Sometimes the best way to return from a long absence is to simply return.  And so here I am.  I’ve missed you guys.

It is 3:34 a.m. as I write this.  I just got home a little while ago.  Fat Cat is home on leave, so while he and our little one slept peacefully tonight, I sat in the middle of a crowded movie theater and watched the final installment of Harry Potter in 3D.

I thought I would cry more.  I thought I would rise to my feet as the credits scrolled up the screen in sadness, for certain had I traveled a dark and perilous road with these characters — these people — who have somehow become my family…and here we are at the end.

But it is a large family.  And family is the absolute right word, for the mood in the theater was one of celebration, a family reunion.  There was a beach ball with Professor Snape’s face volleyed up and down the stadium rows.  There were shouts of “Muggle!” and “Wingardium Leviosa!” When the bad guys were killed, people cheered and screamed!  When the good guys fell, in the hushed stillness of held breaths and watery eyes, you could hear sniffles.

Some of those sniffles were mine, yes.  But when the end did come and I stood to leave, instead of feeling sad, I felt buoyant with joy.  Why?

Because all of this, everything, the books, the movies, the outrageous merchandising, the countless millions of fan art and fan fiction, the amusement park, all the jobs created…the immeasurable hours spent by people reading it, sinking themselves into this other dimension of wonderment, the children inspired by it…all of it…all of it was because of a writer.  And I am a writer.

It always does one good to be reminded just how deep the sky is.

As my friend and I walked down the street away from the theater, he wondered out loud, as he has many times before, whether we would ever see the likes of a literary cultural phenomenon like Harry Potter again.

And I thought of all of you wonderful writers out there, drilling away the hours in front of the computer, stealing time from your family, your household, your boss, just to get the story down.

“Of course,” I told my friend.  “And I can’t wait to see who’s next.”