Archives for posts with tag: Epiphany



“There’s nothing better when something comes and hits you and you think ‘YES’!”  J.K. ROWLING

In 1990, while looking out the window during a train ride, J.K. Rowling got the idea for the entire series of Harry Potter books. Now that’s an epiphany! Here’s now Rowling describes the experience:

I was travelling back to London on my own on a crowded train, and the idea for Harry Potter simply fell into my head. I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. To my immense frustration, I didn’t have a pen that worked, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one… I did not have a functioning pen with me, but I do think that this was probably a good thing. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, while all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn’t know he was a wizard became more and more real to me. Perhaps, if I had slowed down the ideas to capture them on paper, I might have stifled some of them (although sometimes I do wonder, idly, how much of what I imagined on that journey I had forgotten by the time I actually got my hands on a pen). I began to write Philosopher’s Stone that very evening…”



by Joanie Mackowski

A momentary rupture to the vision:

the wavering limbs of a birch fashion

the fluttering hem of the deity’s garment,

the cooling cup of coffee the ocean the deity

waltzes across. This is enough—but sometimes

the deity’s heady ta-da coaxes the cherries

in our mental slot machine to line up, and

our brains summon flickering silver like

salmon spawning a river; the jury decides

in our favor, and we’re free to see, for now.

A flaw swells from the facets of a day, increasing

the day’s value; a freakish postage stamp mails

our envelope outside time; hairy, claw-like

magnolia buds bloom from bare branches;

and the deity pops up again like a girl from

a giant cake. O deity: you transfixing transgressor,

translating back and forth on the border

without a passport. Fleeing revolutions

of same-old simultaneous boredom and

boredom, we hoard epiphanies under the bed,

stuff them in jars and bury them in the backyard;

we cram our closet with sunrise; prop up our feet

and drink gallons of wow!; we visit the doctor

because all this is raising the blood’s levels of

c6H3(OH)2CHOHCH2NHCH3, the heart caught

in the deity’s hem and haw, the oh unfurling

from our chest like a bee from our cup of coffee,

an autochthonous greeting: there. Who saw it?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanie Mackowski’s poetry collections include The Zoo (2002) and View from a Temporary Window (2010). She received a BA from Wesleyan University, was a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, and received a PhD from University of Missouri. A teacher at the university level for many years, she has worked as a French translator, a journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and a juggler. She is the winner of the 2003 Kate Tufts Discovery award, and the 2008 Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson award.

NOTE: “Epiphany” by Joanie Mackowski was originally published in Poetry Magazine (November 2011). I meant to run this poem on Sunday, January 6, 2012 (the traditional day of Epiphany), but here it is a day late!