August 26, 2007

Go Brew Crew!

I know at this point the Brewers are in the worst slump they've had all season. I realize that many experts are saying that the NL Central is competitively weak (true), and that most think the organization got lucky with a really easy first month schedule (probably also true). But regardless of the season you're about to finish, I want to thank Milwaukee Brewers and their fans for a great season.

For the past couple of months I've never been more excited to follow the Brewers regularly. It's nice to hear Uecker truly excited over what this team can accomplish. It's amazing to know that Milwaukee fielded a handful of all stars with one voted in by the general public. Even as the Brewers have fallen from a 9 game lead in the Central, they're still in the thick of it.

Moreover, and this really happened before this season, I would like to applaud the young generation of Brewers Fan for shrugging off years of futility, and feeling proud to wear Brewer gear (and in many cases retro brewer gear). It's hard, because as a child who grew up threw the eighties when the Brewers were really good at the beginning of the end, when the brewers made the world series, when they started the season 13-0, when they were in a pennant race with Toronto (who eventually won the world series).

It was uncool to be a Brewer's fan growing up. Despite the respect that Paul Molitor, and Robin Yount had in the Major Leagues, there was a huge negative fan reaction (probably blanked by football frenzy which often happens in Wisconsin regardless of whether or not the Badgers/Packers are doing well). But now, it's neat to travel around wisconsin and see people wearing brewer gear, with recognizable names.

They're fun to watch. And frustrating to watch. But that's the joy of having a major league baseball team. You stay true, you watch the games, keep up with scores, and have hope. That's all anyone can ask. Cubs fans have been doing it for more than a century, and they've had worst luck than any other team in baseball. It's nice to see the Brewers share some of the spotlight and find their own identity.


August 13, 2007

Can't Spoil the Dream

(DISCLAIMER: despite the sort of catchy clever title, there are some spoilers concerning Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so if you haven't read it yet, don't read this article, unless you're not planning on reading it, which really you should...enough of the run-on sentence.)

Dear JK Rowling,

Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for sharing with us your world. Your struggles. Your dreams. Thank you for inspiring a new generation of writers, and storytellers, and kinds who love to use their imagination. Thank you for getting folks to read again. Thank you for showing that fantasy is not a threat to religion since many fables have their own fantasy, their own lore, and that's how we learn, religious roots or not. Thank you for bringing about this dream when you were merely riding the train to work and decided to be diligent enough to write it out, and go through the pain to publish it. Thank you for bringing all generations together for a book release...a simple book release.

Your last book, and in fact, the whole series, has left many great thoughts and inspirational jumping off points for a large number of readers, and for me, as a writer.

Good vs. Evil
You have never shied away. Evil does exist. But it doesn't exist for the sake of good, or always to be vanguished. Evil is not the sinister snarl of a top hatted villain who tied the helpless lady to the track. Evil is innocence. All of the characters who are considered bad still have human characteristics whether its loyalty, compassion, or sacrifice. Voldermort, Lucius, Draco, Snape, even Kreacher, were all characters who showed their weakness whether it was in the earlier stories (the history of Tom Riddle) or the later ones (why Snape has always looked out for Harry). More importantly, through Harry's realization that many of his idols were not perfect, pure beings, you've taught us that we all struggle with some internal 'evil' whether that's a struggle with a vice or compulsion, with stubbornness or short sightedness. The truth is that we have a choice, we can either fight against that which keeps us down, or rally against it, overcome it, and show the potential we have inside.

Spin Me a Yarn
Other than Harry being a horcrux (sorry, I saw this one the second you wrote in one book that Voldermort imprinted himself on Harry) this last book was perfect with the proper amount of shock and twists you peppered in the book. Kreacher becoming an ally, Dobby a martyr, one of the Weasley twins first getting maimed then dying, Snape's true intentions toward the Potter family...I mean that was only a handful of things I would have never seen coming. And the attack on the ministry! Brilliant! Thank you again for being, first and foremost, a storytelling. Knowing the craft of the basic elements of storytelling and bringing them forth in your own voice, style, and most importantly, your own universe.

Death, Rebirth, Love
When I say I like the fact that in your stories no one truly dies (pictures, paintings alone show that in the Potter world, the images of our memories are always animated, something we tend to forget) I don't mean that in a fear of death vein. I don't mean that in a pollyannaish love always transcends death. I mean that in the realistic terms of learning to let go. Any time a character died, there was sadness. There was grief. But there were people moving on. You created characters who realized that life is about living. And when you've passed, you're immortalized in the hearts of those still alive. Most importantly, by ending this series, you taught all of us that while we enjoyed playing in your world, we too need to let go. We too need to move on, and start dreaming (if we haven't already) larger than the world you created.

I wish you a long happy life. I wish you a happy life for your family. I hope that one day the canon of literature recognizes your contribution to pop culture AND culture. And I hope that many young boys and girls who grew up with Harry, find their own Hogwarts, their own Ron, their own Hermione, their own Dumbledore, their own Snape, and unlock the magic in their heart.

With much respect,

Peter Brooks