The Sugar Quill
Author: Mosey Posey (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Outsider: My Experience with the HP Freaks (AKA Freax)  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.


A/N: Inspired by Melissa A, who wanted me to write this. Special thanks to Arabella, who is so beautiful that we should all hide our eyes and cry mercy. (She wrote that. Oh the pain I call my sister......)



When I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, my imagination was triggered and I immediately fell in love with the story. I couldn't wait for the second book to be released. I also couldn't stop raving about the first book to anyone who would listen. The first of whom would be my older sister, Arabella. I told Arabella of the book and asked her to read it. As Arabella and I have always had a difference in opinion in regards to reading material (while she enjoys Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery and JD Salinger, I enjoy David Eddings, Mercedes Lackey, and - to my sister's dismay - Nora Roberts), she was not enthusiastic about reading what she thought to be a blockbuster book. But because Arabella respects and loves me (ha ha - in other words, after I twisted her arm), she didn't hesitate to take my advice. I couldn't believe it when, to my delight, Arabella actually seemed to enjoy the book. I immediately thought, "Wow, my sister, who is of far greater intellect than I, actually likes a book I recommended!!" If only I'd had the foresight to realize the chain reaction I had inadvertently started.

November, 2001

I am about to travel to NYC to spend Thanksgiving with my sister. Before I left Oregon, my sister explained to me that she had friends from all over the country meeting in New York for the premiere of the HP movie. As I understood it, people that Arabella had met online at HP sites would all be meeting (many for the first time) off line. I thought it would be interesting and fun to go see the movie with a group of people who had read and enjoyed the book, and so I agreed to get to NY the week before turkey-day, and meet them all for the movie. Especially since none of my friends at home had the slightest desire to see the movie - none of them would even read the book, and they all thought I was strange for being excited about the opening of kids' movie. Well, if my friends could have met the SQ freaks(x), I think they would have realized that my liking of the books and excitement for the movie didn't measure in any way to the love and passion held by the SQ'ers. My appreciation was a drop of rain in the hurricane of feeling my sister and the SQ'ers felt. I had no idea what I had gotten my self into, but I figured that it would only be a day or so... I mean, how long could this excitement last? After all, it's only fiction... right?

That first weekend was a truly eye-opening experience. I landed in NY the evening before the movie opened. When I arrived at my sister's apartment in Brooklyn, I met the first few SQ'ers of the many I would meet. After all the introductions were made, the conversation immediately turned to HP. Since we were all in NY to see the movie, I didn't find it strange that the topic continually swirled around JK Rowling and her books. I tried to follow the strange and newly exotic conversation topics of Cannon, squick-ney, shippers, H-Hers, and the mysterious number 87, but soon decided that I would never figure it all out. I mean, was there a cannon in the book? Did I somehow miss chapters? I tried to ask someone when I wasn't able to follow, but each person would explain using more strange terms that I just didn't understand. I soon gave up and tried to go to sleep (But with 18 million girls all wound up for the movie it was not an easy task...I wanted to remind them that it was just a movie, but feared too much for my personal safety.) As I drifted off to sleep that evening, the last thing that echoed in my head was the melodic chant of "Harry Potter... Harry Potter..."

As it happens, the first thing that penetrated through my sleep the next morning was that same DAMN chanting song. Was it possible that Harry Potter was still the only thing that people were talking about? Wait, wait... it was the day of the movie and, truth be told, I was pretty excited too. After all, I was in NYC, with people who appreciated HP as much as I did. Damn right we were all excited, and so of course Harry Potter was the only topic of conversation. I could deal with talking about him, even if it was in public. So what if a gaggle of giggling girls gabbed loudly in the middle of an A train bound for Manhattan? Who cares if we walked the streets of midtown wearing matching Gryffindor House scarves? We were showing HP pride! Who cares!

Who cares? Oh, Jesus, I'm walking behind a group of adult children, some wearing capes (as if fashion came from the frickin' Hobbit shire), all wearing matching scarves. Christ, I hope no one sees me. Oops, too late, all of Manhattan has seen me, not to mention Brooklyn. I guess that means only six million people have witnessed my embarrassment. All right, all right... it doesn't matter if a few million New Yorkers saw me. I wasn't wearing the scarf (OK, I was wearing it for a little while, but it was only to please my sister...that's my story and I am sticking to it). But soon we would all see the movie, we would talk about it for a few hours afterward, and then it would all end. I would get a chance to know everyone beyond the HP addiction. I would get to have a conversation without Harry Potter involved.

Or so I thought.

The pre-movie was great. I had a better time watching the SQ'ers faces than I did watching the movie. It was hilarious, the rapture everyone was in. They have all been brainwashed. After the movie, we all went for dinner at America. Twenty-five or so people took up half the restaurant with a single conversation. That's right - Harry Potter. But I had expected a post-movie conversation. That was fine.

HOWEVER. The next day, when we saw the movie AGAIN, and the conversation was still stuck on HP... well... I knew I had a problem on my hands. But I was leaving for home in a week. I could manage, as long as I had a lot of beer, and Advil for my head...

February, 2002

Shit. I moved to Maryland with Arabella. I have no one to blame but myself. I mean, I knew what the SQ'ers were capable of together. I had seen them in action when I was in NY. I only wish I could understand their motives. PLEASE GOD, HELP ME FIGURE THESE FREAKS OUT!

For example, my sister had four SQ'ers over one weekend. While we were all eating lunch, I mentioned how nice it would be to see the opening of the movie "Time Machine"(Guy Pierce is a hottie-tomatie). My sister replied that she and the SQ'ers thought they would rather spend time together "talking", etc., than going to a movie where they wouldn't be able to "talk". This made perfect sense. I could understand that they would want to make the most of their time, sincee they only had a few days. Which is why, when I found all four of them sitting silently together in the top floor of the house, I became severely confused. I mean, there they were. A group of friends that only spend a few days together every couple of months. No one spoke - no one even looked at each other. I had to check for a pulse. Christ, is this better than seeing a movie? Each to her own laptop? If so, could someone explain it to me? I thought that the entire idea behind getting together, OUTSIDE THE COMPUTER, meant actual verbal and maybe physical contact

But this is only a glimpse of the confusing behavioral patterns found in the SQ. How do people do the same thing day and night, night and day? I mean, two years... TWO YEARS of conversation about the same damn story. I think it should be in the Guinness Book of Records. I am surprised that they found enough material in the books to go on this long!!

Here I sit, listening to the HP conversation again. I don't get the jokes. I'm not in on any of the inside info. There are so many questions I have. Why do they end most words with the letter X? Freax, for example. Why do they all drool over Mr. Darcy? He isn't in HP, is he? Why do they call their meetings "summits", and why oh why do they insist on calling each other by their screen names when they are not on line? These are things I suppose I will never understand. I'm sure that there are reasons for these strange occurrences. There must be a reason they get together and then don't speak. But it is way, way above me. I continue to believe that when I am able to decipher the owners of SQ (both of whom live in arm's reach), then perhaps I will gain an understanding. So far this theory has been proven wrong. But I won't give up...not yet!

All I do know is that, for some odd reason, they enjoy these strange things. In their defense, when I have had a non-HP conversation (which are few and far between), I have found each and every SQ'er to be a highly intelligent writer, and a compassionate person. So what if I will never understand their passion, so long as I respect it? (Which I do.) The amount of time and energy they spend, not only on their own writing (which, of course, is never good enough for them), but the effort they exert on other people's writing is completely foreign to me. It's like they all care so much for each other that they'll do whatever they can do to assist, beta-read (whatever that means - I mean, why don't they just say editing if that's what they're doing), or critique each other's work - even when they don't really agree with what the story is about. It amazes me. I probably won't even spend time proofreading this little... whatever this is.

I just thought I would jot down a few things that drive me crazy, and a lot of things that make me respect these enigmatic people. You all inspire HP fans, but you should know that you inspire the rest of us, too.


Beta-reader's note: Arabella here. I'd just like to state, for the record, that the self-proclaimed "Outsider" obtained a bootlegged copy of the HP DVD before I did. She fully approved naming one of our cats Norbert. She asked me for an illustration of herself in Quidditch garb - which I gave her - and it was HER idea to make a collage on our kitchen table, using all my Harry Potter pictures. To top it all off, three nights ago, she sat down with Quidditch Through the Ages, and spent two hours organizing a feasible 1998-1999 Quidditch season for "After the End", which she typed up in individual team-roster format, printed out, and then proceeded to explain to me in full Oliver Wood style, with gestures included. "So the Cannons get a by their seventh week - which is great, you know, because that's midseason - perfect time to break -"

She can run, but she can't hide.




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