If you are joining us on this journey for the first time, I would please request that you scroll all the way to the end of this blog and read from the bottom up. If a narrative must come full-circle, this is in your best interest. I promise.
Recently, I thought about how a scrawny, bespectacled wizard influenced my life for the first time. Not just as a book series, but as a cozy cloak of invisibility that I have worn for most of my life. You can’t see it, but this series took my hand and told me where to go. It gave me formative experiences and friendships that only a communal love can provide.
It’s a bit like Newton’s Cradle. One sphere is pulled back and released, unseen energy and momentum charging through the remaining spheres. When this energy reaches the final sphere, it absorbs the initial impact and swings outward correspondingly. The entire phenomenon is almost instantaneous. When I was seven years old, my teacher decided to read us Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 16 years later — time that has passed in seconds — I am where I am today because of it.
In our virtual group, we are a strange, blended family that anthropologists could spend years studying (in fact, when our group was still public, we were once the unwitting subject of one man’s study on social dynamics.) Together, we've gone through new jobs and lost jobs, marriages and break-ups, births and deaths. We have expanded into a network of other common-interest groups. We have a YouTube channel, where we answer questions, compare accents, and show our friends where we live. We send each other holiday presents every year. We keep numerous postal services in business with the amount of letters and drawings we send back and forth (although between the two of us, I am pretty terrible at responding).
In Ottawa, it’s not just Sarah, Helene, and I anymore. Other group members have slowly trickled into the fold. Ping moved from Montreal to continue his education and liked us so much he decided to stay. Prabhjot came here from Edmonton to fulfill a residency in family medicine at the Ottawa Hospital.
I decided I wanted to write — scripts, novels, articles, anything — because of the people Harry Potter introduced me to. I won my first writing contest after my experience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. And there’s something else, too.
This summer, I sat on a hot rooftop patio of a coffee shop with Helene. I requested to meet her there so I could ask her a few questions.
Helene graduated from this program, Professional Writing, six years ago.
She answered my questions. She told me to give it a go. So I did.
Raisa Patel is a writer, crafter and full-time geek. She enjoys baking cupcakes, advocating for social justice, and listing things in threes. Raisa is currently waiting for her Hogwarts letter, which she expects to receive any day now.