Friday, July 20, 2007

"See You on the Flipside!"

Those were the words my friend Erin wrote to me last night, as we drew our pre-Deathly Hallows conversation to a close. She and I have been blogging and emailing our way through a re-read of the first six Harry Potter books since February, and it's been a marvelous conversation. I found myself feeling a bit jolted as I read her excited, oh-so-appropriate words. "See you on the flipside" captured all the jaunty, child-like pre-birthday-present opening excitement I'm feeling today, and also all the trepidation of knowing that in a couple more days, we will know the end of the story. I trust that the end of the story will be wonderful, but also deeply bittersweet.

Janet Batchler has summed up what I'm feeling better than anyone at the moment, in her final pre-release post over at Quoth the Maven. Read all of it, if these books and the wonderful discussions they have nourished over the past couple of years have meant something to you. I especially resonated with these words:

"But I know the power of the Harry Potter books, the way they touched me so deeply, will remain. And I will always be grateful that I lived at the right time to experience what no one after us will ever experience again -- the chance to dive into the Wizarding World, to be part of Harry's story, without knowing the ending. The anticipation has been truly a wonderful thing, and I am so glad to have been able to enjoy it."

Janet's blog (long a favorite) was my last pre-release stop. I've given myself extra time to read and think about the books this week, because I knew it would be the last time we could do that "without knowing the ending" as Janet says. (Is this a bit how people felt before Tolkien's final installment of Lord of the Rings, I wonder? Perhaps now we can imagine what it was like to live in that fictional interlude when folks thought Frodo was dead.)

But now my ruminating is done. I've made my last comments on the various sites I most love to visit (thank you Janet, John, Travis, and so many others); exchanged my final emails with friends Erin and Kari (thanks to both of you for such wonderful conversations) and now I'm just going to wait.

My wait will be slightly longer than some...I'm not going to a midnight release party. I made that decision for various reasons, and I think it's the right choice for me (especially as the mom of a little one who will need my attention on the morrow, as always). If I stayed up reading...and I would stay up, no matter how tired I got! then I would likely be a mess for the rest of the weekend. So tonight I rest up, and in the morning we'll have our Saturday family breakfast as always (and possibly even our weekly library trip) before I head to the mall to pick up my pre-ordered copy. And then my dear husband, bless him, has promised me as much of the afternoon as possible so I can go somewhere and hide and read. By this time tomorrow, I should be (I hope) at least several chapters into the story...

Sigh. I really miss my butterfly bush and my maple tree. They were the two places I most loved to hide in and read when I was a child. This book feels like it deserves a special quiet reading place and I hope lots of children (and adults!) find such a place tomorrow. I'm sure I will find a good place to curl up too. For now, I'm off to do completely non-Potter things for the next half-day or so. The arts camp our church has been sponsoring for neighborhood kids has their mural unveiling tonight, followed by a missions night back at our church. Real life goes on, and I'm going to enjoy it to the fullest.

And then I'm going to enjoy the book (also a very real and wonderful part of my real life) to the fullest tomorrow.

"See you on the flipside!"


Erin said...

Hehe, glad my closer resonated so much with you! You know, it's interesting what you say about having a special place to read. It occurred to me too late yesterday that I'd intended to read the book under the willow tree in our backyard; I started out on the couch and just never made it outside. I did end up there for an hour or so in the late afternoon, but I could have been out there all day... Ah well. I'm sure I enjoyed it just as much from inside...

Beth said...

Yep, I ended up reading anywhere and everywhere I could, in snatches when I had to. I'm now re-reading at a much more leisurely pace and picking up so much more the second time. Hope to find a quiet patch of time this afternoon to head over to our blog and do some reading, responding and writing!