Thursday, 10 September 2009

Merlin's Beard! It's...over

This morning on the walk to work, I listened to the last chapter of the last book about “the boy who lived.” I had started the marathon of audio books, as read by the remarkable Stephen Fry, as a way to get myself safely through the festival season. Each year I choose a story to act as a buffer between me and the stresses of everyday life. Last year it was Tom Robbins’ Villa Incognito. This year, it was Potter.

It was a strange thing to absorb this story while in the city where it was written, walking each day on Prince’s Street, looking up at Edinburgh Castle where the Tattoo stands could easily be mistaken for those surrounding a Quidditch pitch.

I know I am years behind the tsunami of adoration for these books, but I will add my little cheer to those of the masses and say what a fine, fine storyteller J.K. Rowling is. True, at times I thought I would scream if I had to endure the same description of someone “turning scarlet,” or Harry’s “stomach lurching,” but overall these bursts of blinding repetition were worth being tugged along into such a glorious adventure.

Now it is over. And…I don’t know. I feel…confunded. I don’t understand why The Leaky Cauldron isn’t a real place, or why I can’t do magic. I’m just wandering around, waiting for the real world to seep back into my heart, but not really wanting it to.

Of course it is ridiculous, a grown woman aching after the idea of riding a broom or drinking pumpkin juice from a goblet. If I can feel this way, as a reader, I can’t imagine the deep connection Rowling must feel towards these characters, who she has raised from children into adulthood while we all watched.

I want to know who you love, the characters who are more real to you than the people you pass in the street. I want to know the invisible souls you have yearned to meet, have defended to others, have missed like old friends. The creature I love most from these books, at least right now, is the dreamy, wise and innocent Luna.

Would it be worth writing something to which you formed such a deep attachment, if you knew the mess it would make in your creative mind, blurring your internal worlds with the day-to-day? Have you ever been so far inside your own head, that stepping into the sun or buying milk is a shock that leaves you gazing around, confused about how to function in even the most benign social situations?

After such a lengthy, immersive journey, JP recommends that I launch myself into reading something utterly un-Potterish. But what? What?


Dale said...

Such wonderful books, I thought.

Never having been a real writer of fiction, I've never had that sort of relationship with characters. I wonder what it's like?

I loved Luna's mixture of shrewdness and battiness too :-) said...

I have only read a cocouple of the first ones. Your post makes me want to explore the rest.

ellen abbott said...

Try reading the Stephanie Plum bounty hunter series by Janet Evanovich. Short, readable, laugh out loud funny. there are 14 I think. I've read all but two or three and each one made me laugh. They build so it's best to start at the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Go for Rebus. There's plenty of them to get through and it's nice to read about the darker sides of Edinburgh.

Cathy said...

I reluctantly read the first book at the request of a friend and was hooked. I could not wait for the next book nor put it down until I had finished it.
I was the same way with the Twilight books. My girls were rereading them after finishing them so I picked up the first one and again I could not stop.
There is something in all of us that wants these things to be true. We want to live in these fantasies.

LDWatkins said...

I've not read any of them and for whatever reason, it's become a point of concern to me. I feel that I should but would want to devour them all and can't allot my time properly to do this. You make me want to even more!

Jessica said...

I hurried through the movies (on DVD) in preparation for The Half Blood Prince in July and The Deathly Hallows are by my bedside, though I've flitted through a number of other books, too afraid to come to the end of Harry Potter. It takes a very long time for some books to leave my mind but as a suggestion, how about some Ondaatje?

Marcheline said...

The characters that are real to me:

Jamie and Claire, of Diana Gabaldon's Scottish "Outlander" series.

Harry, Hermione, Ron, Albus Dumbledore, Hagrid, Luna, Neville, and Professor McGonagall.

Jilly Coppercorn from the books by Charles DeLint.

Just my two cents: Don't plunge yourself into something non-Potter. Start the books all over again. You'll be amazed at how much you missed the first time around.

I don't believe in the real world, anyway - look where it's gotten us as a race. Give me the train to Hogwarts any day.

My word verification is "norpentu" - it's the spell to cure people who regret wishing for the magical world. Ha!

PurestGreen said...

Thank you so much for all your tips! I believe the next book will be The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B, by J.P. Donleavy. I plucked in from my self (a gift from my friend Craig). It's got that dream-like quality that I am still craving.

But I've taken note of the other book suggestions to make the dark season a greater pleasure.