JR: You have chosen a music box and I understand that this music box plays music from Harry Potter and that it was gifted to you by someone close to you. I will want to follow up about the Harry Potter angle and the gifting detail. But first, tell me about the box itself and what appeals to you about it.
CD: This music box greatly appeals to me because it is made of wood and has ornate exterior decorations. I like that I have the ability to open the lid of the box, which reveals “Harry Potter” written on the interior side of the lid. This allows me to watch the pegs on the revolving interior cylinder pluck the teeth of the steel comb as I spin the handle of the music box. I find it very soothing to spin the handle and watch the steel comb play the Harry Potter theme song.
JR: Your object is multi-sensory. In addition to the ornate decoration, there is the music playing and also the manual spinning of the handle. Do the sound of the theme song and the feeling of spinning the handle contribute to your experience of the music box as beautiful, or is it only its appearance? If it is more than the appearance, how do the other elements enhance or contribute to the beauty? And is it’s playing, specifically, the Harry Potter theme also part of the beauty for you?
CD: The spinning of the handle, the visual of seeing the pegs hit the steel comb to create the notes and the theme song all contribute to my experience of the music box as beautiful.
These elements enhance the beauty because it is as though I am watching someone play an instrument. Prior to receiving this music box as a gift, I did not know how music boxes produced sound. The fascination that came from discovering how they work and watching the tuned teeth of the steel comb being plucked greatly contributes to the box’s beauty.
The Harry Potter theme song also contributes to the beauty of the box because both the book and movie series were an important part of my childhood and of my relationship with the person who gifted me the music box. The song draws on many happy memories.
JR: Tell me about the Harry Potter phenomenon. Harry Potter may be the most widely shared cultural touchpoint for people now in their 30s to people now in their early teens. What about Harry Potter accounts for this broad and deep appeal? What would you say accounts for its having such a special, meaningful place in the lives of so many people?
CD: J.K. Rowling created an entire imaginary world that offers children the possibility to believe that magic exists, and these children just might not have known they have magical powers. I began reading the Harry Potter book series at the age of 10 with many of my friends. The idea that I might receive a letter of acceptance to the school of witchcraft and wizardry on my 11th birthday, just as Harry Potter had in the first book of the series, brought me a lot of excitement. It was also something that bonded me with many of my friends. For these reasons, I believe it holds a meaningful place in many people’s lives.
JR: How important is it for you to have beauty present in your life? In what ways is it important or, what, if anything, does it contribute to your life?
CD: I largely associate beauty with health, and being healthy brings a lot more to a person than just physical attractiveness. In my opinion, glowing skin, physical fitness and a kind-hearted, health-conscious and energetic human radiates beauty. Health is an important part of my life and an important component to my definition of beauty. Beauty in myself brings me a clear mind and self-confidence. The beauty I witness in others brings pleasure to both my senses and my inward spirit.