Author has written 7 stories for Harry Potter.
“Hello, my name is Mrs J, and I’m an addict.”
“Hi Mrs J,” choruses the imaginary AA meeting I wish were true – as I’m sure my life-threatening addiction to Fanfiction would benefit from such an event.
“It all started,” I say, looking around at the circle of people hunched on folding chairs, with paper cups of burnt smelling coffee in their hands. why I can’t imagine decently made coffee is a mystery. “With one series of gate-way books – as it always does. Those seven wonderful stories that took over my life. Ten years I used, but it was not so bad, I could function, my friends teased me for what they saw as antisocial behaviour, but they didn’t understand.”
I take a breath, willing myself to admit the truth to these folding chaired, small back room of the community centre strangers.
“The next fix was never far away … although there was a dark period between 2000 and 2003 when I thought it would never come.”
A woman catches my eye; she’s nodding in agreement, her eyes hollow like she too can remember the horrible moment the release date of book five was pushed back. It gives me strength to know I’m not alone, and I continue.
“I still had theorising and the wonder of what was to come, the debates on how it would all end and where true aligences lay. They satiated the addiction monster in the years between supply – before the great dealer, J.K. herself, would deliver me her next itch-relieving fix.” There are smiles on the faces of my fellow addicts now, as they are reminded of those happier times.
"Then horror. July 21, 2007 hit and the supply dried up … finished … gone forever.” Gasps and shocked murmurs fill the room as I have the audacity to mention that bittersweet day.
“The questions were answered, there was no more guessing. A wonderful and terrible feeling all at once. There were still the films of course, but they didn’t satisfy. They were the pitiful herbal highs of a Potter-addict’s universe. I needed something … more.” The coffee drinkers are looking down, I can see they are ashamed that they felt the same way.
“A friend – who had noticed my steady decline, the constant re-reading, the trivia books and board games, my endless wanting to recreate the feeling of excitement each new edition had caused – said to me, ‘Why not try Fanfiction? It might take the edge off. It’s free, what harm could it do?’”
In my head this statement is accompanied by a maniacal laugh, a Mr Burns-like steepleling of the fingers and a muttered ‘excellent’ of a man with a cunning plan.
What harm indeed.
“An endless supply … Ever changing … A laptop filled with folder after folder of stories … a smartphone purchased for the sole purpose of never having to be without a hit. What started out as a desire to continue the story, or fill the gaps – quickly became an obsession with non-canon, slash and the worst of all – the dreaded A.U.” How I adore them.
The members of my imagined support group look sympathetic. “When did you last use?” One of them asks.
I hold up my phone “On the train ride here.” I say.
They shake their imaginary heads at my distinct lack of will power, and the very obvious way I couldn’t care less.
“You need to be strong,” another one encourages me “you musn’t let it rule your life.”
But I’m not listening anymore. My phone has beeped, an email has arrived – one of the lovely dealers has delivered.
Wow, so this was supposed to be a joke ... it is a wee bit terrifying to me that it's only a slightly exaggerated version of the truth. Obviously - who would ride and imaginary train? That would just be silly.
Mrs J's Soup