Monday, July 23, 2007

The Magic of Harry -- Jay

I arrived at Barnes & Noble at 8pm last Friday and didn’t leave till 2am on Saturday. The previous two nights, I’d slept a grand total of eight hours. But surrounded by Harry Potter look-alikes, I never yawned once.

When HP5 came out, I was an employee at that bookstore and worked one of the many well-fed cash registers. Honestly, it was one of the most magical nights of my life. One boy, around fourteen-years-old, started crying when I slid his copy of the book across the counter. When HP6 came out, I was no longer an employee (I’d started working at the public library), but I ran their trivia contest just so I could be a part of the magic again.

This year, I absolutely could not miss it. Unfortunately, I agreed to help outside of the store, giving people their numbered bracelets and passing out flyers. Unfortunately? Yes. Because this year was absolutely insane. This year, the store filled to capacity at around 11pm and I was asked to close the doors and not let anyone else in. People thought they wouldn’t get a book if they weren’t inside at midnight, which we told them was untrue, but all sorts of excuses were tossed at me. “My five-year-old son is in there. Are you saying you’re going to keep him in there all by himself?” To which I wanted to say, “You left a five-year-old alone in that madhouse, while you came out here to have a cigarette? Stay here while I call Social Services.” Thankfully, I have a blog, so I knew that if I held my sarcasm, I'd be able to get it out of my system in a couple days.

Other than a few brief encounters with Fuggles (a term Ms. Rowling can use if she ever writes Harry Potter 8: The College Years), the night was still full of magic. Including this encounter…

A girl I'd met several months back while speaking to students at my old high school recognized me. Her older brother and I attended school together and, after she saw me speak, she told him what I’d been up to. She also told him about something I'd said in that class. The teacher asked what I would do differently if I could repeat high school. I said that I often regret not participating in sports. Her brother told her that it wasn’t good for me to hold onto that regret. Maybe I never would’ve become an author had things been different for me in high school.

And she approached me on Harry Potter Night just to pass on that nugget of wisdom she learned from her brother.


- Jay


Candace Salima . . . the LDS Nora Roberts said...

This year I was too tired to join in the magic of a new Harry Potter release. But in previous years I have been there with my sister, nephews and nieces in town, enjoying everything these wonderful libraries and stores do to promote these books.
It was great to read your blog and share in that magic again.

On the upside, early Saturday morning I went to WalMart and picked up a couple of the remaining 150 of the original 5,000. 9:00 p.m. that evening I crawled into bed, opened the book and turned the last page at 3:46 a.m. It was wonderful!

Anonymous said...

That's great--did you see edit anon's blog today?? She posts about 'the hook' and uses your novel for an example. Cool stuff. =9


Rilla said...

Aww...Jay...somehow never picked you as being the bouncer-aspiring-jock type who keeps mothers away from their five year old kids and five year old kids away from their favorite PG-13 YA book ... sigh...

Emily Jiang said...

This was the first time I joined the masses waiting for a Harry Potter midnight release. Amazing and overwhelming!

Disco Mermaids said...

I can't wait to start reading my copy. But I'm gonna wait till I have time to read all 7 straight through (I've only read the first 3, so far). And I am really looking forward to doing that.

Thanks for the tip, Heidi. That was very nice of E.A. to get so detailed about my hookiness!

It's funny, I never saw myself as the bouncer-type, either. But there's something about wearing a cape and wielding a wand that demands respect on HP Night.

- Jay

LindaBudz said...

Oh yay! So I'm not the only one who didn't get past book three! I've been feeling so left out of the mania, but you may just have inspired me to bite the bullet and read through all seven as well.

Thanks, Jay!

Anonymous said...

'welcome, jay! she said great things!
re: harry. i only read 1/2 of book one, but then (since i felt so left out by the hype), i watched the first 4 movies then read the last 100 pages of book 7!! how horrible am i??

Rilla said...

Hey wand-wielding, cape-carrying, Jay...since you're so good at costumes...and answering questions...can I ask another?
It's about the SCBWI Silver Contest. Last year, for the jade jubilee, I hung out on the fringes of the lawn nursing my free drink and hiding my face. This time, I thought I'd try out a costume...if I, here's the question...if you want your costume to be judged, what do you need to do? Get up on stage? Clear the dance floor? Parade in front of a judging panel?
As usual...that's right...clueless in So Cal ;)
And just to prove it, the word verification for this comment reads something like dumfoxx