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22 November 2005 @ 10:50 am
Harry Potter, A History, Volume II  
This is a continuation of Harry Potter, A History, Volume I. Apparently, LiveJournal has a character limit on entries, so I have to split up this blog regurgitation into multiple parts.

  1. "Siriusly Obsessed"
    Monday, October 17, 2005, 9:36 pm

  2. This (The Fifteen-Minute Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) is hilarious.

    Sorry, more HP stuff. No, you know what? I'm not sorry. As crazy and fixated as I may sound, I think HP is totally a worthy obsession, and millions of people out there apparently agree with me! I mean, dude, there's even a very extensive Sirius Black fan site out there, with over 10 pages of postings on the exact point in the various books when forum members realized Sirius Black is sexy and why. OK, so maybe this all means that there are A LOT of crazy people out there, but I guess I'm just going to have to count myself as one of them!

  3. "The Wikipedic Book of Wikipedia
    Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 12:56 am

  4. I just made my first Wikipedia correction. On a little study break, I was looking something up about (guess what...my favorite subject) HP, and I noticed that in a Wikipedia entry, the "Monster Book of Monsters" was referred to as the "Monstrous Book of Monsters," so I fixed the error. I feel so...contributional! I wonder who actually sits and takes the time to write all those entries. I mean, I'm sure it's a lot of people, but wow--lots of time and energy! I wonder if Wikipedia actually hires people to do that or if it's all FREE. Technology continues to blow my mind, man....The things humans are capable of....

  5. "Back to Art, Closer to Reality
    Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 11:10 pm

  6. I just wanna put in a little plug for Jamie Cullum. He kinda sounds like Harry Connick, Jr. (J-'s favorite performer; we've seen him in concert many, many times and even got to meet him on a couple of occasions), but...I don't quite know how to describe his musical style. It's jazzy, contemporary...sentimental, but not cheesy...dreamy...and dare I say sexy! His newest album, Catching Tales, is mainly original music (I *highly* recommend "London Skies," "Photograph," "Catch the Sun," and "Oh God"), and his previous album, Twentysomething, is a set of really cool covers, including one of Pharrell's "Frontin'" that's shockingly good. He also does a good cover of "Everlasting Love" (the one that goes "Open up your eyes...[something something something] everlasting love," not the one that goes "I need an everlasting love/I need a friend and a lover combined," although that's a good song, too), from the Bridget Jones Diary: The Edge of Reason soundtrack, I believe.

    I'm also a big Keane fan. And I recently discovered the joys of Death Cab for Cutie. I've really gotta start getting rid of my hype bias, which kind of turns me off of trends that everyone's buzzing about. Sometimes those trends are really really good, and I end up missing out and jumping on the bandwagon really late (not that it matters, but still, why not add good things to your life sooner?).

    I think this Harry Potter thing kind of got me back in touch with my creative, artsy side in general--a part of me that's actually been lost for a really long time...maybe even a whole decade. I mean, back in high school, for example, I used to write a lot of poetry (most of it angsty and about boys, but not all of it necessarily bad), and I used to play the piano for hours on end. I used to listen to music all the time, too. But ever since college, I left a lot of that behind, and I'm not really sure why. And it turns out that I really missed it. Even though there's an angst underlying all of it, I find the angst *electrifying*. It stimulates me to *feel*...to empathize...and to do something with all of that...to fashion, or at least attempt to fashion, media of some sort that can enable other people to get a glimpse of these feelings, these emotions, and absorb it into their similar experiences.

    Have you ever read something--perhaps a story, or even just one sentence--and felt that it's so perfect and so true? I think there is a line from Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife that goes something like, "How true! How true it is!" I often think of that line when I read certain things--things that I so completely identify with that it's almost like the author has opened up my soul and looked in on my most intimate feelings and experiences. It's situations like this which assure me that there are indeed common threads of humanity. It's the closest you can ever get to knowing someone's true self, the closest you'll ever get to experiencing someone's innermost thoughts. The selves that we project to the world are a part of us, but there's always this essence, deep down, that no one will ever really experience. It's an element that doesn't really even lend itself to words, but there are times when they can come close, when the words can wrap around the thought processes and emotions and manage to illuminate them to a listening soul. Music has this power--not all the time, and not all music, mind you--and so does the written word. To use a familiar example, this is why I truly love the HP books. J. K. Rowling does a phenomenal job of relating emotions that we all have felt, on the deepest level. I have felt alienated, different, lost, angry...and I have felt like I belong, like someone truly does understand me...and the situations that JKR's characters experience relate the truest part of these emotions.

    It's nice to be back in touch with this part of the human experience in a really intimate, deliberate way. Of course, there's a price to pay, because it's very intense. It's simple to just experience life, watch TV, hang out, do your daily do....but it's not as fulfilling, even if it's easier. And I feel really lucky to have this kind of awareness...and maybe that's what I want to pass on in a similar way that JKR and numerous other authors have. To be able to shape the most basic, most human experiences into a form that others can identify with--it reaffirms the common seat of our souls. If that doesn't make you feel alive, then nothing will.

    Currently Listening
    Catching Tales
    By Jamie Cullum
    London Skies

  7. "Do the Potter!
    Thursday, October 20, 2005, 6:27 pm

  8. Thanks to [one of my subscribers on my other blog] for this hilarious link: Harry Potter Dance. I was laughing out loud!!! Thank goodness J- wasn't home, or else he would have thought I had lost my mind! Actually, he probably already thinks that, so what am I saying?!

    I mean, on one hand, the video clip is FRIGHTENING AS HELL. But on another, it's almost ingenious. I guess I'd like to think of it as overall irreverent, which is how I like 'em .

    Just goes to show that no matter how nutty you are, there's someone out there (or, in this case, a whole frickin' dance troupe of 'em) who's ten times nuttier!!!

    Too bad the video is a little bit blurry....Making it smaller helped, but then it was hard to see. The plot is basically a sort of Gryffindor vs. Slytherin rivalry, kinda like the whole Jets vs. Sharks thing in West Side Story. (Perhaps even the choreography was taken from there; I'm not sure, because I never saw the movie.) Then a dementor comes and makes Harry faint (ha!), but Harry and his friends ultimately vanquish it, and even Malfoy cannot help but cheer Harry on. And then everyone does a happy dance with broomsticks and wands. How great is that?! Thanks, [subscriber on the other blog], for making my day!

  9. "Moste Triumphante"
    Monday, October 24, 2005, 12:30 am

  10. So this weekend has been very fruitful in terms of all non-school things and not at all fruitful otherwise!

    E- and D- came to visit, and we had a number of delicious meals (Indian, Tibetan, and Lebanese), went apple picking (my first time--VERY FUN!), and watched The Ring (one of my favorite movies), among other things. Oh, and of course, much Harry Potter conversation was had .

    My Halloween costume arrived as well, and I think it kicks ass. I will make sure to post a picture so everyone reading this can laugh at what a nerd I am.

    Tickets for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire *finally* went on sale in my area on Fandango, so I happily purchased two today, for the opening day (November 18). J- can't go, as he's on call, but one of my grad school friends has already said she would. And then when the tickets for the IMAX version of the movie go on sale, I'll buy two more so that J- can see it with me in that format. The movie looks REALLY good, and I am so psyched for it to come out!

    Actually, I've probably watched the trailers WAY too many times, because last night I had a dream that I got to know, and became friends with, the actor playing Peter Pettigrew (in my dream, his name was Alex; in real life, his name is Timothy Spall) and started dating the actor playing Ron (Rupert Grint). I mean, really!!! How completely silly! Shoot, Rupert Grint is freakin' 17 years old!

    I also finished the first part of a fan fiction--different from the one I started on the plane home from Puerto Rico--so I am currently basking in that triumph. This week, when I was listening to my iPod, I was struck by a couple of major inspirations and immediately outlined both of them. Then, I went ahead and started the first one (my favorite one), and I am now done with the first...I guess you'd call it a chapter. Basically, these two fan fics are organized around the lyrics to a song (one song per each fan fic). It's kind of a gimmicky approach, and I've seen it used really badly on fansites, but I think my ideas, especially the one I wrote the first chapter to, are really good. So each verse (or part of a verse, for I have split some verses into one or more pieces) constitutes the header for, and thereby inspires, what I guess would be a chapter. I've finished the first verse--6 single-sided pages, much more than I had expected!

    And I really like it. Further, I really enjoyed writing it. It was almost like a compulsion--no, maybe it really WAS a compulsion. Once I got the idea, I had to get it out. The idea was created, and now I needed to transfer it from my brain to the paper. I've been writing on the T, during my ESL class (the students were taking a quiz, and I had nothing else to do), late at night...grabbing any moment I can to add to the story. And the story simply poured out of me. Like with the other fiction, I definitely knew the general direction, but when I put my pen to the paper, the details just flowed, and interesting descriptions and tangents popped into my head out of nowhere.

    And when I say "pen" and "paper," I mean that literally: I have realized that I definitely prefer to write longhand, even though I am a really fast typist. It's only after a chapter is written that I type it up. I wrote in an e-mail to a friend the reason I think this is, and I hope she forgives me for reprinting it here:

    Using longhand gives you time to think before you write, and it feels much more...organic?...to use my hands to physically shape the words; I feel like it INSERTS me into the process, if that makes any sense. The words then come from my heart and mind; they're not spewed out mechanically. I even like the process of crossing out my mistakes, because the mistakes remain on the paper and are sometimes helpful later on.

    Writing this chapter in particular was a MAJOR confidence booster (as well as were the very encouraging words of said friend with regard to the other fiction I had started). I mean, I really really like it. And it enabled me to see that (a) I enjoy--no, adore--writing, especially fiction, and (b) I'm really not bad at it, at least when I'm given already existing characters and situations to work with. Of course, creating my own stuff will be a lot harder; it's much easier to be creative within someone else's parameters, as the bulkier part of "imagining" has already been done by that someone. You already know the characters and locales. Now you just have to be true to them. It still takes a lot of creativity--don't get me wrong--and it takes a lot of empathy (the part I think I'm good at). But the most daunting part--imagining a whole different world, or at least a cast of characters and their personal quirks, histories, situations, etc.--has already been taken care of.

    But what I think I have gotten out of this exercise so far is the confidence that I can write well and I am creative. Further, I'm closer to believing that I have the ability to handle that major first step of creating the world/locale, the people within it, and, of course, a plotline or two. I've actually already done it once with the novel I outlined. Further, another lesson I have drawn from this fan fic experience is that a lot of what it takes lies within one's own experiences, one's own thoughts.

    For example, say you want to write a coming-of-age story. This is definitely a genre that interests me, and perhaps that's one of the biggest reasons I (and probably many other people) like Harry Potter. My high school experiences were WONDERFUL, and I see that time as some of my best years, even though there was tons of dumb shit like angst, crushes on losers, etc. The teachers who hated teenagers, skipping class and feeling so clever for getting away with it, a first kiss, harmless flirtations....Those were truly magical times for me, and what didn't feel magical or funny for me at the time, like the mean teacher, now makes me smile. It's kind of like some of the lyrics from Jamie Cullum's "Photograph," which is about looking at old pictures and thinking about the moments captured in them:

    When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life
    I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time

    So, OK, coming-of-age story. It's really easy to just sit there, drum your fingers on the table, and come up blank: no idea, no story. But what I'm thinking is that when you start delving into yourself, your friends, your experiences growing up, and so on, you start coming up with something new--ideas that take a piece from reality, but blossom into something truly their own.

    And it's writing this song-based fan fiction that has given me at least a small chunk of confidence to believe that when it comes down to writing something wholly original, I will be able to come up with something. In that case, I started with two unoriginal things--a song written by someone else and characters/situations created by someone else--and shaped my own descriptions, and not just of what the characters were thinking or experiencing at junctures already described or envisioned by JKR, but also completely new scenes never even alluded to by JKR. If I can do that, then at some point, I should be able to sit down and come up with some characters and a plot of my own. And I can envision some kinds of writing exercises I can do to develop those characters alongside writing the actual story.

    So I'm feeling very triumphant and fulfilled right now. I'm not sure I've ever really experienced this feeling before. I know writing isn't always like this. There will surely be times when I'm frustrated because I can't think of what happens next, or a description just isn't working out at all. But this feeling of having created something good, something that might touch other people in the way that other people's work has touched me, is one of the best feelings I've ever had.

    I feel like I'm at least going in the right direction and that I have it in me to be both patient and creative enough to make my own stuff someday. For now, I'm perfectly content to use JKR's brilliant world as my first platform. And again, it's all for love of the art and the process, because I certainly won't be making any money from writing fan fics. They won't even be publishable except in an Internet format (with appropriate disclaimers about the origin of the characters, ideas, etc., and the fact that they belong to JKR), because that would be plagiarism.

    Regarding what I plan to do with these fictions, I'm still deciding. The one I started on the plane from Puerto Rico is a MASSIVE undertaking. It will involve a lot of research and analysis. I will try to add to it as much as I can, but I don't see it being my main focus until at least winter break. As I've said before, the research involves reading the entire series over at least once (I've done that for books 1-4, but books 5 and 6, being so long, will have to wait until the semester's over), as well as taking notes from various analytical essays out there and examining character descriptions and timelines. However, the two fics I thought of this past week are much smaller projects, although they are by no means tiny. As I said, Chapter (Verse) 1 of one of the fics is 6 single-spaced pages typed, and I still have 16 more chapters to go. Not all of them will be as large as Chapter 1, especially the chapters that contain only one or two lines of a particular verse; in fact, because one of the song's verses is split into about 7 chapters--one chapter per each line of the verse--I expect that each of those chapters will be fairly short. But because of the overall limited nature of the song lyrics and the idea in general, the fictions shouldn't be nearly as big an ordeal as the first one is. So I am concentrating on them now.

    So what to do with them? For the two smaller ones, I may post them (after they're done in entirety [Author's Note: Yet another statement I made that I later reneged on, as I'm already posted on The Sugar Quill, even though only Chapters 1 and 2 are done. My author page there is here.]) to a couple of fan sites. I think it will help to get comments back (hopefully some serious people will review them), especially since they will be my first serious attempts at fiction writing. Also, since, at least thus far, I am really fond of what I wrote, I want to share it with people who would be interested in reading it. I know that I appreciated reading the few good fan fics I ran across out there.

    I'm also thinking I might publish them on my own site--either here or in a separate [account on the other blog site--I didn't end up doing this because I later discovered LiveJournal] that I would create expressly for that purpose. Another alternative would be to buy a domain name (I've been toying with this idea for a long time) and publishing them there. The problem is, I have NO CLUE how to make a Web page. I know tons of people who could show me, including my mom, but the question is, do I have time to learn, even though I know that programs like MS Frontpage make the process really easy. Actually, the question is really, do I have time to dole out to an activity I know I would get really wrapped up in??? I can see myself going all out in creating a Web site--yet another drain on my already precious time, yay! Perhaps that would need to wait until after I graduate from grad school. So, in the meantime, it'll be either here or in the separate [other blog]--at least until I manage to move the fics over to a personal site. But anyway, I won't be done with the first fic for a while, so I guess I don't need to worry about it for a while.

    I will say, though, that if anyone reading this is truly interested in reading what I've written, he or she may feel free to send me an e-mail or drop me a comment asking me for the fic, and I will e-mail the various installments. If I think you're fucking around with me, though, then no soup for you. Serious readers only, please. I don't expect any comments back from anyone, although both flattery and constructive criticism are welcome .

    Anyway, I'm hoping that having written a good first chapter will kind of calm me down for a while and allow me to get some schoolwork done, too! I'm telling you, this writing is very compulsive!!! Overall, I think that's a good thing, because I know that when I get OCD about stuff, I outdo myself. So I really don't mind. But I do have to find a way to balance and control the situation so that I can get through grad school!!! Hopefully, having gotten the project well underway will enable me to add to it steadily, but not frantically.

    One of the next steps, then, is for me to update my Amazon wish list with the books I want to read as inspiration for my own writing. I'm really starting to believe that the more you read and the more you write, you give yourself a really good chance for being able to write something truly incredible of your own.

    Currently Listening
    By Coldplay

  11. "Honestly, Ron, It's Just a Costume!"
    Saturday, October 29, 2005, 12:35 am

  12. Miss Sophia in all her Halloweeny glory:

    Let's do a little comparison:

  13. "Red Carpet Sunday"
    Sunday, November 6, 2005, 11:17 pm

  14. Dumb statement of the month:

    "It was cold and uncomfortable. I don't envy tramps."
    --Ellie Shaw, 22, hotel receptionist, about spending the night outside in order to be on the frontlines (behind the security barrier) on the red carpet of the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (full article here)

    Really? I've always wanted to be homeless myself....

    In the ultimate show of Harry Potter obsession, I watched a life Webcast of the whole red carpet shindig. The video was pretty crappy, but the audio was perfectly intact, and I totally marvelled at how amazing Internet technology is. I mean, with TV, someone has to make the decision to broadcast a program, typically over a major network, and then, if you want to see the program, you have to have access to the network. With the Internet, as long as you have a Web site and whatever appropriate equipment (e.g., cameras) and software you need (which I'm sure is not really a whole lot of anything), you can broadcast anything to anyone. So incredible....

    Even though the video quality sucked (very choppy and pixellated), it was really cool to hear and sort-of see the various actors getting interviewed by a (slightly annoying and rather overenthusiastic, but ignorant at the same time) Brit reporter. Just about all of the major characters, and some of the minor ones, got interviewed, which pleased me to no end, including the actors playing Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Hagrid, Cho Chang, Fleur Delacoeur, Barty Crouch Jr., Cedric Diggory, Padma Patil, Madame Maxime, Ginny Weasley, Fred and George Weasley, and probably some others that aren't coming to mind right now. The director and the producer were also interviewed. The only disappointment I had is that Alan Rickman (Professor Snape) either wasn't there or wasn't interviewed, and I was really hoping to see what he was like outside of the Snape character. But I particularly enjoyed the interviewed with Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and Dan Radcliffe (Harry Potter). Both of them are really articulate guys, good heads on their shoulders, extremely mature for their age, etc. I particularly like Dan because he reminds me of some of the kids I used to hang out with in high school. As I described it in an e-mail to a friend, he's "lovably dorky and happy not to be the coolest kid in school (an attitude that often has the odd effect of making the subject exactly that)." He's just got a lot of enthusiasm for what he's doing, and he has a sort of self-deprecating humor (e.g., telling the world that he's not afraid to admit being terrified at falling 40 (or 60?--I've heard him give different figures) feet on a wire for a particular stunt, no matter how "unmanly" the admission is; spreading the word that he's a really crappy dancer) that I completely appreciate.

    Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), on the other hand...Well, let's just say that he's not a man of many words (except possibly for "quite," which he repeats over and over).

  15. "Let's Go to the Movies"
    Monday, November 7, 2005, 12:24 am

  16. In some class last semester--Communication Theory, I believe, or maybe Communication Research--we were discussing the phenomenon of people not going to movies anymore, but instead waiting for movies they like to come out on DVD and then watching the movies in their own homes, with all of their home theater equipment, etc. I'm typically a proponent of this approach, but the following segment, from this essay on Mugglenet, makes a really good point about movies being a social, communal experience:

    We're in this together.
    Sealed up in your living room, your audience is only as large as the number of people (if any) who are watching the film. But at an opening-weekend showing, with the largest possible audience in the theater, you can share the experience with at least a small part of the global audience that has gathered to see the same exciting movie. The humor, the excitement, the fear, and the romance are all magnified by the mass emotional reaction of the people surrounding you. Also, a movie is a social occasion. It should not be viewed alone. How can it take you out of yourself when you don't actually go out?

    There's definitely something to be said for seeing a movie with a large crowd. The first time I saw The Ring was so special because of all of the screams and shrieks from the other moviegoers. (And, of course, the guy who screamed "Aw, HELL no!" at the very end when he thought something scary was going to happen--and then the whole theater broke out in laughter--made the experience even better.)

    Modern technology is great, as I mentioned in my entry of an hour or two ago, but we shouldn't all just hole up inside our houses and experience entertainment alone--at least not all the time.

  17. "Huzzah for Literary Analysis!"
    Monday, November 7, 2005, 3:40 pm

  18. It's articles like this that remind me why I love the Harry Potter series so much. (Beware, spoilers for Half-Blood Prince.) Literary analysis is awesome! Perhaps I missed my calling as an English major???

  19. "I Had Such Good Intentions..."
    Tuesday, November 8, 2005, 10:05 pm

  20. The bad news: My fan fic writing must be put temporarily on hold until early to mid-December so that I do not sabotage my entire grad school career. That's bad news for me, because I really love working on my writing. [Author's Note: Uh...yeah...Another broken promise, as I've continued to work on my story anyway. I was just really stressed out that week. I do need to devote more time to grad school, but it simply is impossible for me to stop thinking about or working on my story. But I did cut down a bit on the time I spend at my part-time job (which is usually more than the hours I get paid for), and I'm trying to work more efficiently, so....*shrugs* ]

    The good news: I've finished two chapters of the main story I'm working on now, and I really really like them. The first one is 6 single-spaced pages and over 3,700 words, and the second one is just over 11.25 single-spaced pages and over 7,000 words!!! Of course, quality matters much more than quantity, but I think the quality is pretty darn good, especially for a first-time fiction writer. I am also strongly leaning toward a couple of options for posting the fiction, even though it's not done yet. I know that totally contradicts my previous assertion that I would likely not post, or would do so only upon completion of the story, but I have since had a change of heart. I think it would be really helpful to get feedback as I write. One friend has been very kind as to read and review for me (I'll say it again: Thank you!!!! You know who you are!), and her comments have been really valuable and enlightening. Again, the whole point of this exercise, besides the fact that I derive an insane amount of pleasure from it, is to improve my writing, and the sooner I get useful comments the better.

    So that is why I have 99% decided to submit Chapter 1 to The Sugar Quill, a Harry Potter fan fiction site. There are quite a number of excellent sites out there (as well as numerous crappy ones), but what I like about The Sugar Quill is that it is highly selective about what gets posted: Your work goes through a mandatory beta-read by a site staff member, and you get detailed, directed feedback (i.e., not just "I like this!" but things like "I really enjoyed your characterization of Ginny and the way that you incorporate her earlier experiences first year with Tom Riddle. I think it shows just how important her connection with Harry will prove to be in future chapters."--quoted directly from the submission guidelines page) before the chapter is even allowed to be posted. This is what I want--feedback from experienced people who want to help my writing and point out the good and bad things in detail, specifically as they relate to the Harry Potter canon. The reviews from regular readers are cool, too, but there's no way to guarantee such directed feedback from them. And I believe that the beta readers even will correspond back and forth with you a bit.

    I also like that you're allowed to post one chapter at a time on The Sugar Quill, as other sites, such as Schnoogle, for novel-length fan fiction (~3,000 words per chapters; multiple-chapter stories), require that the entire story be posted at once. I don't mind the latter approach, but in these beginning stages, it's more helpful for me to receive feedback as I write. And another thing to like is that the format and layout are very clean and reader friendly.

    The other thing I'm considering is starting a LiveJournal account specifically for my Harry Potter writing. [What's that? Do I hear gasps of anticipation from my (admittedly very few) readers who are looking forward to the demise of Harry Potter on [Miss Sophia's other blog site]???] LiveJournal seems like a really good forum because you can sign up as part of dedicated communities (e.g., hp_fanfiction; there are other, more specialized groups, too, like groups for certain characters or character pairings), and then the community pages link to your own page, so that people with similar interests can easily find your stuff. Further, the stories you write are connected to your LiveJournal through one simple link. That is, if I were to post a chapter here, it would just be a blog entry, with no connection to subsequent chapters I post, and it would be this really long entry just sitting there on the [other blog] page. With LiveJournal, it seems that you can put header information about the story (e.g., characters involved, spoiler warnings, summary) as a blog entry and then type the title as a single-line link that, when clicked on, takes you to a separate page containing only the story, and you can add chapters to that story page as necessary, with new links on your main LiveJournal page. So this seems like a really efficient way to post, as well as to put the material out to others who would be interested and, in return, to have easy access to those others' material. (There's actually a LOT of really well-written HP fan fiction out there; I'm only starting to wade through a lot of it, although that's pretty much on hold until the end of the semetser as well.) But I also need to find out if it's a "fan fic sin" to post the same story on a LiveJournal and on a dedicated fan fiction site.

    I'm also curious as to whether people post on multiple fan fic sites (e.g., Schnoogle, FanFiction.net, MuggleNet's fan fiction page, and The Sugar Quill). I'm getting the sense that that doesn't happen--that one's story simply makes its way, via word of mouth, to interested parties across the different sites, fan fiction or not.

    Well, so, see, more good news than bad news! It definitely sucks that I need to stop for the moment, because I've definitely found my muse. But at least I managed to get out two chapters, and as long as
    I don't do something stupid like sitting down and starting the third one (once I start, I can't stop--it's REALLY compulsive), I think I can deal with the wait, especially if I have The Sugar Quill posting process to deal with to pass the time. An additional element is that The Sugar Quill allows the posting of only one chapter at a time, so if my first chapter makes it, then I have the whole process of the second chapter to go through. I should be occupied for some time with this. (I assume it'll be far less time consuming than actually writing chapters, though!!!) And if the first chapter doesn't make it, well, that just means edit time....OK, let's not hope for that one, because that could get time consuming, too, and really, I'm starting to fall apart. I will not screw over my grad school career just because I am obsessive and impatient.

    Anyway, I'll post updates as to this Sugar Quill thing, as well as about the Harry Potter movie (November 18!!!), but otherwise I'm going to try to lay off the subject for a while, so that I can actually write my papers and do all the other things I need to do. I won't necessarily be absent on here, but I'm going to try to keep the HP chatter to somewhat of a minimum. (Shut up, I heard that!)

  21. "Cool Dudes Love Harry"
    Friday, November 11, 2005, 7:14 pm

  22. OK, so I said the HP chatter would soften a bit, but I really have to post about what happened today. So I'm on the T, and because it's a bit crowded, I'm standing in the back rather than sitting. In the seats surrounding me is a group of seven teenage guys, probably around 14 to 16. A couple of stops into the trip, one of them brings up the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which is opening in a week (*contains squeal of joy, but just barely*). And before I know it, these guys are having this really passionate discussion about the whole series of books: which is the best book and why, how one of them almost cried when he read about the death that occured in the sixth book (I'm betting he did cry, but just didn't wanna admit it to his buddies ), what they love about the books, how some kid at summer camp whacked another kid in the neck with a canoe paddle when the latter spoiled the former about who died in the sixth book, etc.

    That's when it really hit me: This series truly has changed the way in which young people approach literature. I mean, these kids weren't what you might consider nerds or dorks. They weren't "jocks" either, but just normal teenage boys, at least as far as I could tell. And yet they were discussing literature on the freakin' T during a federal holiday for which they got a day off from school! Their conversation later turned to discussion of other books, including some things they were reading for their English classes, like Caesar and Great Expectations. I really can't imagine most teenagers, especially boys, doing that when I was in high school...and I was even part of a crowd that you might have considered to be kind of dorky, at least relative to the general high school population. (I went to a magnet school, so while I may have been amongst the cool, or at least semi-cool, kids there, I would have been considered somewhat of a nerd amongst "normal" high school students.) I was just really impressed by how this series really has got kids reading again. All the news stories are not just hype; this trend is real. I mean, these guys were totally fired up about Harry Potter--and not just the movies, either.

    It took a lot of concentration and focus to keep myself from joining in on their conversation: "Wait, guys, don't be so sure that Snape is evil. There are some really fascinating theories out there about why he just might be good after all." "No, Sirius's cousin is not Beatrix, but Bellatrix." I practically had to bite my tongue, remembering that if I piped up, the guys probably would stop talking about Harry Potter, because it's not cool to be eavesdropped on...and I really wanted to continue observing them. (I'm quite the Harriet the Spy in some respects.) Finally, a couple of stops before I was to get off the T, I couldn't help myself. One of the boys had made some kind of self-deprecating comment that went something like, "Look at us sitting here on the T discussing Harry Potter. What a bunch of dorks we are!" I couldn't resist any longer, and I commented, "Don't feel bad, guys. I'm 28 and totally obsessed with Harry Potter!" A couple of them kind of smiled and nodded, and they they went right back to their Harry Potter chatter again. So I probably looked like a total loser, but hey...I've never been one to hold back!

    It's so amazing how this series of books truly has turned young kids onto reading. I mean, one of the guys said that he read the sixth book in three days, and that motherfucker's 652 pages long! We're talking 16-year-old kids here--people who, at least stereotypically, can't do much of anything for more than three minutes at a time. Amazing.

    Oh, I have recently discovered the total joys of Oasis. Why am I always so late to catch on to wonderful art?

    Currently Listening
    Don't Go Away
    By Oasis