Over the last few weeks, they’ve been playing back all the Harry Potter films on TV.
This isn’t such a big deal. After all, those movies seem to be on a constant repeat schedule. Pick a week, any week, throughout the year and there’s a good chance you’ll find a Harry Potter movie somewhere.
As a writer who dabbles in the field of children’s literature, it’s kind of hard to ignore the whole Harry Potter phenomenon. Yes, of course I’ve read all the books (and seen all the movies – I finally watched the last one a couple of months ago). I call it research, although I do have to say I did find myself more than a little immersed in that wizarding world, and I must give J.K. Rowling the credit for an extraordinary achievement. She’s pretty much set the template for everything people like me aspire to (though to be honest I could live without all the sundry merchandising).
One of the elements of the HP stories I thought was pretty cool was the idea of the Horcrux – the artefact that contains a portion of somebody’s soul. It got me thinking that maybe we writers are also in the business of horcrux creation.
Of course, the emphasis I’m thinking of is very different from the emphasis in the HP stories. In Rowling’s universe, a horcrux is a thing of evil – a way to achieve immortality, but only at the price of taking someone else’s life. A horcrux can only be created by murdering another person. It’s a symbol of the cruelty of Harry’s main nemesis. the despicable Voldemort (as well as being a pretty neat plot device).
Luckily, in my case, creating a horcrux requires no such drastic action, and nobody needs to die as a result. When I want to create my own horcrux, all I need to do is write a book. Because, with every book that I write, there’s a little piece of my soul that gets inserted into it.
And that’s not the only advantage of my form of a horcrux. In the HP stories, Voldemort gets more and more broken and diminished with every horcrux he creates – there’s less and less of his soul left. But that’s the opposite of my case. The more I write, and the more I insert my soul into my writing, the more soul I have left over. It’s a resource that is never diminished. In fact, I reckon writing only makes my soul larger than before.
So when you pick up one of my books, you’re not just picking up an object. You’re picking up my own sort of horcrux, with a little bit of my soul inside – but in a totally not yucky way. And just like in the HP stories, it’s a way that I can create a little bit of immortality for myself.
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