Pensieve

You know when you have so many thoughts bottled up in your head that you feel overwhelmed and scattered? You have a hard time concentrating and sleeping? Trying to focus on one thing at a time becomes a challenge and eventually you feel edgy and cranky?

Me too.

So the first time I read about a Pensieve in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire I wished that it was real.

Definition:

A Pensieve is a wide and shallow dish made of metal or stone, often elaborately decorated or inlaid with precious stones, and carrying powerful and complex enchantments. Pensieves are rare, because only the most advanced wizards ever use them, and because the majority of wizardkind is afraid of doing so.

https://www.wizardingworld.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/pensieve

At times, when one’s head is so full of thoughts that one cannot hear oneself think, it is useful to be able to take some of those thoughts and literally set them aside. The practiced Wizard can extract a thought from his head and store it in a phial or in the Pensieve for another time. If it is in the Pensieve, it is possible to stir the thoughts stored there together and look for patterns. It appears that the wizard has the choice of extracting an entire memory, leaving no trace of it in his head, as Professor Snape does in Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix or extracting a copy of a memory, retaining the original, as Professor Slughorn does in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It is also apparently possible to edit these extracted memories, though it is a difficult task and one which is often not done well. https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Muggles%27_Guide_to_Harry_Potter/Magic/Pensieve

How wonderful would it be to have a device in which to place thoughts and memories? Those many early mornings when you wake from a deep sleep and stay awake because of all the thoughts fighting for your attention at 3:00AM? How wonderful would it be to take those and place them safely in a Pensieve to look at or take care of later?

After giving this some thought (at 4:00AM) I realized that we have a few ways to deal with those things here in the real world. Nothing as cool as a Pensieve though.

Lists: When I need to remember something I make a list. I am a list person! I have shopping lists and to-do lists. I have main lists and sub-lists. It has become a running joke about me but I’m okay with that. Lists help me relax because as long as I have put something on a list I don’t have to worry about remembering it. I get it out of my head. I can look at that list at anytime, secure in knowing that I haven’t lost that thought.

The Reminder app on my phone is the digital version of lists and I use it constantly. I love that I can write what I want to remember and then select a date and time to get it done by. Wonderful! Any time I hear myself saying that I have to remember to do something, it goes in that app.

Writing/Journals: Writing in my journal works too. I always have too much to say and think about. Writing it all out is a great relief. And I’m sure my family and friends appreciate not having to listen to me endlessly.

Trusted Friends/Family: My favorite way of dealing with too many things on my mind is to spend time with a trusted friend or family member sharing our many ideas. Spending sometimes hours with both of us, or all of us, talking. Each person listens carefully to the others and each gets to talk. As long as it doesn’t turn into a toxic and negative discussion that feeds on itself. That isn’t healthy for anyone. But positive discussions and helpful ideas are wonderful.

After using any of these methods of getting too much clutter out of my brain leaves me feeling calm and focused again.

A friend who knows my love of the Harry Potter universe and who knows me well enough to know that I wish a Pensieve was

real, gave me one.

It’s fun to figure out ways to make the real world a little more magical.   

Pensieve Case

Open case

A Gift From Harry Potter

The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling have been a part of my life from the beginning. I started reading them with my daughter when she was about the same age as Harry.

I remember reading that first book and being pulled in from the first page. The writing was fantastic and the world of Harry Potter was magical.

I started working at a book store and got to be a part of the Midnight Release Parties for the last three books. I became Professor Trivia and was in charge of the trivia games. I also started book discussion groups while there where we would meet and talk about all of the books in anticipation of the next one coming out.

These books are loved by people of all ages. There were kids from about the age of five all the way up to grandparents in these groups. The excitement about the new books, the bonds that people had made with the characters, the amazing memorizing of details and the fun of guessing or hoping what would happen next was so much fun. By the last book, everyone was curious to see how it would all end but felt sadness in it being over. I think everyone knew that we were a part of a historical event and nobody was taking it for granted.

Now I work in a tiny library and the love of the Harry Potter books and movies is going strong. Last year I decided to split the series in two and hold two discussion/trivia groups. I had a great turnout and the excitement is still there. It is wonderful to see that people are still discovering these books. I’m a little jealous of them getting to experience it all for the first time.

Did I mention the creative snacks we enjoy?

Did I mention the creative snacks we enjoy?

What I learned is that people still want to talk about the books in detail and those two groups weren’t nearly enough time. So after a few requests, I am now doing one book a month.

We just met to discuss Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second in the series. Most of the same people were there but there were some new faces too.

What was surprising was how creative these kids are! Not only did they know their stuff about Harry and the gang, they brought their own surprises. One young man showed us his magic card trick which I thought was amazing! Another played the theme music on his tablet. A girl introduced me to Potter Puppet Pals by playing one of these videos on her smart phone for the group. I realized that not only were the kids having fun but I was too!

My favorite thing that happened was that two of the kids admitted that they aren’t big readers but are having so much fun and enjoying these books so much that they are going to continue reading them and attending these groups. I don’t think I can fully express how excited I was to hear this!

These groups started out to be fun but have turned into so much more. Seeing young people getting excited about reading is just the best. It makes me feel like I am doing the right thing and that is a feeling we all could use more of. If you follow this blog you know that reading and writing are my passions in life. It is so fulfilling to be able to share with others and see them get it too.

So how about you? Do you have a passion for something and share it with others?

Harry Potter, Again?

 

Harry Potter Books

Harry Potter Books

 

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling holds a special place in my heart.

I first met Harry when my daughter introduced me to the first book when it came out. She and I read the book together and fell in love with the new wizarding world of modern day Harry Potter. She was enchanted because she was the same age as the character of Harry Potter and grew up with him. I was enchanted with the detailed original world and characters I was reading about.

Later, when I worked at a bookstore, I got to experience being a part of the midnight release parties. I was in charge of the trivia contests we had. Being a part of the excitement was amazing. I would buy two copies of each new book so that my daughter and I could stay up all night reading them together. We couldn’t wait to see what happened next!

By the time the last book was being released, I held discussion groups in the months leading up to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The anticipation of how the series would end filled every fan with mixed feelings. We couldn’t wait to see how it ended but we dreaded that it would all be over. During these groups, we poured over every detail, tried to outdo each other in the trivia games and guess what would happen in the last book. I was amazed at the range of ages at these groups. Yes, it was mostly kids that but these books were enjoyed by people of all ages. Looking around and watching parents and grandparents discussing these books with their children, teens and grandchildren was awesome. How often does this kind of thing happen these days?

Why am I bringing this up now? Because recently I have enjoyed rediscovering the fun, wonder and good writing of these books. I work in a library now and am hosting two discussion groups about the Harry Potter books as part of the Summer Reading program. Last week was the first of the two groups and we discussed books 1-4.

Once again, I was sitting with a group of people ranging in age from a six-year-old to a couple of grandparents! The magic is still happening! It was wonderful hearing what parts of the story were their favorites, what parts made them laugh and what parts made them cry. Once again I am amazed at how much fun everyone has in trying to answer trivia questions or talking about what they would do if they had an Invisibility Cloak or the Marauder’s Map. How much they dislike Dolores Umbridge or how much they love Hagrid, Dobby and Luna Lovegood.

I was afraid it would be old and I would have to force myself to get through it all. I’ve had that happen with other books when I’ve reread them after time has passed. What a wonderful, and yes, magical surprise to find out that these books are just as good, ten years or so later!

From time to time I have reviewed books and written about authors in this blog and since I am fully immersed in the world of Hogwarts and all things Harry Potter once again, I felt it was time to share the fun with you.

I know it’s easy to let all the media hype steer you away from the massive icon Harry Potter has become but maybe you should give the books a try? If you do, I would love to hear what you think.

In the meantime, I am brushing up on my trivia knowledge from books 5-7!