July 14, 2011

Story of My Life #7: Dear Mr. Potter

Dear Mr Potter
So, a couple of weeks ago Dear Mr. Potter: Letters of Love, Loss and Magic was released. It's a book that compiles letters from fans telling how Harry Potter influenced them and their lives. I've previewed some of the letters and I was quite touched by them, and I decided to write a letter myself, so here we are.

Fair warning, though, I might get a bit personal.


Dear Mr. Potter,

You came into my life at a time of upheaval.

One of my favorite uncles had died months before, I was struggling as a college freshman, trying to face the fact that I had chosen the wrong university and the wrong major. But you helped me get through that first semester of hell.

And then, in the middle of it all - and before I started book 3- my grandmother died.

Grandma Sophie was sort of the center of my family... and without her, I had the hardest time dealing with just everything in general. She wasn't a walk in the park, but she was my Gran and losing her that year, six weeks before I turned 18 shattered me.

Life went on.

Few weeks after the funeral, my Mom and Aunt took my sister Boo, my cousin Betty and me to go see Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone on opening night. It was the first fun thing we did as a family after Gran Sophie died. That December Mom - who doesn't really approve of my reading so much - bought me Goblet of Fire and I was reading it when my Dad got a call, on Christmas day, that resulted on the four of us going to Spain next spring.

The Prisioner of Azkaban was with me as I stood as far away from home as I have ever been, and it comforted me in knowing it was there, all tattered and with food stains all over because I wouldn't put it down to eat. 

Then Order of the Phoenix came out and I nearly got flunked out of school - after Spain, I switched schools and majors - because I wouldn't stop reading it after I got it, not even in class and I had midterms around the corner. For Half Blood Prince, I had to pace myself, because it was finals week, I was older and trying to get over a mid-college crisis.

When Deathly Hallows came out... boy wasn't that crazy! I remember I was on holiday with my family when I sneaked off to check my email and saw the announcement of the title. And on the release date, I made my dad drive me to one of the bookstores selling it at midnight. He was sure there wouldn't be anyone around and couldn't believe there were over 400 people at that store alone, with another good 300 in the store next door which was selling the UK edition instead of the US one. My sister actually told me "I never thought there were that many crazy people like you."

There were. But I still got all the collectible bookmarks (the ones with the seven questions that would be answered) and even a special, super cool bookmark the store was giving away with each purchase. It's a night I still remember and it makes me smile.

When I think about it, the girl that went to buy that book at midnight was quite different to the girl that read the first book, in between I had lost my Gran, gone to Spain, dropped out of college, got into a different college, realized I had chosen the wrong major again, but also that I had to see it through or I would keep hopping from one thing to the other, career wise, forever. I had made friends a world over, in great part because of HP and fanfiction (I was relatively well known in the Spanish Lily/James fics circle of writers, back when it was still quite small).

In many ways, it was because of you, Mr Potter, that I began to find my own voice as a writer.

Now, I'm getting ready to watch movie 7 part 2. I still find comfort in your adventures, Mr. Potter; and I thank you for it, and for all the friends I've made through you.

All the best,

Me at the store
Not my best pic, but that's me the night I bought HP7!

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