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Saturday, January 29, 2005

It's quiet out there...(Harry Potter version)

I haven't been able to blog myself much today (which is a phrase that, when I read it over again, sounds slightly obscene). Apparently everyone is suffering from the Saturday malady of catching up on sleep, going out with the family, and/or attending the latest world premiere of some film (all right, Zimpter is a special case).

The silence of this blog today is somewhat creepy. I say "silence" metaphorically because, apart from the odd sound file, blogs are written rather than aural. So, I'm really not referring to any specific sounds, other than the sound my keyboard is making as I type this, which you obviously cannot hear, unlees you are a dog living nearby or Prince Charles (but I hear they've had special earphones made for him that block out the enormous amount of sounds his bat-like ears pick-up...the people at Bose do some pretty amazing things!)

The absence of any posters for the last 24 hours besides myself makes me wonder if there is anyone out there at all. I mean, certainly there are no readers out there yet, with the exceptions of the two or three of you who typed in a search for "Unfortunate Events" hoping to find out news of Lemony Snicket's next tome, got this link and thought to yourselves, "What the hell...why not take a chance and live a little?"

While I'm name dropping here, allow me to type the words "Harry Potter" in the hopes that the good little bots at Google will train their electronic feelers over this post the way Michael Douglas surely greets Catherine Zeta-Jones everytime she returns home from a long shoot, a world promotional tour, or walking the pet corgi out into the back yard. I've long suspected that including any mention of J.K. Rowling's young hero instantly ups the readership of a web site by a number along the size of the population of India.

This is a population that cannot be ignored. When she's finished the series she will find them sitting on her front lawn, having disabled the security fences and trained dobermans, staring in a slightly deranged way at her door. It will be something akin to the final scene of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds". She will emerge from the door, quite disheveled after a short phone conversation with David Heyman about how, after long and careful consideration, the studios have decided to cut the film of her fifth book, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (Google - do your thing!) down to a brisk ninety minutes, hoping that the pacing of the film will improve...that is, that it will improve the number of people they can jam into the theatres per day. Honestly, if they could simply walk people through, in and right out again like a Disneyland attraction, they would, so long as they're paying again back at the front of the queue.

Anyway, out the front door she comes, disheveled, etc. and there they are, thousands of HP fans, sitting in her expansive yard, staring at her like hungry budgies. She'll mentally note the distance between the front door and her Mazerati, decide that running would only set the whole 10,000 of them on her and choose that staple of Hollywood horror films, the slow walk. Gingerly, she'll move through them, step by step. You know how it will end, of course; not with her and her bespectacled husband and brood driving away to San Francisco before the end credits. She will have just about reached the car door when it will happen. From somewhere in the midst of this flock will come a sound, like a low peep: "Thinking of another Potter book, Jo?"

She'll freeze at that instant, her hand on the car door. She'll make the merest of eye contact with her husband, telling him with her glance, "Take the children and go! It's me they want! Save yourselves!" Another sound: "Any chance of doing a book about Harry in college?" The panic rising from her stomach like a plate of out-of-date sausages, she'll begin to fumble for the car keys. "What about a Weasley spin-off?" "Neville deserves a book of his own!" Peck by peck they come as she finds the keys. Her mind is racing now, as she sorts through them with her fingers. "Which one is it? Bath house, Ferrari, Winery door, Apartment in Marseille, Downstairs vault, Secret enterance to Buckingham Palace, International Space Station, come on, where are you?"

Now the questions have began to string together, growing in intensity. "Could you do a book about Harry life if he had been American?" "How about a comedy novel with Peeves and Filch, like 'The Odd Couple'?" "Have you ever thought of doing an 'adult' version of the books?"

Finally the correct key in her hand, she manages to slide it into the lock. She pulls at the door handle with every bit of speed her writer's cramped hands can manage...but it is too late. They are on her like sumo wrestlers on a bean curd buffet. Later, all they find are the car keys and the dedication page from the final book, "Harry Potter and the Electric Broomstick".

I think I started on this with something about being alone. While my sense of solitude cannot begin to compare with that of a fabulously popular author like Ms. Rowling, I think I should start again...I've lost the thread somehow.

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