Does Harry Potter Die In Book Seven?

As many people know, my wife and I are big fans of the Harry Potter series. We’ve both been re-reading (and re-listening to) the series in preparation for the upcoming book and movie. Right now, I’ve got Harry Potter on the brain, so when the Random Page bookmarklet brought me to a neat Newspaper Clippipng Generator this morning, the first thing that popped into my head to write was an article from the Daily Prophet:

Daily Prophet Newspaper Clipping

My wife is convinced that Harry Potter will die on his birthday, so I took that idea and ran with it. I don’t have any reference material with me right now, (the books are at home,) and I’m too lazy to go searching on teh intarwebs, so some of the names are probably misspelled and/or flat out wrong. I couldn’t remember the name of the “current” minister of magic, so I wrote around that with a lame joke about Fudge.

Let me just say I have no inside knowledge about book seven. I am not connected in any way to J.K. Rowling. I have no idea what is going to happen. I’m just some goofy fan of the books. The clipping you see above is really just me rambling. It’s barely edited, and incomplete. If I get ambitious, I might try re-writing it and making a complete article. I have a couple of other funny (to me) ideas that didn’t fit into the space allowed in the clipping.

Ok – so I suspect that I’m going to get more than a few hits to this post. Welcome one and all. Feel free to post a comment. (Let’s put that spam filter through its paces.) What do you think is going to happen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?

Keeping a Broken Promise: Part the Second

Living Powerfully – Part II:
The Landmark Forum

A year ago this August, I completed my own Landmark Forum. I went into it still feeling skeptical, but open to the idea that I might get something good out of it. Thanks to the conversation with my mom, I even had an idea for what I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to get some closure with my dad. I had been stuck for a long time feeling like I never got a chance to say goodbye to him. I had grieved, but I did not truly feel like I had any kind of closure related to his death, even after the man who killed my father had been tried and sentenced.

A Breakdown and a Breakthrough

One of the exercises that we were to complete as homework after the second day of the forum was to write a letter. It could be to anyone (living or dead), but it needed to be powerful and authentic. I figured this was my big chance to finally say some of the things to my father that I hadn’t had the chance to before he died. I got home from the forum around midnight, sat down at my computer and started typing. I had trouble finding the words (just as I had ever since he had been killed.) I figured I just needed some sleep, so I went to bed with the intention of finishing my letter the next morning before I left for the forum.

Have you ever been stuck on a problem, gone to bed thinking about it, and awoken the next morning with a new insight, able to see a solution with remarkable clarity? At some point during the night, my subconscious let the rest of my mind in on a little secret: I hadn’t really ever accepted my father’s death because I was still pissed off at the bastard who took his life, Jonathan Beiderbeck. (The exact circumstances of my father’s death can be found in my blog entries from July, 2003.)

When I woke up, I had a breakthrough: It wasn’t my father that I needed to write to for this assignment, it was my father’s killer. Armed with this new-found clarity, I sat down again at my computer, wiped out my failed attempts of the night before, and started again. Instead of the frustration of not even being able to get started, the words flowed from my fingers onto the screen. It was almost easy the way what I wanted to say poured onto the screen, but at the same time, this was one of the most difficult things I had ever tried to do.

This is the letter I wrote:

Dear Jonathan,

I came to the Landmark Forum to complete my relationship with my father. What I have come to realize is that in order to do that I need to come to terms with how what you did affected me.

I blame you for my father’s death, you are the person that murdered him, but I also blame you for taking him away from me. I blame you for not letting me have the chance to tell him all the things I never told him. The truth is that I had 26 years worth of chances to do that, and I never took them, at least not completely. I left many things unsaid, and that had nothing to do with you. Yes, you killed my father, but I am the one who took him away. I am the one who never gave me the chance to say what I needed to say to him. I thought that I had come to terms with what you did, but that was not enough because I have spent the last 2 and a half years hating you for taking my dad away from me. I have been unable to truly forgive you for that, because it is not you I need to forgive. It is myself.

The possibility I have invented for myself and my life is the possibility of being expressive and honest. Today, I am committed to stop blaming you for my own inability to communicate with my father.

I sobbed as I wrote it, and again as I shared it with my wife before I printed it up and left for the forum. I almost didn’t take it with me because I did not intend to share it with the group of 150 other forum participants. In the end, I’m glad I did, because I got the chance to share it with my mother and stepfather during our lunch break. (They were there to help people register for the 10 week seminar that is included as part of the tuition for the Forum.) As I read it to them, I cried again. As I finished, I looked up at my mom, and she had this odd mixture of love, sadness, and pride on her face.

“How did you know?” I asked, sobbing just a little. “How did you know that this is what I needed to come here for?”

She smiled at me and said, “I’m your mother.” I gave her a hug as she asked “Are you going to share this with the group?”

“I’m not sure. I’m not sure I want to. I’m not sure I can.” But I already knew I WAS going to share my letter, that I NEEDED to share it. Not just with the person sitting next to me, I was going to raise my hand when the forum leader asked if there was anyone who wanted to come up to the microphone to share their letter with the entire forum group.

When the time came, I did raise my hand, and the forum leader called on me along with a few others. When my turn at the microphone came, I was nervous – I babbled a little bit setting up the situation. I said something along the lines of: “The letter I’m reading is not the one I sat down to write at first, but it is what I ended up with.” I then briefly explained how my father died, and how this was a letter to the man that killed him.

I got choked up a bit, but got through my letter without sobbing again. After a bit of coaching from the leader, I added this to the end of my letter:

I am also committed to stop blaming myself for the way things turned out with my father. Our relationship was what it was, and it was not what it was not. In many ways, it was not perfect, but no relationship ever is. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Apparently, my letter spoke to a lot of the people in the room. They were floored that I could stand up and share something like that without totally losing it. (They hadn’t seen me when I’d read it to my wife, or to my mom and step-dad.) Throughout the rest of the weekend, I had people coming up to tell me that they were truly and deeply moved by my letter. A few of them even asked if it would be all right to share my story (or bits of it) with others outside of the Forum. (We had all made an agreement not to talk about the stories people shared outside of the Forum without their permission. It is part of what makes the Forum a safe place to work through some powerful (and in some cases, powerfully disturbing) issues.) I told anyone that asked, that they had my permission to talk about the letter I had written, because I was planning to post it online as part of a series of blog posts.

(Incedently, this is that series of posts. I had originally intended to post these last August, but as I’ve already mentioned, I got stuck as I was writing Part III. You’ll understand why after I post it.)

Keeping a Broken Promise: Part the First

(I started writing this in August of 2005. I even wrote a couple of blog entries that make mention of this little project. I got stuck writing Part III and put it aside for a long time, (too long.) The anniversary of my father’s death got me thinking about it again, and I want to finish it. So here is Part I of a three part series. Parts II and III will be posted at a later date.)

Living Powerfully – Part I:
An Introduction

Two years ago, my mom participated in a 3 and a half day seminar, called “The Landmark Forum.” On the last night of the forum, she invited me to an Introduction. An Introduction is like a 2 hour mini seminar that is designed to give people an idea of what participating in the forum would be like.

It seemed interesting, but I got bit of a “pushy salesman” vibe off of my Introduction leader. That, among other things left me resistant to the whole idea. My mom seemed a little gung-ho about it, but couldn’t explain what it was all about. I do not mean that she was forbidden to speak of it or anything, just that the experience was powerful, and so different from day-to-day life that to try to explain how it worked just doesn’t work.

I could see a difference in her. After my stepfather did this seminar, I saw a difference in him, and in their relationship.

My mom did some more work with Landmark, and invited me to a second introduction. Justin had just been born, and I was spent most of the time pacing the back of the room with him to keep him settled. (He was, and is still, a little trooper.) Again, my mom invited me to sign up, but I was still resistant, besides we had just had a baby – I didn’t feel like I had the extra time or money at that point.

Another course completed for my mom, and another introduction invitation. I went, stayed for the beginning, but had to leave early, so I didn’t stay for another introduction. Besides, I had seen it twice already. It was interesting, but I just didn’t see what I could get out of it, and I still had misgivings about the whole process. (Why was my mom so insistent about the Forum?)

So I asked her. Point blank: What is it that you think I’ll get out of doing the Landmark Forum? She told me that she thought there might be something around my father’s death that was still unresolved for me. I mulled that over for a while – it hadn’t really occurred to me before, but the more I looked at things, the more I saw that she might be right. I gave it some more thought, and then registered to take the Landmark Forum myself.

The habit of writing

I have really gotten out of the habit of writing here. To tell you the truth, I’ve barely even visited the site in the last few months. If you look hard enough, you might spot a couple of comments here and there, but my participation has been scant, at best.

I’m working on a short series of entries that I plan to begin posting within the next week. I’m doing something a little different in writing them off-line because I want to take the time to make sure that I am communicating what it is I want to express clearly. A large part of what I have to say is going to be very difficult for me to write, let alone share.

My writing style has never been very structured, which is fine for a majority of what post here, but the entries I’m working on right now are too important for me to not take the time to craft them more carefully than I normally do.

There will be at least three installments. A majority of what I currently have planned as the second installment is already written. That piece was the catalyst for the project I’m outlining here. It needs to be cleaned up a bit, and I need to provide some context for it to really make sense. I started working on what will be the first installment tonight, which is really little more than an introduction. (I just laughed when I typed “introduction” – you’ll understand why after I’ve posted the first installment.) The third installment exists only as a nebulous cloud of ideas floating around in my head, and It’s going to be the hardest part to write. I know that because I’ve tried writing it before, and have yet to be able to do so with any semblance of coherence or clarity.

I suppose you can consider this “installment 0”, or a foreword, or something. It is little more than a rough outline of what I plan to do. It is also a way for me to commit to finishing what I’ve started. By telling the world, (or rather – the small part of it that will read any of this – ) a little bit about what I have planned, I am much more likely to complete it. I made a promise to myself that I would finish this project, and I made a promise to someone else that I would share it. This post is the first step to keeping both of those promises.