So listen. Today is my blog’s two year anniversary. My blog is officially a toddler. I had something else almost written, but I’m on two weeks with no writing time other than subways, late nights when I can’t decide between writing and sleep and end up beating myself about the head with my laptop like some kind of deranged house elf.
Which brings me to the point. Harry Potter. I just read all the books. By ‘just’ I mean I finished book 7 over two weeks ago and I’m a little obsessed. It all started at the library book sale in Kent, CT. A while back, some older woman driver who perhaps shouldn’t have been driving, but really I see no reason to judge, drove her car into the library. She crashed right into the front, smashed through the window. From the look of the caution tape surrounding the place, it was pretty destructive. I mean, she drove her car into the building, so that’s like the definition of destructive.
To raise money for repairs, the library started hosting this book sale. It’s a great sale. You can buy all the best books for two dollars. I went every time we visited my Aunt E and my Gram, and because I’m quite bookish, this library sale was sheer delight. For twenty bucks I’d walk away with fifteen books. I have kindle and nook and iBooks and whatever, but like I said, I like books. Books are like a fetish object for me.
Anyway, after I’d bought everything I could possibly want, I started to venture out. I bought all of Robert Parker’s Spenser series books, which were fed a worthwhile read if you’re into mysteries, the strong silent type, and solid story telling. I bought all the Agatha Chrystie, which were my anxiety antidote during the summer leading up to and the fall recovery after my son’s cranial surgery. I discovered Willa Cather, Eudora Welty, found more Baldwin, and in general well enjoyed myself.
Then one day I showed up and in the children’s section, where I’d previously found A Child’s Guide to the Criminal Justice System (a real page turner), and Transformers books, and there was a stack of Harry Potter books. I knew about the books, obviously, I mean I don’t live under a rock, but I hadn’t read them. They were a dollar or two a piece, so I bought the whole stack, which went up to book 5. I figured C might want to read them eventually, and since he’s only four, we had plenty of time to get books 6 and 7.
I was so wrong. We had to rearrange a bookshelf to accommodate a printer, and Rowling’s books surfaced, and were moved to another, more visible shelf. One evening when C was picking out books for bedtime, he picked up book 1 and asked me to read it to him. Stunned by my child’s interest in a long chapter book, I instantly agreed. We started reading at bedtime, and by the time C was asleep, I was hooked. The next few weeks passed in a whirlwind of exquisite pleasure while I learned to read while doing dishes, while Dave was talking, and stayed up way past my bedtime.
The obsession was strong. I thought about those who had been reading along with the series as it was emerging from the publisher, having to wait years between stories. I could hardly imagine the madness of waiting for the next story in the masterfully told saga. Christmas came and went, and I was still reading. I suffered colds, Dave periodically checked in to find out when he would have his wife back, and the story unfolded. By reading them back to back, I was able to experience full immersion. I would fold down a book corner only to sleep and dream where I had left off. I read right through book 5, and the next day ran out to my local independent bookstore– Book Court, Carroll Gardens, check it out– and bought book 6. I told my mom what was happening and she fedexed me her own copy of book 7. The final Sunday of winter break I sat in my rocking chair, the same one I’d rocked C to sleep in, the same one in which my mom had rocked me to sleep, and interspersed reading and playing with C all day. The sun poured in. The Christmas tree was fragrant, and it was nothing short of glorious.
Then it ended. It was over. And because you all read the books at least five years ago, you know how I felt: devastated, alone, isolated. I could hardly believe it. I read all the Rita Skeeter articles about the Quidditch World Cup on pottermore. But still, I was in an abyss. I watched the first two movies. But come on, it’s just not the same. I listened to Lily & James songs, and like some kind of narrative methadone, that helped.
But there’s only one thing that really helped, only one thing that is making an effective antidote. I hesitate to even tell you what it is, lest I jinx it. I’m capable of doing that, of saying too much about an idea to the point where I effectively kill the idea. Anyway I decided to write some fiction. I think it’s even YA. Or it might be. Because I don’t know what adults want. I only know that I want to be immersed in a story that is not dumbed down or thinks it’s smarter than me. A story that is adventurous, and secretive. Hence my new thing, which I hope I finish, which I wouldn’t even embark upon had it not been that I’ve been writing prose consistently for two years, here on this blog.
Thanks for reading everyone. Can’t tell you how much it means to me.