Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Presence and Presents of Potter: Proselyte

Episode Four

"Please read it."


"C'mon, please? It's really good!"


"But you'd really-"


And so it had gone for countless weeks. My sister begged her, our best friend, begged, pleaded, wheedled, extorted... but to no avail. And though by now both my sister and I were both deeply devoted to these books and this boy, even though his state-side popularity was growing, no amount of kindly coercion seemed able to crack her resolve.

Until one day, when we happened to visit the zoo.


It was a hot, free-admission Sunday at the Bronx Zoo. Why not go, our mothers had mused, and try and see the new gorilla exhibit? Excellent idea. One that was, alas, shared by 85% of the greater New York area. I hope the gorillas, at least, enjoyed it; we were stuck in a very nasty mess of traffic, and would have had more exposure to primates that day by snacking on bananas.

However, this trying experience did give us one more positive and more lasting outcome. My sister, my friend and I sat arm-to-arm in the back seat of the crowded mini-van, bored and helpless in the sea of smog and vehicles. At last, our friend turned to my sister. "Oh, just give me something to read!" she said.

My sister, ever awaiting her moment of weakness, handed our friend the first volume. There were several long minutes of relative quiet, then...

"This is good." she said, looking at us.

My sister replied "I know."

"No," said our friend, and that deep earnesty was kindled in her eyes and her voice. "It's really good."


By the time we arrived at the zoo, it was all we could do to get her our of the car.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Presence and Presents of Potter: In the Chamber

Episode Three

My legs were numb, my eyes raw. My back was curled tight over this little book, this little book that seemed to exert some phenomenal pressure as it rested on my lap.

My lips were parted, perhaps in awe, perhaps in anticipation of a scream. Maybe to ensure that I continued to breathe as my desperate friend fought off those terrible symbiotic monsters. With him I felt the stab of betrayal in a blind and foolish trust; swallowed the agony of helplessness, of fear like shards of frozen glass as the dreaded answers came. Deadly serpent and fatal dream together encircled my friend as he fought for his life, and the lives of others dear to us. I watched him stab the serpent and felt the terrible wave of shame and fear (and was it... relief?) as he began to die at the hands of his enemies. And the same instinct, same ice-cold realization gripped me as I watched him, as though in liquid time, stab that dark little book.

The gasp of a girl echoed in my ears- perhaps it was Ginny.

When it was over I walked through my night-darkened house, looking for a room with enough light to wash away the sense that I had died and been reborn.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Presence and Presents of Potter: Tears in the Mirror

Episode Two

I knew who they were before he did.

It wasn't a difficult puzzle. Red hair and tears in green eyes, black hair that stuck up in the back... I knew.

But when he realized, that line, that wall between him and myself... it dissolved. Vaporized, as though it had never been and never would be again.

They were there for the first time. These people who loved him, and therefore loved me, totally and without reserve. There were no toddlerhood hysterics to recall; no adolescent travesties to come between us. There was the love of two parents to their infant child, and the unbearable pain of the child, who was no longer an infant and was suddenly drowning in an ocean of colossal emotion. There were no complexities here, just that gasping sense of a flower given too much water all at once. Because... we were helpless, and helplessly alone. How to fit a love so huge into bodies so small? How to express this bruising gratitude, and give voice to the sudden, aching, unslakable lust for more? How were we to swallow this incredible pain that this love was now always... ever... trapped in a mirror?

My hands shivered on the pages, and aching, steady tears slowly washed my cheeks. The weakness of grief trickled through me, the friend of a foreign and familiar anguish like the pain of the sand, as it takes another tide.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Presence and Presents of Potter

Episode One

It was a bright, crispy sort of day, one of those days where the seasons melt together and create a dizzying sort of barometric blur. The cold was too warm, the sun was too milky, and the wind was at once too harsh and too mild to retain a coherent identity.

The school bus whined to the corner, and after landing flat-footed from our hop down from that oversteep last step, my sister and I began to make our way home. We were engaged in an ongoing and well-disguisedly monumental battle of wills.

The words of the argument, I do not recall, but the sentiment of "No, I told you, I'm not going to read it!" had certainly emanated from my side of the discourse. "It's really, really, really good!" was just as surely the force of my sister's answering argument."

Just tell me what happens," I know I said, brassly displaying my 12-year-old aptitude for literary flippancy. "Fine," said she. "So there's this boy named Harry-"

"Well, duh."

"And he's an orphan, and he lives with his aunt and uncle, who don't like him. They tell him to go to his room while they have a dinner party... but when he gets there, there's an elf called Dobby on his bed. Then-"

"OK!" I said. My eyes slipped to the sidewalk beneath my feet, a small span of concrete that remains dear to me to this day. "OK," I said, without really knowing why. "I'll read it."

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Dance I Do

Over the past few days (read: immeasurable span of time) I have been conducting a trying and persistent conversation (read: exhaustively fruitless argument) with myself. It generally plays out something like this:

- I want to write a book.

- So write a book.

(Pause; sigh.)

- I don't have anything to write about.

- Oh, come on.

- No, seriously. No ideas. Zilch.

- What about-

- I knew you'd bring that up. You know I have no idea where to go with that one.


- So write an outline.

- But I don't know what should happen. I even introduced that girl who was "familiar," without knowing who on earth she was! Talk about your stupid rookie mistakes.

- But-

- Look, I told you. I have no ideas.

(Pause; sigh.)

- Write about what you know- and don't tell me you don't know anything! You know about your community, about divorce, about... ahh...

- But I don't want to write a commentary! Every time you write about a community from the inside, it's automatically a commentary on them. You end up judging them and fostering misconceptions... and you can't write how everything is perfect because it's not true and anyway, that wouldn't be much of a book. Speaking of which, it's not like I'm ever going to get published anyway.

- Don't say that...

- It's true! Do you know how many writers there are out there, who not only have ideas, but write outlines and do rewrites and work for years on one manuscript?? I can't... I can't do that kind of thing.

- Because you're lazy.

- Yes! I am. I've never claimed not to be. Even for things I love, I'm lazy. And it takes me like a week to get one computer page... I don't understand how people can write books. I really don't. It's so hard. I just don't have that kind of drive.

- Huhm.

- Oh, you think? And... and and and my writing isn't as good as it used to be.


- It's, it's clunky now. It won't flow, I can't hit the sentences like I used to. They're so short, and the rhythm is always off...

- You're not a bad writer, you know.

- I know that. Of course I know that. But... but I want to be spectacular. And published. And read.


- I just don't think I have it. I haven't even been able to keep the blog up. Remember how people used to read it?

- I remember. It was nice.

- It was nice.


- I... I just don't think I have it anymore.


- Plus the new Blogger changed my colors back, it's just too bright this way. And everyone has the "Thistleway Rose" whatever it is. I worked so hard getting the colors right last time... I guess that's technology for you.

- Yup.

- Yup. Hey... thanks for letting me talk.

- It's my pleasure. I hope you get published someday, I really do.

- Yeah... so do I.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Circle

The world is shrinking. We are all so close, so tightly bound. It seems we could feel the breeze across the world, if we tried hard enough.

Yet for me, the world seems larger than ever before. Every day, new phenomena are born for me. Seeing an arrest; fielding questions on topics I did not know existed. I smell a waking city; my pulse beats with one that will not sleep.

And every night, I sleep a little smaller. Not less- I am the same, but my setting has swollen.

Often, my surroundings take in things I do not like. Hatreds and love irrational; logic and feeling unsound. They crowd me, peck at my moral and intellectual structure, or else they coo and whisper their shadowed allure. It is a dangerous business, growing this world of mine. And defense is often hard to come by.

But every night, before sleep (that wonderful symphony of deepest truth and lies) I fold my arms beneath my pillow. The circle that forms begins at my heart, and stretches, warm and deep, to my head. In my circle, I think of all that I know, all that I believe, and I savor the musky tang of reality. This is real, I think, slipping safe and solid into my circle. This is true.

And even the bright light of day could never outshine my clarity.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Tortoise Won the Race

I realize that my last post was a bit of a downer, and really rather jarring as a two-month wallpaper for my blog. But let's face it, shall we? College is hard. There is a lot to adjust to. Primarily, there is quite a hefty volume of paper that I now seem to be responsible for. Background readings, short assignments, syllabi, reports, textbooks, midterms (oh my!) It's more than I am accustomed to, and it's taking time to learn how to make a full course meal out of something that was once much-anticipated dessert.

But I'm getting used to it. I have met a number of very lovely people with whom I hope to become closer, and there are many friends from previous years whom I am learning to know even better. I can derive a real and consistent pleasure from at least one of my classes (naturally, this course is a workload heavyweight) and I even dabble in extra-curriculars.

I am going to be fine. I'm going to get to the end of this race. Slowly, steadily... Happily.