a beautiful hat that you looked great in. Wouldn't it be nice if Harry Potter (or one of his fans) could work a little magic and return it to you?

    I love hearing about the subtle details, such as a capital letter or a period, that capture the power of an entire book. Very cool.

    pj lyons