I took my family to Universal Studios this Spring.  We were especially looking forward to the Harry Potter parks.  When I got there, I was hoping to feel the magic.


But at fifty years old I can no longer submit to make-believe the way I used to.  I don’t have the need to live in a fantasy anymore, because I like my life.  And so the park just seemed like a park, and I was feeling very down.


I thought maybe if I bought a wand it might at least give me something nice to remember.  I told my wife I was nervous because I didn’t think I could pick one, and she said, “Let the wand pick you.”  So I left my family behind to drink their butterbeer and I went into the wand shop.


I spent fifteen minutes looking carefully at wand after wand.  While I saw some I really liked, none rang a bell for me.  Dejected, I wandered a little more until I noticed that there was a Mr. Ollivander show in the shop.


For those who haven’t read the books, Mr. Ollivander is the finest wand-seller in the world and is among my favorite characters in the Harry Potter series.  I told my family I wanted to see the show, and they came along.  Twenty minutes later we were in a room with a small crowd.


A man came out playing Mr. Ollivander.  I had thought he would speak to each of us and choose a wand for us, but instead he chose a little girl and brought her up.  We watched, fascinated, as he began to speak with her.


He picked a wand and asked her to try it, and when a magic explosion occurred, he explained that it was the wrong wand.  Pensive, drumming his fingers on the table, Mr. Ollivander considered, then tried again with a second wand.  When the little girl waved that wand it resulted in a disaster of bookshelves rattling.


Then Mr. Ollivander got an inspiration, and chose what he believed would be just the right wand for the little girl.  Sure enough, she waved it and the magic happened the way it was supposed to.  Everyone clapped for her.


Throughout the whole show, the character playing Mr. Ollivander took his role absolutely seriously.  He committed to his part, was convincing, and compelling.  At the end, he spoke to the little girl about how the wand learns from the wizard and how important it is to be conscientious about using her magic.


When I got outside I found myself in tears.  My family gave me the space to cry, and we left.  I didn’t have a wand of my own, and I didn’t need one anymore.


That character actor took his work seriously because he believed that the words he was saying would be important to the little girl.  I doubt he knew how important his words, and that experience, were to me.  I will always be grateful for the conscientious way he used his magic that afternoon.


News From a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books

I recorded a little demo in honor of a friend of mine, Jacob Jeffries, one of the most amazing songwriters and performers you haven't yet heard of.  Here it is!


Jan June 03, 2019 @02:23 am

This speaks to me too, Adam. You don't say what particularly struck you (which strikes me as good writing), but for me, I like the idea that "choosing the wrong wand" can result in an explosion. That sometimes disasters occur in our lives, and they aren't necessarily the disaster they seem, but just information that we could be trying something else or tweaking what we are doing a bit. Anyway. Thanks.

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