The Day Harry Potter Came Home

Every day, Chotto-ma eats breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a fourth meal which consists of devouring pages and pages of J.K. Rowling’s imagination. The Harry Potter books have been Daily Dietary Requirement for the past year-and-a-half when they first came home. She started book one on her sixth birthday, and I saw her world shift a little. She has been eating steadily through them since. She reads them, re-reads them and then goes back to the first book and starts all over again. Oh there are other authors in between. And there’s a book on Greek mythology weighing as much as she does, which she loves (she can tell you intricate details about every god, from Hera to Cronus, and their dark and twisted lives). But even gods don’t wield the same power as J.K. Rowling.

We tried to space out the Harry Potter books, googled them for age-appropriateness, but after finishing each book, Chotto-ma would sit in front of the bookshelf, quietly, looking up at the set with the mournful eyes of a cocker spaniel. “Wait till you’re eight” was obviously not going to work.

She has the final book left – we’ve managed to keep it for the school summer holidays, which means an excruciating wait of another fifteen days. This holiday incidentally includes a road trip through Scotland and ends with Edinburgh, where we’re going to do the Harry-Potter-walking-tour, and visit the cafe where J. K. Rowling wrote. The seven-year-old goes on her first pilgrimage.

While she waits this Excruciating Wait for the final book, she has decided to redesign the Harry Potter book covers since she doesn’t like the ones they come in. So the books have now been covered with white paper, and yesterday, she finished illustrating the first one – ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.’

For the Muggles amongst you, the cover shows The Forbidden Forest, with a dead unicorn lying on the forest floor dripping silver unicorn blood.

Here it is, from Chotto-ma, to share with you. It made me awfully proud.

Sing, ring, ping.

Spin, grin. Sip, gin. Nip. The words you can scramble out of the six alphabets of Spring seem to fit the season so perfectly.

I stare at this new blue sky and smile and take in a deep breath. Everything is birthing. Things are coming out of burrows, tearing out of buds. If I didn’t hate ostentatious little phrases, I might’ve said they were leaving winter’s womb. I’ve just said it though haven’t I? Strange how you have to say something in order to say that you won’t say it. Suddenly it exists simply because you thought it should not, and in thinking so, brought it into existence.

Sorry, the season does go to the head a little. The air smells raw, like new leaves.

I felt like drawing. This feeling always comes in spurts, and I go hunting for paper and paint. Drawing, like photography, helps my writing; even if it’s only by letting me procrastinate better. It fills the space in between writing and not-writing. It takes me out of my comfort zone – I’m much less confident telling a story with a paintbrush than I am with a pen. Every time I draw, I’m like a child learning to walk, and that is liberating in many ways; I don’t expect much from myself. There’s nothing more beautiful than creating something without any purpose, without expectations.

I don’t like the outlines on the finished leaves; I wish I’d left them blurred. But I can’t change it now – I committed to the black ink as soon as I put it on paper. But I will, yet again, live and learn. And be reminded of how freeing writing is in that sense. You can rewrite a sentence till it’s as sharp or as blurred as you want it to be.

We all tell stories in our own ways – we might paint them, write them, freeze them on photographs, tell them aloud in a room, sing them in the shower. If you had to choose one, which one would you choose?

Did I tell you I started working on my first novel? I’m two chapters in, into what looks like a five-year plan. Do give me a virtual kick on the backside now and then, remind me that it won’t get written if I don’t sit the hell down and write.

Love and springtime to you my friends,