First published at LiberalAmerica.org
Most of the world has heard of popular author J.K Rowling, who penned the best-selling Harry Potter series. The seven-book series catapulted to the top of best-seller lists and has since been transformed into a series of eight full-length movies.
I think I have the only child in the universe that hasn’t read the books. At least she has seen MOST of the movies . . .
Rowling started her rise up the literary success ladder as a single mother living in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1999, the first three books in the Harry Potter series took the top three spots on the New York Times Bestseller list. In 2000, the 4th book of the series Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire became the fastest selling book in history.
Her literary success made her a billionaire rather quickly. She lost that status a couple of years ago though – because she gave so much to charity that her personal wealth dropped down into the multi-millionaire area. She remains the 13th wealthiest woman in Britain.
So what on earth was she doing hanging out on Twitter answering random tweets? Only she knows. But she probably made a huge impact on one young man. Who would have thought that Twitter would become a life saving device?
In May, the author received the following tweet from a distressed fan, later identified as Royce Alden,
@jk_rowling This may get lost in the noise..but what would you say to someone who has failed to find meaning and wants to finally give up?
— Brocaesar (@BrocaesarTV) May 4, 2015
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 4, 2015
What followed was several more tweets directly from the author, and an uncountable number of supportive posts from her fans and followers. Messages of hope and encouragement, delivered to a soul wandering, wondering, if the world really was a decent place.
In a blog post describing the whole series of events, Royce Alden wrote,
“Just a few days ago, in the dark hours of the morning, I randomly tweeted out to JK Rowling. I saw that she was tweeting about various topics, so I more or less just asked her, “What would you say to someone who no longer has the will to live.” She responded, with inspirational pictures and text, unlike anything I’ve ever received from anybody. Still 3 days later, I am receiving beautiful messages of hope and encouragement from people all over the world. This is something I have never experienced in my life, on any sort of scale. I imagine most will never get to experience such a large outpouring of encouragement.
Alden continued with a lot of soul-searching, wondering if he was just attention-seeking, or if it had been more than that. His arrival at the following summation is stated beautifully (emphasis mine),
“I don’t believe I received attention, I believe I received hope, support, and was offered a light in my darkest hour. Could someone label those things as attention? Yes. But I don’t believe it was simply attention that I was seeking. I just wanted someone to listen, to think deeply, and to share a moment with me that most people shy away from. Life is this big, uncontrollable thing that we are all thrown in to, for better or for worse. Most people do not like talking about the sensitive stuff.”
We may never know what prompted Rowling to answer that one tweet. Based on her past, one can surmise that perhaps she remembers being in a place not so far removed from that lonely spot Alden found himself in that night. Does it really matter?
Alden got what he needed. Someone listened. Someone thought deeply. Someone shared a moment with him.
For me, I have gained a great deal of respect for this lady that seems to own the world. She remembers. I hope she never loses that memory. I thank her for using Twitter that night and for answering that lonely young man in such a thoughtful way. For giving me and so many others hope in a world that can be cruel and unforgiving. She may have saved more than one life that night with that simple gesture of kindness and caring. It is the small things that matter.
In the end, it really is nothing more than being kind and showing a little love.