May 4, 2016

On Creativity and Screwyness



I've been thinking lately about the phenomenon of creativity. If you are a creative person, you tend to live in the world of possibility. If you're like me, you think of scenarios all the time, involving imaginary or real people in your life. You also tend to ruminate; to go back and re-process things that have happened, trying to interpret or pull further implications from it and speculate on various symbolisms and possibilities and "what ifs."

Creativity has traditionally been linked to... let's face it. A lack of sanity.
I've worried about this myself. I've had a lot of people in my life--beloved figures of example--who were brilliant, and really struggling. One example that immediately comes to mind is a man who was great friends with our family. He sang with my dad often. Had a beautiful, fervent, inspiring voice... he sang, you listened. He could have made a big audience for himself with his voice, but never could quite get it together emotionally. He really struggled, and ended up taking his own life just a few years ago.

Maybe that's why so few people make it big artistically. You've got to have the combination--the brilliance AND the executive functioning.

It makes me wonder how many truly brilliant, inspiring people have been unable to reach the wide audience their skills deserved. I mean, this guy I"m talking about... the world would only have been better if more people could have been inspired by him. He certainly changed my life, and the lives of all he touched. I wish, I wish, more people could have been changed by him.

I think of people like Vincent Van Gogh, who was famously unstable, but so talented he broke through anyway. And we all benefit from his inspiration today. I think of Sylvia Plath, who wrote such catchy, beautiful, arresting words, and ended up a victim of her own brilliant mind.

I'm not anywhere close to as talented as these people I mention. And the mental burden I carry is also quite a bit lighter. But, let's face it... I'm still screwy.

Living in the not-real-world most of the time has consequences. You forget things you should remember. All the time. I have such a poor memory of my childhood, of events that occurred even three years ago. Often the best way for me to remember things is through writing about them--my creative talent--but when I'm not writing about them they are fuzzy, hazy, hard-to-grasp images, my memories.

IN real time, I live in a pretty fuzzy world, too. I'm made aware of this often... I drive very very cautiously because often if I don't, I get in trouble. Over-cautiousness is my defense against my own lack of connection to my surroundings. And still I fail occasionally.

Buildings that have stood on my daily routes suddenly bloom up into being on occasion... I realize, suddenly, that they're there. I didn't notice them before that. Conversations I have with people suddenly click with me days later... I realize what someone meant when they said such-and-such, and what they wanted from me. This can lead to interpersonal difficulties.

For crying out loud, I am, in fact, a bit screwy.

I struggled a lot as a teenager because lack of connection to surroundings, in real time, can lead to social problems. I had a few, forgiving, close friends, but mostly I was frightened of social interaction because I was constantly afraid I would offend people accidentally by responding in a way that didn't make sense to them, because i'd gotten the conversation wrong, or mistook a meaning. The other day in Relief Society, I misunderstood completely the instructor's question and puzzled her; when I responded that I'd mistaken her question, she took it for correction. Oh, this is my life.

I think this is why I make friends slowly. They have to put up with non-sequiturs, fuzzy logic, misunderstanding and eventually learn that I do have good intentions. I really treasure those relationships where this has come to pass.

I often feel that I"m navigating a river full of rapids, with everything around me slightly dimmed--noise, sense of touch, sight... I see through a bit of a dark glass. I'm very, very grateful for those who are willing to look past that and love me for who I mean to be.

Anyway. Creativity and screwyness. It's a thing. I would never give up my heart--writing, stories, memories, thoughts that branch out in crazy directions and connections that make me happy. But it does make life dangerous at times.

Anyway. This is a shout out to those of you who don't fully live in real-time, in the real-world--I feel you, my screwy brothas and sistas.

Mar 18, 2016

Writing Update and Request for Input



A few people have asked me how the novel writing's going. Those on facebook are aware of my querying and slew of rejections, seasoned by an occasional personal note from an editor telling me they enjoyed my pages but it's not from them, and also the very occasional request for pages.

I had a pretty big-time agent request my full, and then come back with, "I really enjoyed it. But it's too sweet and too YA for me and those I work with." In other words, (and in the words of a friend) "not enough sex or violence." I think. I think that's what she was saying.

At this point, I've finished (counting the current project) 5 manuscripts since Mile 21's publication. Two are LDS fiction novels that my current publisher, Cedar Fort, hasn't been able to find a place for. Two are fantasy novels that General agents haven't been willing to risk their resources on. So what I'm doing right now--I'm taking one of the fantasies (The "too sweet" one) back to LDS publishers, because I realized after that feedback, that an audience looking for fun fantasy but with a preference for clean literature is probably my best bet for that manuscript.

So, last week, I submitted it to Shadow Mountain. We'll see what comes of that.

Also, a few months ago I was contacted by Covenant Communications (another LDS publisher, not the one I worked with on Lightning Tree and Mile 21) that my manuscript Butterfly Years made it past a couple of tiers of evaluation and they'd sent it to their outside readers, and I ought to hear back in a few months. It's been a few months, so I anticipate I'll be hearing from them soon. If they want to publish it, I'll be ecstatic. I love that story. And while I'd like to take my writing outside of the niche of LDS fiction, I still love writing LDS fiction as well.

This is the life of a writer. You publish, you don't publish. You write something nobody wants, you write something else nobody wants, you keep trying until you hit a sweet spot of Market and Trends and Audience and someone is willing to take a chance on what you've written.

Anyway. I've written a few different types of fantasy stories. I started with my behemoth--the epic fantasy I've played with and written several versions of from the time I was fifteen or so. It ended up being 200,000 words, and I know it needs some editing, and I think I know how I can fix it. It got a couple requests for pages, and ultimately was passed on by my list of agents to submit to (about 120 long). Then I wrote something shorter, something fun and funnier and more commercial, and got the almost-break of that big agent as well as a couple requests and a lot of encouraging rejections. I had fun writing it, but ultimately, struggled. It was so silly and fluffy and honestly, while I love reading stuff like that, and I enjoyed writing it, I felt a bit sugared-out after finishing, if you know what I mean.

So the next thing I wrote (my current project) I decided to do something more serious. Knowing fully it probably wouldn't easily be marketable, I decided to write a literary fantasy story along the lines of Madeline L'Engle. And I really enjoyed writing it. A lot. Man. This is the genre of my heart--fantasy that explores the human experience. But anyway, I doubt a lot of people will be requesting pages because it doesn't easily slide into any genre. IT's got 17 year old characters, it's basically a hero's journey, and it's pretty introspective and kind of unusual. Most of the story is two characters on a boat fighting their way through an Alice-In-Wonderland type scenario. SO while I enjoyed writing it, I'm pretty sure not many people will be reading it. I'll still submit, of course, and try. But not a lot of high hopes there.

And that's OK.

I needed it. It was palate-clarifying, if that makes any sense. After trying so hard to write stuff that appeals to an audience, I needed to write something for myself to remind myself I love to write and why I'm a writer.

But now it's time to try something commercial again. I need to find exactly the right sort of story. Something that will appeal immediately to editors and agents and strikes the right chord in the market right now. I'm just not sure what that is. SO I'll be doing a bit of research before I choose my next story.

To that end, I'm going to ask. Those of you who love reading fantasy. What do you think is missing in the market right now? What do you wish you could read, or read more of, that isn't out there? What do you like most about what *is* out there right now? Let me know. The thing about writing is, writing itself is just a joy. So whatever I end up writing, sugary or spicy or serious or fluff, I might as well be writing what people want to be reading.

Mar 5, 2016

Moments





This weekend, my last baby was blessed, and my first son was baptized.

We were given a paper to write on, to put in books for baptism memories.

All I felt today, seeing my wonderful eight year old son who still impulsively gives me kisses on the cheek, who can't stop talking about MineCraft and electronics kits, who can't keep his hands off his baby sister because he loves her so much, who has theories about the way the world and all its parts work, who says the most hilarious things in all seriousness so I have to stifle chuckles, but who still smiles at me when I accidentally let one go... seeing my son be baptized...

I felt that feeling you get when you know you're experiencing that perfect moment and you wish there was a way to capture it--more than a picture or a movie, but a moment you can immerse yourself in and come back to any time you want.

Moments.

Today little Fern was blessed. The men who blessed her were all people who loved her, who loved the priesthood.

I love the priesthood.

That's what I felt today, seeing my son get baptized and my daughter get blessed.

Part VI (two years later)--Cascading consequences and epiphanies.



So as y'all are aware who read this blog, about two years ago I wrote a multi-part post about something very difficult and sad that happened to me a while ago. If you haven't read it and are curious, the tag on this post will lead you to the others.

In a nutshell, I got married at a young age to a guy who was good but secretly addicted to pornography. He had other issue in his life that lead him to be abusive and unstable and unsafe for me and our daughter to be around. His actions lead to several different things: we ended up divorced, he ended up in Jail, Emma and I ended up on our own, and I ended up in the news. Nobody knew how to handle it, and everybody (including me) sometimes handled it horribly, and I was left with a lot of scars and sadness as a result; scars that left me hurting pretty badly for a really long time. THen about three years ago a miracle came into my life; a friend and bishop who helped me heal. And then as I was able to open up, others were able to help me heal. My husband. My kids. Friends. Family. These last three years have been the happiest of my life, in spite of the fact that there have still been significant challenges and things that have been heartbreaking even. Things I have not written about on this blog.

I'm going back to this today because the other day, I had an interaction with someone that left me hurting again, and questioning whether it was a good idea to write about it all. To come clean. And wondering why I did; why I exposed such a vulnerable part of myself for people to judge and comment on and be upset at me for.

This person told me that I am a liar, that I live in a fantasy land, and that I write about other peoples' lives without permission. This person was pretty upset with me. They said I'd offended several people by writing on my blog about stuff. Because no posts on my blog have really been about anything significant, other than this series of posts about my recovery process, I have to assume that these were the offending posts.

In a sense, I guess these posts did include others' lives. My ex husband being the most salient example. While Emma and I were pretty significantly affected by what happened, the real tragedy in this story is his. And the real vulnerability is his. This is why I have decided never to tell this story as an author. I could, and I'm sure I could sell a lot of copies of a book about what happened to me. But it's not my story, primarily. Not my tragedy. It's his. That means it's his to decide to tell or not.

So why did I write about it? Was it going back on my resolve to blog about this?

In addition to my ex husband, I also talked about the bishop's life--the one who handled it all. It was a signiifcant trauma for him, too. And the way things happened, and how I reacted, didn't exactly bring him off in a good light. But he is a good man. ANd he learned a lot. Like all of us.

IN addition to my bishop, I wrote about how some ward members struggled, how those struggles hurt me. Those were their tragedies, their traumas. And I wrote about my own family's struggle to help me, and in so doing, I told about their struggles and their traumas.

Also, as I described the recovery process, I wrote about the life of those who helped me recover. I revealed some vulnerable things about them.

I want to say, if this hurt any of the above people, I really am sorry.

I've been struggling the last few days with guilt and sadness, wondering if it was the right thing, to write this stuff at all, because it could potentially hurt so many people to be writing about what happened to me. I go back and forth--on the one hand, it is hard and sad to revisit that stuff. But on the other hand... it's a story of healing. My healing. It's a very real example of how you can be very hurt by those you are supposed to trust, and how you can still trust again in spite of that--trust husbands, trust preisthood leaders, trust friends. I want people who are struggling like I did, to feel hope that they will be able to trust again. I want to loan them a piece of my faith until they can find their own again. I want people to know that the church is still True in spite of imperfect vessels of priesthood and spousehood and freindship.

The church is true.

It will keep you sane.

It will keep you happy.

It will give you strenght.

It will give you joy, even in the face of complete despair.

Your Heavenly Father loves you. And he loves everybody that ever hurt you. And He is doing all He can to help you help yourself find happiness again.

That was what I wanted to say. That was the thing that allowed me to press "publish" on all those posts--the possibility that others, who are where I have been, might be more able to continue knowing that life gets better and can even be more wonderful in the aftermath of tragedy, than it would have been if no tragedy had occurred. I have a wonderful relationship with my husband because he has seen me through heartache and struggle and paranoia and lack of trust and all sorts of things--he has been more than a best friend. ANd the others in my life have come to know me in a way they never would have, if I hadn't been so vulnerable when I met them. I treasure this, because I am not normally a very open person, and to have such good friends and family who know me so well is a miracle to me.

So for that reason, I am not ashamed I posted about my life (and others' lives.)

Today I realized another reason I am not ashamed. I've been turning this over and over in my mind, like I said, questioning my motivations and one thing I've realized lately is, I had to take my story back. My epiphany came after watching this video that my friend posted on facebook tonight. It's about rape. It's really sad. Don't watch it if you don't want. Here are some of the lyrics:

You tell me "it gets better, it gets better,
in time"
You say I'll pull myself together, pull it together,
"You'll be fine"
Tell me what the hell do you know,
What do you know,
Tell me how the hell could you know,
How! could you know

Till it happens to you, you don't know
How it feels,
How it feels.
Till it happens to you, you won't know
It won't be real
No It won't be real
Won't know how it feels.



The point that struck home for me is this. Rape is a horrible thing. What I went through was a horrible thing.
What I went through does not trump rape. Rape is awful. What I went through was awful. Both are awful.

But not very many people actually go through what I went through--survive three attempts on her life by someone she should have trusted, and then have personal details, vulnerable details, about her life--in every newspaper in the state, on the television, talked about behind her in every college class. Not very many people have complete strangers come up to her and ask her about the most horrific, vulnerable things she's ever gone through; is going through at that moment, as a matter of curiosity. Not very many people have these personal, terrible things that she is not even able to process or accept, commented on in the most vulgar and judgmental way--hundreds of comments on dozens of news articles; not very many people have cameras shoved in her face and very personal questions asked; not very many people have news vans following her around as she's trying to go to class and drop her child off at childcare and go to court to testify against the person she thought she knew and loved the most; not very many people have people who *still*, thirteen years later, remember these very personal details about her life.

NOt very many people go through this. So not very many people *can* know how it feels. Nobody knows. Nobody. I'm alone in this. Except for Heavenly Father, who knows exactly how i feel.

THe thing is, guys. I had to tell it.

It was part of my recovery.

I'm sorry to those I hurt. Deeply sorry.

But I had to do it. IT was taken away from me; these things. IT was told for me, and told wrong. Nobody heard my voice at all.

I had to tell it.

And until it happens to you,

.... you don't know how it feels.

I'm not a liar.

I'm not living in a fantasy land--these things REALLY happened. And the IdaDad of my posts is REALLY a great dad, to a lot of people. His own daughters, and lots of others who are not his daughters. Lots of people who aren't me. What a miracle some people can be in the lives of others. I am inspired by the example of those who have helped me. And by the way--Mile 21 was about my recovery process, and about an old acquaintance from my home stake who went through a significant tragedy right about the same time mine took place. It wasn't about you. At all. So you can stop thinking you're that special. Sorry.


And I don't tell about other peoples' lives on purpose--no, not at all. I told this story because I needed to. But there has been plenty that has happened... things that have broken my heart, that I have *not* talked about.

But I had to tell this story. ANd I had to talk about what happened with my young women calling. It was too close to what happened before... it was too much. I had to talk about it. If you have a problem with that, well, there are several lovely bridges in town that you can feel free to jump off of :)

Sorry. I'm just done.

I love a lot of people. Even people who have been awful. I love a lot of people and that's why it hurts so much. Please forgive me, people, for being broken, and for not being perfect as I try to fix myself. Maybe someday we can be friends. I make a good friend. I'm loyal. I'm kind. I'm a hard worker. I've got good intentions even when I accidentally do things that are awkward and offensive. So, please forgive me if I've made you sad. Let's move on. I'm ready to. IF you aren't, I'm leaving you behind. I'm kind of done. I'm not listening to you anymore. I've got to be a good mother and a good wife and a good friend and a good family member, and your words aren't relevant, and they're not true, and they're not healthy for me to listen to. I have to be done.




Feb 1, 2016

Naming, and Strong Women



I have very strong-willed daughters (and sons) and while this presents some struggles right now as I try to parent them, I wouldn't want it to be different. Because strong women are kind of my heritage, and my husband's as well.

Jeff and I have a lot in common, family-tree-wise, actually. (Ok, nothing creepy. Our closest ancestral connection is that we are 11th cousins 1 time removed. We've checked.) I mean circumstances. Even before I married Jeff, I was struck by the similarities in our background, namely, the backgrounds of the women who raised us.

Jeff's mother lost her mother to cancer when she was 14. It was a slow, heartbreaking struggle for the family, which left behind children ranging from age 6 to age 20. Jeff's grandfather remarried quickly--within two years--to an amazing, wonderful woman who took over raising the girls (and later had a son), and she is the grandmother Jeff has always known.

My mother lost her mother to cancer when she was 4. It was a slow, heartbreaking struggle that lasted nearly a decade, and in the midst of this struggle, she chose to have a daughter, for which I will always be grateful. My grandfather remarried quickly--within two years--to an amazing, wonderful woman who took over raising my mother (and later had a son), and she is the grandmother I have always known.

Both of these women--the ones who came into our mothers' lives after losing mothers--are now the only living grandparents Jeff and I have left, and we are so grateful for them. They are loving, strong women, and have never been anything other than our grandmothers, related by blood or not. Both of us have experienced the miracle of adoption in our lives, and I think it's likely part of the reason why Jeffrey and I were lead to adopt as well. There's no "half sister, half brother, stepmother" in any of this. We are, and always have been, family.

But these women whom neither of us have met--grandmothers on the other side of the veil, we'd say--have always been family as well. I've felt my biological grandmother's influence in my life, and I'm pretty sure Jeff has, too.

Jeff's maternal biological Grandmother, Fern Lillian Moulton, was older-than-usual-for-small-Utah-towns when she married his grandfather. While her siblings called her a "noble lady", she was also something of a modern woman. She learned to drive young, working at her father's gas-station. She was an activist, an intellectual, and she was very active in her community. She raised her oldest two children, for the first few years, while her husband sailed in WWII. She passed strength, intelligence, a strong morality and independence on to all her daughters.


My maternal biological Grandmother, Ardis Clasen Swan, was very young when she married my grandfather; 18. She was determined, driven, intelligent and had a sharp sense of humor. She had a very strong idea of right and wrong. She was one of the first woman bankers in California, and she continued to work all the way to the end of her illness. She was classy and beautiful and strong and striking. Looking at her pictures, I almost can't believe that someone with that much life in her could have passed away so young.


I'm writing about this because we have decided to give our last baby--a girl--their names. They are unusual names, and I know some people will wonder where we got them from.

I have always felt strongly about giving my children names that they can look to as great examples. My kids are Emma Josephine (named after two heroines in Womens' Literature, and also a prophet and his wife), Woinshet Miriam (a name with Christian symbolism from her homeland, and the mother of Christ), Meaza Elizabeth (a name from her homeland meaning "lovely aroma," and a strong woman from the bible), Ruth Allison (Ruth from the bible, my mom), Samuel Evans (bible and book of Mormon prophet, a great friend in LOTR, and a family name from Jeff's side), Hazel Grace (both Jeff's and my paternal great-grandmothers' names), Daniel Robert (a bible prophet and my grandfather), David Curtis (Jeff's grandfather and a reference to the Curtis line in my family, whose culture has greatly influenced my life).

And now, we're giving our littlest and last child the name of two strong women we've never met, but whose influence has and continues to infuse our lives--


Fern Ardis.

As I said, unusual names. But names we find very lovely, because we have heard them all our lives spoken with reverence and respect and love, names that I hope will bring them even closer to us as an influence on us and our family and our last little girl.

Jan 18, 2016

National Healthcare Problems; Why I think a single-payer system is the only viable choice on the table right now


This is for my friends on cebook, RE the discussion of political candidates and Bernie Sanders' plan for a single-payer system, and why I feel like it's the only *real* option on the table to solve our problems with Healthcare in America right now.


I will start by saying that I don't think government-run health care is the ideal. But that's how a lot of my political ideals have developed... there's the ideal, and there's the thing we can actually accomplish as a society full of imperfect people. Honestly, if we were trying for the ideal, we'd be trying for the United Order right now. I think we all understand that any philosophies put forward by political pundits or experts or anybody at all, aren't going to be perfect. They're all philosophies of men. Let's not mingle them with scripture, and let's go ahead and be realistic.

The problems with privately owned health-insurance and pharmaceutical companies:

Their goal is mainly to get profit. An insurance company wants to make money. So they will minimize their risk and maximize their price. Now, you may argue with me... you know kindhearted CEOs who really, truly, do want to help people have access to the healthcare they need and you know insurance agents with hearts of gold. But the thing is, the majority of the healthcare industry right now is run like a Business. So therefore, profits are what they seek. That's what any institution that participates in our Caplitalist system/economy sees as the desired outcome--profit.

The problem with that?

Healthcare is vital. To everyone. It's not a commodity that one can easily bargain. If your son needs a spleen, you're not going to bargain with the healthcare industry. You're going to pay what you need to keep your son alive. You're going to go into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to keep your son alive. So with healthcare, the usual model of demand/supply does not work. Everyone needs healthcare; nobody can really "opt out" or decide that commodity is something they can "live without." so they've got us.

They can charge anything and we'll pay it.

If we can pay it. There are some of us who can't... who don't even have the option of a new spleen for their son, because they literally can't even afford food.


SO the way I see it is: Health care isn't a commodity, to be bought and sold and bargained for and prioritized like other things. It's a need. Like food. Like police protection. Like a fair trial in a courtroom. Like a chance at an education.

In other words (OK, I can already see some of you wagging your fingers at me...) Healthcare is not a commodity, it is a Right.

I truly believe that.

It's actually not all that dissimilar from the right of police protection. Police protection keeps people safe. It makes sure that people who rob or assault or cause problems for you, interfering with your right of liberty and pursuit of happiness, get punished, and that you get some of what you lost restored to you, and that overall, society can be protected from those that would prey on those around them.

Health Care keeps people well. It makes sure that everyone has a chance at medicine and treatment for diseases that sometimes, yes, they bring on themselves, but sometimes, are pure misfortune, or even the result of an impoverished background/lifestyle. Would you deny healthcare to any mother of five who is dying from cancer? Would you actually walk up to her and tell her that, because she didn't make enough money to pay for insurance, she deserved her situation? What about her kids?

I'm sorry. But. I think Health Care is a right.


Which means that all those people you're talked to in Canada and England and Europe who'd rather come here for healthcare, because they don't want to wait in lines, and they want to choose a more expensive treatment, and they want to be higher up on the transplant list... are arguing for something a bit immoral. IN their country, everyone gets a shot at the healthcare they need, and so prices need to be kept low, and lines are long. Yes, that is frustrating. Yes, it might mean that *your* kid dies, waiting for a transplant, rather than the one living in the impoverished area of your neighborhood. And I get that none of us want to suffer, none of us want to feel out of control, all of us want to *choose*, but the thing is.... that privilege we middle/upper middle/upperclass people have in America, to *choose*, to be treated *right now*, comes literally at the expense of millions of others who are excluded from the system entirely, unable to gain access to sometimes even the most basic level of preventative care.

You want to be able to choose a ceramic rather than an amalgam filling at the dentist. Fine. What about the kid in Florida who didn't go see the dentist because he couldn't afford the cost of any filling or even an appointment, who then died of an abscess that infected his brain?

I'm sorry. I know not everyone will see it in such stark terms, but I can't help but feel that all those arguments made about why Canadian or English health care is substandard, are arguments we need to look at more closely... when an additional 20 million people are in line, yes you're going to wait longer. When everyone gets a chance at access to healthcare, some of the options, the more expensive options, are not going to be on the table.

But honestly? Give me the amalgam filling, and the six month wait, because I cannot in good conscience enjoy the quick, expensive healthcare I currently have access to at the expense of the woman down the street who hasn't made a prenatal appointment yet because she can't afford it. (You're going to immediately argue that she does, in fact, have access to Medicaid. Well, you just made my argument for me. :)


We spend vastly more, in America, on healthcare, compared to countries that have single-payer systems. You know why? Because healthcare is a right, and none of us can decide to bargain. So, put that bargaining power directly in the hands of private agencies, of coroporations, and the costs are going to be sky-high. People will pay anything. And so we pay.... everything.


Dec 20, 2015

My Harry Potter Meyers-Briggs Type Inventory rundown--by category, and including friends and family



I have been wanting to do this for a long time. Because this:

Is so wrong.

It's just so, so wrong. And it's been bugging me for a while. (Ok. You can disagree with me. And btw, I might be wrong too, and I'm OK with that... consider this an alternative set of possibilities to mull over.)

This is also going to be a post about family, friends, personalities, and how people work together, because all that stuff is stuff that I've discussed with many family members and close friends, but have not blogged about it yet and discussed it with the wider world of e-friends and far away friends.

OK, so, to know what I'm talking about. The Meyers' Briggs Type Inventory is based on Carl Jung's prototypes, and was developed into a test that would categorize personality types into combinations of four traits. THey are: Extrovert vs Introvert, Sensing vs Intuiting, Thinking Vs Feeling and Judging Vs Perceiving. And it's better to visualize each of these not as either/or but as a contiuum, where you can go from the extreme on one end, to balancing between the two, to the extreme on the other end. SOmeone, for instance, who just barely falls on the side of thinking vs feeling, will have a great capacity to those sorts of traits that your typical feeler will have, as well as utilizing well the traits a thinker has.

OK. Techincalities aside. Harry Potter and the Meyers-Briggs.

I love harry potter. I crave it during pregnancy, particularly, the way other women crave ice cream or pickles or hamburgers or unagi rolls (am I the only one?) I have read the Harry Potter series during each of my pregnancies and I was reading book four, The Goblet of Fire, when I was in labor with my first, Emma. THat world is indisputably my favorite magical world, and these characters are definitely my favorite characters of any fantasy series. So of course it's fun to compare personalities, and to see where I (and all my friends and family) would fit into that world, and who we'd all be like.

In thinking through Harry Potter and all the many personalities, I first have to come up with a list of important characters. Here's my list:

Harry
Ron
Hermione
Neville
Fred
George
Ginny
Luna
Percy
Hagrid
Dumbledore
Sirius
Lupin
Draco
Voldemort
Snape
Prof. McGonagal
Mrs. Weasley
Mr. Weasley
Bellatrix Lestrange
The Dursleys
Tonks
Mad-Eye Moody
James Potter
Lily Potter
Lucius Malfoy
Dolores Umbridge
Gilderoy Lockhart
Wormtail/Peter Pettigrew
Fleur Delacour
Victor Krum
Cedric Diggory
Bill Weasley
Charlie Weasley
Cho Chang
Seamus Finnigan
Dean Thomas
Lavendar Brown
Parvati Patil
Pansy Parkinson
Professor Flitwick
Professor Trelawney
Professor Sprout
Madam Pomfrey

I believe these are all the characters we know enough about to even scrape by a guess as to type. I've listed them in kind of descending order of knowledge, so the ones at the top of the list, I'll be more firm about, the ones near the bottom, I'm not as sure.

The first thing to realize, in categorizing these characters, is that a personality does not make you a good or a bad person. It's your choices that do that (acc to Dumbledore himself). So if I've categorized Lord Voldemort into your personality,do not be offended. As an INFJ, I've got Hitler. So. There ya go.

I have the hardest time distinguishing between Introverts and Extroverts. I don't know why. The other scales are much easier for me to sort of sort through. I think this is because, maybe I really am an ambivert. Close in the middle there. And haven't fully grown into the more extroverted side of me, yet. But anyway, for that reason, I decided to separate these characters first into categories of introvert/extrovert, and there are a handful that are ambiverts as well, where they seem to be so close to the center that I couldn't really determine what they are unless I met them in person and observed them for a long time or they took the test themselves (which isn't possible because they are imaginary.)

To refresh the memory, an introvert is a person who finds solace and recharge in being on their own. They tend to like doing projects on their own as well, and don't enjoy large crowds of people, attention, or (in most cases) being in charge of big groups of people. THey tend to make a small number of close friends, and while they may have a lot of friends, 90% of their friends are not confidants, and an even smaller number get to hear about their struggles. Vulnerability is with people, if you are an introvert.

An extrovert is a person who finds solace and recharge with people. They tend to enjoy/feel relief in getting projects done in a group of others, they love being in a room full of people and noise and interaction, they feel most like themselves when they have the attention of others. They tend to make friends and confidences easily, and though they still might keep the most vulnerable stuff for a select few, they tend to be quite open about what they are going through/thinking about, and, in a lot of cases, they don't mind stepping up and organizing and being in charge, and some relish it. Extroverts do need time on their own on occasion to think and recharge, but not much time before they start needing people again. Vulnerability is in alone-ness, if you are an extrovert.

SO. Applying this to Harry Potter:

Introverts: Harry, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Percy Weasley, Remus Lupin, Voldemort, Severus Snape, Prof. McGonnagall, Victor Krum, Charlie Weasley, Professor Trelawney, Professor Sprout

Extroverts: Ron, Fred, George, Ginny, Sirius Black, Draco Malfoy, Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Dursley, Mrs. Dursley, Tonks, James Potter, Mad-Eye-Moody, Lucius Malfoy, Dolores Umbridge, Gilderoy Lockhart, Fleur Delacour, Cedric Diggory, Bill weasley, Seamus Finnigan, Lavendar Brown, Parvati Patil, Pansy Parkinson

Ambiverts (or those it's too hard to tell because of less info): Hagrid, Dumbledore, Mr. Weasley, Bellatrix Lestrange, Lily Potter, Wormtail/Pettigrew, Cho Chang, Dean Thomas, Professor Flitwick, Madam Pomfrey


Ok. SO once separated into those categories, I find it much easier to do the division into the 16 different personality types. I'm going to do the harry potter characters, then add freinds/family & people who I know who have somehow touched my life. Again, remember many of these are guesses... (but I think they're good guesses).
ISTP:


Keywords/phrases for ISTP: Artisan, very quickly a virtuoso with tools, instruments and/or sports, rulebreaker,authority questioner, strong-but-silent type, independent, individualist, lone-wolf, stands back and lets others go on with things but takes pride in stepping in and fixing others' problems, fixing others' cars, winning a game for a team, takes pride in competence.

Harry Potter Characters:

Harry Potter (is borderline T/F, but still a T)
Victor Krum
Voldemort
Dean Thomas (ambivert)
Professor Flitwick (I think)

People I know (will only use names when I know people would be OK with it):

An awesome guy in my ward Jeff used to ride to work with
One of my first counselors I worked with, awesome at cupcakes
Jeremy, a beloved friend from back home

ISFP


Keywords/phrases for ISFP: Often unaware about conventions or the opinions of others, loves animals/agriculture, visual artists, seeks physical comfort, in need of champions/nurturing, can be sensitive to criticism especially from loved ones, can't handle public ridicule well, avoids attention but still relaxed and open, very easygoing but can be fierce when a line is crossed, very, very loyal to family, friends, & pets (who are family, of course).


Harry Potter Characters:

Hagrid (XSFP--Ambivert)
Neville Longbottom
Professor Sprout

People I Know:
My friend/almost sister Rebecca
My old friend Sarah C. who had a pig farm at the end of our road


ESTP

Keywords/Phrases for ESTP: Charmer, diplomat, collects people, strategic, makes own rules, competent when they want to be, sometimes unconventional but cares about status, life of the party, unworried about others' opinions, confident of interpersonal abilities, great hosts

Harry Potter Characters:

Fred & George Weasley
James Potter
Peter Pettigrew/Wormtail (a very insecure version of this type...might be I rather than E, it's borderline)
Bill Weasley (I think)

People in my life:

Brother in Law from my first marriage

ESFP

Keywords/phrases: Entertainer, bright and sunny, yellow personality, lives in the now, cares about others but doesn't like to get caught up in drama, cares about fun, flighty, adorable, charming, happy, despises being bossed, despises routine, seeks physical comfort & sensation, gets over disappointments/hurts quickly, forgives and forgets, can be manipulative, amoeba-like: easily absorbs the habits/feelings/values of those around them


Harry Potter Characters:

Sirius Black
Tonks
Dudley Dursley (I know, but that's because he was horribly spoiled).
Seamus Finnigan (I think)

People in my life:
My sweet daughter Meaza
Possibly my sweet sister-in-law Emily, but she's probably an ambivert


So that's all the artisans. That group of four makes up a group termed "artisans," in meyers-briggs theory.

ISFJ

Keywords/Phrases: quiet, unassuming, works hard in the background, very others-focused, can be self-demeaning or dismissive of own needs, seeks recognition but in quiet ways, does not like attention at all, will do anything to care for loved ones, cares a great deal about right/wrong/morality & has a firm view of these things, does not like to boss, will retire in the face of stronger/more flamboyant personalities, easily overwhelmed by others' needs, family is everything, tends to idealize loved ones, fierce and loyal friends, the first one there to comfort.

Harry Potter Characters


Remus Lupin
Madam Pomfrey (I think, but she's pretty bossy so she might be an extravert) (haha, sorry extraverts, not all of you are bossy, it's just that, from what I've observed introverts don't usually have that characteristic)

People from my life:

My Ida-Dad

Ida-Dad's wife, one of my good friends

Mary, an almost-sister friend

My Dad-Dad has tested as this too, though sometimes he also tests as INTJ. Which is interesting.... a subject for a different post, but perhaps not on this blog

ISTJ

Key words: Knight-in-shining-armor, protective of virtue, protective of loved ones, suspicious of unconventional, loyal friends, often "on a mission" of some kind (whether it be personal achievement or something related to personal values), procedure is important, organization is important, achievement is important, indepdendence is important, struggles to understand emotions/emotional decisions/emotional people, the best home-teachers, the best visiting teachers, immediately there when loved ones need them, core values are *who they are*, there is a right and wrong way to do things, saves people

Harry Potter Characters:


Professor McGonagall
Percy Weasley (I think)

People from my life:

My favorite brother-in-law, Anthony

ESFJ

Keywords/Phrases: Good hostess, aware of & expert at social interactions, giving & generous, worried about what's going on in others' lives & wants to fix things, can seek popularity & status, enjoys style, attracts those around them with wit & personality, generally has many friends but only really confides in a few, can be dictatorial when called upon to lead but endeavors tend to be successful if others follow, cares a great deal about convention

Harry Potter Characters:



Ron Weasley (He's a hard one, because he is really close on the P/J & he's also pretty insecure)

Molly Weasley
Petunia Dursley (she's an insecure ESFJ so don't be offended. THank you)
Lucuis Malfoy (He's evil. Doesn't matter what his personality type is... personality has nothing to do with evil, it's choices)
Fleur Delacour
Parvati Patil (I think)


From my own life:

A friend/Almost sister Elizabeth (though I think she's on the border of E/I, so she has ISFJ tendencies, too)
a few people in my ward who I won't name, but who made our girls' camp fundraiser a rousing success not only by helping organize but also rounding up people to bid.
My friend Cherise's husband, who I had to pretend to flirt with in a play
My friend Lisa! Who I like a lot. SHe's borderline on the S/N, so she's almost ENJF. Which is another lovely personality.

ESTJ

Keywords: strong personality, confident, often excels at sports, often excels in business, tends to appreciate convention, impatient with drama/overemotional-ness, takes stewardship very seriously & will put everything into that, sometimes defines self-worth by success of ventures undertaken, often loves extreme sports with a thrill factor such as skydiving, surfing, rock-climbing, scuba diving etc, can grow restless if there's not enough activity/progress, dynamic, natural leader, needs to be *doing* stuff

Harry Potter Characters:


Mad-Eye Moody
Draco Malfoy
Mr. Dursley
Dolores Umbridge
Pansy Parkinson (I think)(ugh. Three icky ones in a row. Sorry. Maybe Rowling really didn't like this personality, or something? Don't take it personally, ESTJs. Maybe she had an boss who was really lame or something....)

People from my life:

My sweet daughter Woinshet
My beloved high school choir teacher, Don Baggett (though I think he borders E/I)
My current bishop (I think) who is also pretty awesome (though he might border N/S and T/F)

OK. SO that's all the guardians. Those last four personalities are categorized "guardians" in Meyer's-Briggs philosophy.

INFP

Keywords: Free spirit, artist, hippie, revels in the unconventional, mystical, birkenstocks, cares about humanity, empathy for others, drifters, sage on the mountaintop, dislikes routine or convention, resistant to rules & authority, seeks comfort and avoids stress, generally easygoing until you tread one one of their core values, writers, very loyal to loved ones

Harry Potter Characters:


Luna Lovegood (you probably guessed)
Professor Trelawney (though I think she actually borders on S/N... still not sure)
Xenophilius Lovegood

People from my life:

My sweet daughter Ruth

Half my family (Mom, Sister Laura, Brother John (though he borders P/J)

My friend Josh Weed

My friend Ashley

My sweet sister-in-law Kimberly

All the hippies I ever met in CopyRight, especially the long-dreaded dude who always came in and talked to us about "boy problems"

The extremely attractive guy in concert choir with the sleepy eyes and a permanent attachment to his guitar

Basically half the town I grew up in.

INFJ

Key words/Phrases: This is hard, because it's my personality type, so I feel lame doing keywords for this one, like it's kind of self-indulgent. But, oh well.

People-centered, understands/always trying to parse out the needs and feelings of those around them, driven & often on a Mission to Save Humanity (& sometimes misguided/self-centered/impulsive/blind to others' real needs in these missions), Empathetic to an extreme (sometimes to their detriment), driven to accomplish, driven to solve others' problems, intuition is pretty strong & can predict stuff and see stuff, enjoys teaching, enjoys learning, fierce advocates/activists, open to others until core values are crossed, can be mistaken for extroverts because of people-focus, very sensitive to criticism, cultivates lots of friends but does not confide/share vulnerabilities with very many, if any, we like to think of ourselves as unconventional & might seem unconventional but really, we care about rules & have defined ideas of right and wrong, we just choose which ones we care about/ what we believe in(& then expect people around us to follow them).

Harry Potter Characters:

Albus Dumbledore

People from my life:

Me
My Grandpa Bob
Possibly my son Daniel (but he's a little young to guess yet)
My brother John sometimes
My friend DeMar
My friend Cherise
Tyler, the pretty awesome guy I dated schizophrenically for a short time between my first and second husbands
J.K. Rowling

ENFP

Keywords: Fierce optimists, avoid convention and rules, drama-free, not easily offended, likes to take charge but people find it pleasant when they are in charge, fun, happy, bubbly, good sense of humor, philosophical & unafraid of debate/discussion/deep talk, cares deeply about those around them, generally easy to get along with unless you cross them on one of their core values, talented at arts, veer toward philosophy & symbolism rather than systems with step-by-step processes and problems with only one right answer. Lives in a world of feeling. Very loyal to friends, loved ones & underdogs, enjoys popularity but kind to everyone.

Harry Potter Characters:


Cedric Diggory
Possibly Cho Chang, though she might be an introvert (INFP). I can't tell.

People from my life:

My good friend Hannah, who I still enjoy talking to even though we haven't seen each other in years, whose oldest daughter and mine could have been twins
My friend Lia,ditto to the above except for the twin thing, (though she might be ESFP like my daughter Meaza)
It's possible that Meaza actually is ENFP, because children tend to veer to S and develop their N capabilities later, and i've seen signs of that in her.

ENFJ:

Activists, *always* on a mission, gatherers of people, inspirers of people, perhaps the most people-centered of all the personalities, people like MLK are ENFJs. Very into philosophy and the fate of humanity. Sometimes so driven they're blind to the details, can be impuslive and too ambitious in endeavors, enthusiasm can run away with them, fiercely loyal to friends, fall in love easily, does not let go of people easily, will (sometimes unwisely and impulsively)sacrifice everything for loved ones, very driven in endeavors, works hard to succeed, and to make group endeavors succeed.

Harry Potter Characters:


Lilly Potter
Bellatrix Lestrange

People from my life:

My friend Kelsie
My friend Nichole

That's all the idealists. That's the category of these previous four personalities, acc. to Meyers-Briggs philosophy.

INTJ

Keywords: Strategists, Chess champions, driven to succeed & plans carefully, interested in philosophy but also very practical, things have a "right place", cares about endeavors succeeding, can tap into intuition as well as logic, and so can be creative genuises who are also brilliant at the business side of things, so often make successful entrepreneurs and are often the force behind new movements in business/technology (eg Steve Jobbs). incredibly intelligent, but sometimes baffled and overwhelmed by own emotions/emotions of others. Tend to avoid/not have time for large loud crowds or illogical situations, especially involving emotional drama, but can handle them if put in leadership positions.

Harry Potter Characters:


Hermione Granger


People in my life:

My Dad (though sometimes, as I said, he's tested ISFJ)
My Sister Carolee
My sweet daughter Emma, and I think my sweet daughter Hazel (but she's a bit young to know)
My friend Kimberly
Captain Jean-Luc Picard (who counts, Dangit. He helped me be a better YW president).

INTP

Keywords/phrases: Mad Scientist, inventor, brilliant at systems, brilliant at mechanics, lives for ideas & philosophy, very introverted/would like to be left alone in Science Lab, late-night programmers, your basic computer nerd who you always call to come fix your tricky computer problems, Does not like authority/rules & will sometimes go to great length to circumvent them, feelings of self-worth sometimes weighed by competence in maintaining/fixing/inventing/solving problems, would rather not be hampered by duty, passionate about experiments, rare souls, deeply attached to small circle of friends/loved ones though perhaps not always talented at showing it, can have a brilliant sense of humor, unassuming, enjoys serving others with their talents but would prefer to do so away from the people, seeks comfort over convention.

Harry Potter characters:


Severus Snape (my favorite character, btw)
Possibly Arthur Weasley

People in my life:

My husband, Jeffrey (my favorite person btw)
My son Samuel, I think
Possibly my son David (but he's a little young to be guessing)
Dr. Who (he counts!!)

ENTJ

Keywords/Phrases: Brilliant leaders, movers and shakers, focused on peoples/systems, the one you want to run your company, the one you want to run your sports program, the one you want to run everything, can be intimidating because they are such a forceful, capable personality, driven to succeed & to make ventures succeed, can be over-driven and overlook more human concerns, can also be great at solving peoples' problems. Learns from mistakes. Practical & matter-of-fact & not given to much emotion but capable of empathy & understanding the emotions of others.

Harry Potter Characters:


Ginny Weasley

From my life:

Actually, I can't think of any right now. But it would be cool (and possibly intimidating) to get to know someone like this.

ENTP

Keywords/phrases: Enthusiastic, "idea man," Understands people/social situations quickly and adeptly, upbeat visionaries, place high value on knowledge and competence. Sometimes has lots of great ideas that never get realized because of lack of follow-through. Needs stimulation, rejects lectures and demonstrations in favor of figuring out through experience/doing it themself, not very receptive to constructive criticism. Can have a wonderful, sly, dry, witty, implied sense of humor. Can be very open and earthy. Needs grounding by loved ones. Sensitive to others' opinions & at the same time, defiant of others' opinions. Salesman, lawyer, witty political commetator/comedian, entrepreneur.

Harry Potter Characters:



Gilderoy Lockhart

Arthur Weasley (I'm actually struggling with this one. Is he ENTP or INTP?)


In my own life:

I think that the guy who built our house is this type. I don't know him well, but the times we've met, I've liked him a lot.
I think a guy my ex-husband and I were good friends with, back home in the home ward,is this type.
My father-in-law might be this type.

These are the Rationalists. Those four up there, according to Meyers-Briggs Typology theory.


This took me a long time. I'm tired. And you're welcome (or baffled) :)

I'm grateful to have this out of my system. How I love these books. And this type of analysis makes me more able to apply stuff in this imaginary world I Love so much to my own life/own kids/own family as well.