Sunday Scribbling: Phenomenon
Do you remember what it was like to watch your older siblings or parents getting ready to go out on a Saturday night, when you were too young to go? It was a ritual that began in the late afternoon. My mother and older sisters would carefully pin up their hair in enormous wire curlers (that we called “rollers”) to try and tame their curly hair into something approximating Farrah Fawcett's famed “shag.” Then there were the costume changes—long skirt or shorter? High heeled boots or wedges? And then, the hours spent in the bath and doing their makeup. When they finished and finally released their hair from its confinement, they looked like dazzling late 70s pinups.
The men in my family were not far behind. My father had a shiny black suit for such occasions, a suit I can only describe as pimp-like. He liked to pair it with a poly-silk blend shirt with a rather wide collar. His handkerchiefs (monogrammed, naturally) always smelled deeply of his favorite cologne. My brother was more adventurous in his attire. That white John Travolta suit of “Saturday Night Fever” fame? He owned a replica. Along with the stacked heeled shoes to go with it. He would strut around the apartment in a low slung towel, carefully laying out his clothes down to the socks. His ebony straight hair, the envy of every female in my family, flopped fashionably in his eyes.
These nights were the epitome of vicarious pleasure for me. While I stayed home with a tia watching the Love Boat, the rest of my family was off to live the glamorous Three's Company party life. Hey, I was young, and not very sophisticated. To me, being an adult meant being able to go out dancing like Chrissy, Janet, Jack, and Larry.
This is all to explain a bit of how I felt the last couple of weeks, during the height of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Like the world had decided to throw itself a party, and all I could do was watch it get dressed and boogie out of the door.
Oh, I have read (most) of the books—ravenously gobbled up books one, two, three, and four, but started to lose a little taste for it sometime around book five. I never got around to book six, and well, here we are.
But this post isn't really about that.
No, I was fascinated by the growing sense of celebration and excitement experienced by the fans. For years, they had plowed so much of their attention, love, and creativity into this fictional realm. They went online to plot out elaborate theories, to debate their various romantic preferences, to connect to others who felt as they did. They wrote reams of fan fiction; posted gorgeous music videos cobbled together from movie scenes.
And so, this was their moment. They sowed passion, and reaped a joyful riot in return.
It all made me think about what I was digging deeply in my own life. I'm the kind of person who is happiest when she's passionately, obsessively consumed with something—whether it be a relationship, a work of art or pop cultural entertainment, or anything. I love being invested at that level—the satisfaction of "your" team wins the World Series, or World Cup. The way some people feel when their fictional romantic couple finally declares their undying love, and shares a kiss. Finally get to see the Police reunite, or hear Aida at the Met.
If I am honest, I am not giving myself away in that way right now. Sure, I am engaged in the day to day mothering of my Madam, and while that is deeply satisfying, even joyful work, it's not quite...the same for me, for reasons I can't exactly articulate. I am getting close with my novel (finally started to daydream about the characters, a sure sign that they are becoming real for me), but...that's solitary work. And my poor little blog is also suffering from my inattention...my posts are more scattered, less frequent. I feel disconnected from this place, and from the larger blogsphere that once fed me.
I am sowing inattention, and reaping apathy.
So, while hordes of Hogwarthian revelers thrilled at the culmination of their particular passionate phenomenon on July 21 at 12:01am, I made a quiet vow to myself. I would remember this “Saturday night Love Boat outsider” feeling, and use it to as a reminder of feed my passions, and spend myself in them, no matter how foolish they may look to outsiders.
I'm already planting the seeds.
For more phenomenal posts, go here.