Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More from Jo

One of the latest bits of information about Jo Rowling is that she went through a time of depression and even thought of suicide. I didn't find it particularly surprising, to be honest. I think it's really all there in the books, that feeling of utter despair and hopelessness is so clearly written whenever Harry is around a dementor in Prisoner of Azkaban, or later, in Order of the Phoenix when he feels so alone. Even for people who haven't experienced the depth of that sort of depression, Jo gives a good picture of what it must be like.

Saying that I wasn't surprised by her comments in no way diminishes the importance of it. By sharing that very personal information, something she didn't need to tell anyone, she has opened the door for her readers who might be suffering from depression to seek help. She has taken away any stigma that might have prevented someone from acknowledging their own need for help.

And she, as John Granger points out at Hogwarts Professor, has made us all think of what would have happened had she acted on those thoughts of suicide. Any action we take can have an affect on so many others, even in small ways, such as the enjoyment we've had in reading her wonderful books and coming to love her characters. She is an amazing woman, our Jo. Amazing in her creativity, and in her compassion and humanity.