Things I Like: The Wizardry of Words (Vol. VII)

Dumbledore quote

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”

Will Rogers


It really shouldn’t be a surprise, but yes, the guy who likes words and writing also really likes quotes.

The ability to effectively and concisely convey an idea is the basic goal of every writer. Quotes come about when this goal is accomplished both poetically and prophetically.

Fascination with quotes runs deep within my family: my mom has notebooks full of her favourite sayings, my brother tweets out a weekly #QuoteOfTheWeek, my tattoo is Aristotelian prose.

Quotes can determine a person’s legacy, their ideas defining their memories. They can transcend time and connect people from different generations, different eras.

Look no further than the fact that I have words burned into my skin inspired by some Greek guy who died over two thousand years ago .

Words form a pathway to immortality. Words don’t die.

Freedom to Read Week

Working a marketing and communications role at the head office of a national federation, I’ve become much more aware of all the different types of awareness days that Canada celebrates.

From Pink Shirt Day to Giving Tuesday, Canada’s calendar is wrought with specific days (or weeks or months) that serve to bring national thought to worthwhile topics.

While the effectiveness of awareness days can be a topic for debate, the concept of highlighting certain ideas for societal reflection (and consequent action) is a sound proposition.

The most recent one that resonated with me is “Freedom to Read Week”.

Growing up, I was a voracious reader. Today, I still am, though the major medium of consumption (from books to laptop or phone) has changed.

And yet, I have never viewed the act of reading as a fundamental right — it was something I’ve always done, something I continue to do.

Reflecting on my “freedom to read” has helped me appreciate the right to intellectual freedom, a right that should be celebrated daily.

As a Canadian, I am especially appreciative to live in a place — when compared to other political climates and government regimes — that not only defends but champions its citizens’ right to read and think.

Earlier this month, award-winning journalist, TIME’s Person of the Year, and one of Philippine president Duterte’s biggest critics, Maria Ressa was jailed. Last December, I was horrified to read that the number of journalists jailed for their work was at a record high (via The Globe and Mail).

As a writer, this is discomforting.
As a thinker, this is suffocating.
As a human, this is unjust.

Expression of thought doubles as an expression of humanity. The ability to think freely is a foundational aspect of what it means to be human, a driving force behind our evolution as a species. Ideas that stand the test of time help etch our place in history.

If words form the pathway to immortality, reading is the vehicle.

Binge Mode: Harry Potter

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

*Drinks a glass of water*

*Clears throat*

*Holds up a megaphone*


Harry Potter was a generation-defining series of books that achieved immortality through its gripping story, memorable characters, thoughtful themes, and J.K. Rowling’s masterful use of words.

Well-crafted stories have limitless replay value — no matter how many times you read them, they never get old. Sometimes you gain new insights and deeper understandings; you find things you may have missed and uncover connections previously unseen.

English was always my favourite class — and highest grade — in school. (Dear 2010 Jozef, this was probably the first sign telling you to pursue something other than science. Dumbass).

Breaking down the elements of a story in order to analyze its messages and meaning … I absolutely loved doing that.

Binge Mode takes English class to a whole other level.

Hosted by Jason Concepcion and Mallory Rubin, this podcast is a deep-dive into the stories of Harry Potter.

Where most podcasts are non-scripted and conversational, Binge Mode sprinkles in segments of intellectual analysis, pre-written examinations of literature with reference to direct quotes and external sources of information.

Though the premise seems “boring”, it is the exact opposite of that.

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Through Jason and Mallory’s eccentric personalities, electrifying chemistry, and free creative reign, these podcasts have been a huge source of entertainment during my long commutes to and from work. More often than not, I find myself literally moved to tears from the beautiful messages and powerful wordsmanship.

Even since the (main) story’s conclusion in 2007, I still get a magical feeling when reading or listening to a podcast about Harry Potter.

After all this time? Always.