Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

How did you come across the book?

So… I’m an avid movie watcher and a good friend of mine, Amy, put me into the movies years ago. At first I was like, “No, I’m not watching this cause I don’t want to be a part of the system! And everybody’s obsessed with these things!” And then I sat down and I watched them… and I was obsessed! The movies captivated me but I’m not a big fiction reader… I read history, but I’m not a big fiction reader… but um… my wife has been bugging me, “Babe, come on… like every year I’m like babe it’s time for us to do our Harry Potter binge!”… and we watch all the movies again… and she’s like, “You’ve gotta read the books!” So… at first I was like, “You know babe? You know me… I struggle when I read fiction books… like, I’m good.” So she said, “Fine, I’ll buy you the audio book.” And so she gave me the audio book of the first one, and I listened to it… and it was incredible. I couldn’t stop listening to it! So then I was like, “Babe… I think I want to read the second set of books.” So she bought the collection… and I read book two in about a week and a half… and I’ve just been storming through book three! This one’s my favorite movie… and now it’s my favorite book! This is…. this is incredible! The symbolism in it… you know, the story in general has captivated me on a whole different level… that’s why I said you picked the wrong person to interview ’cause I have this like deep Harry Potter theology about my life and… Prisoner of Azkaban really embodies, you know, that selflessness and that… living for others… the thing that I’ve always loved about the series in general!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Oooh! So… I was just telling him… there is, you know… the interesting thing about Harry Potter… and if you know about the story of Harry Potter… you know, he’s this kid and he’s born in one world but his parents were killed, so he had to be raised in another world… and later on he goes back to this other world and… some reject him, some accept him, some glorify him, some… you know… hate him… and it’s this… this thing where he has the weight of the world on his shoulders and he is literally just existing as a kid… growing up and learning. I realized, for me… it doesn’t matter what your destiny is, it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what your background is, what your future holds… you know... grow, and just live! Take the shackles off yourself and be free! Click To Tweet For me, it hits a little closer to home because as a Christian I look at… I’m like man, Jesus came to this earth and he died to give his life to us for our sins, and I’m like… here’s this kid who came to a world… they didn’t receive him in it… ultimately in the end there’s this correlation to that, and I don’t want to give any spoiler alerts, but… if you haven’t seen it, check it out… but if you know it, you know he ends up giving up a lot of himself for this world and it becomes this beautiful story of love and no matter what… in this story particularly, he has so much anger towards this one character, then in the end, ends up forgiving him and showing grace to him… and it’s so amazing because… he’s just a kid. You know, I’m like, if this kid can embody this kind of love and this kind of passion for life, then… so can I. That means everyday, live it to the fullest… everyday be free… everyday take the shackles off myself, the shackles that people have put on me… my parents have put on me, my friends have put on me, teachers put on you, educators put on you… and, whatever people put on you, it is to your best interest if you just… take them off, and just be you. Be Harry Potter, be free in your little world, learn what you got to learn… and if people say you’re not good enough, whatever… you know, just live free man… be free for who you are. There’s too much beauty in this world to live it beneath shackles and chains. So… that’s what I got from this.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

Umm… oddly enough… I’d recommend this book to everybody and anybody! You know, for kids, it is an imagination roller-coaster! Like, this woman… and even when you know her story of how she wrote it, you start to realize that the woman who wrote this, J.K. Rowling… she’s a conqueror; she fought against so much just to get to a place where she could produce these magical books. And then, so much more as a Christian… you know, I know people who are like, “Ah, no! It’s witchcraft… you shouldn’t read it.” And then I realized one of the greatest authors in my opinion… C.S. Lewis… penned one of the greatest fiction stories… The Chronicles of Narnia… and if you ever get a chance to read those book’s, which I did go back and read… they are an incredible adaptation of what it means to really just… believe! The problem with the day we live in now is, we stop believing. Everything has to be tangible before we believe, and I’m sorry man, like… I want to go back and believe in the mysticism, and believe in the magic, believe in the force of love… the beauty of what magic does and how it makes us feel… I want to believe and I don’t ever want to lose that, and I don’t ever want to lose my imagination, because… what I’m noticing is that the reason why the world looks the way it does is because people stopped having imagination…. people stopped believing for more. Books like this man, they open kids up to the world; to see and to be like… Man, the flick of a wand could create this! And I'm like, Yes! Go out and imagine. Click To Tweet You don’t have a wand, but you have a computer… and you might not have a wand, but you can build something… and go and stretch your imagination… and I don’t care if somebody tells you that you can’t fly; jeez louise… you can fly! Somebody tells you, “You can’t walk on water.” Give it a chance… you might walk on water! People will tell you so much… and I look at it and I’m like… somebody told me one day, “Naj, you will never teleport.” And I was like, “That’s my lifelong dream, to one day teleport.” They kept saying you will never teleport, and I’m like, “Cool… because somebody told somebody they’d never fly… and now look at us… we’re flying!” The minute I stop believing that I’ll teleport… that’s when that dream is dead, and that’s when I will never teleport. And trust me, it sounds silly… look, I’m 36 years old… I’m not actually sitting out here saying, “Yeah, jump off a building and fly!” I’m not talking about being irrational or irresponsible; I’m talking about… just dream! Dream big man! Dream that this world will stop living based on the colors of our souls, thinking that it’s just black or white… no man… dream one day! Look at Martin Luther King… he had a dream, and that dream turned into a reality! We’re still fighting for it, but… that was a dream, and somebody told him lunacy, somebody told him it was magic, that it was imagination… and I just… it’s when we give up on those dreams, when we give up on changing the world, that’s when the world stops changing…and that’s it. I recommend it to everybody and anybody. The thing is... just have your eyes open! Click To TweetLike me… I wrote this book off when it was a movie because I was like, “Witchcraft, Witchcraft, Witchcraft!”… until a friend of mine was like, “Nah, it’s chill. Check it out!” Stop living with your eyes closed, you know… you never know… you’re rejecting stuff for rejecting stuff sake… accept stuff and then sift through it and realize if you don’t want to spit it to somebody else, or if you don’t think you should even eat it… spit it out, you know… put it to the side. But yeah… there’s so much more about it man!

Neil Young on one’s Fervent, Unyielding Search for the Fabled ‘Heart of Gold’

I want to live,
I want to give
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.
It’s these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching for a heart of gold.

With an air of melancholy surrounding his tones entirety, Neil Young momentarily encapsulates the enduring travail of ones search for a treasure in its purest form, a search fed and deceived by the minds’ susceptibility towards yearn. In one of his many depictions of love, Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’ both recites and reflects on a life lived in pursuit of the undiscovered, a token of fabled purity of the song’s naming; a heart of gold. Laboring away in search, expressions of love remain withheld, repressed and hoarded in hope for eventual outlet in the finding of a heart deserved. However, the search remains and time awaits no one: And I'm getting old. Keep me searching for a heart of gold. And I'm getting old. Click To Tweet

I’ve been to Hollywood
I’ve been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold.
I’ve been in my mind,
It’s such a fine line
That keeps me searching for a heart of gold.

This pursuit has no barriers and chooses to forage rather then to remain idle, impatient and reluctant to receive, instead anxious to find and claim. Our world is vast in sense of its physical traits and in the sense of our human spirit, sub rosa of course to ones selected expressionism. Where one can travel in search for this treasure within the confines of our physical world, the same can be done in the mind with far less restraint and with far more expanse, dependent upon ones perceived attributes towards a heart of this taking and the extent to which their creative imagination can concoct it into reality; unfortunately, a reality only of the mind. There remains a fine line between what we want and what we need, what we envision and what truly exists, more so in the realm of love than in any other facet of our experience. However, obsessed and unyielding with our preconceived notions of this treasure, the search remains and time continues to await no one: And I'm getting old. Keep me searching for a heart of gold. And I'm getting old. Click To Tweet

Keep me searching for a heart of gold.
You keep me searching and I’m growing old.
Keep me searching for a heart of gold
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.

Resisting the need for acknowledgement of truth, one continues ones hunt, weathered by the journeys lacking return of invested sacrifice, but unwavering to the minds promise of loves holy grail. Keep searching one does, willingly ignoring the love which exists already, bypassing the current gleam of believed to be lesser-in-value treasures for the mining of a longed for, more precious in mind metal worthy of appreciating. Keep mining one does, discarding the nickels, the coppers, the silvers, the still worthy but devalued by the majority’s incognizant appraise, for the one believed to contain what we want, what we need, what we so wholeheartedly convince ourselves will finally be enough. But… the search continues and time, staying true to form, awaits no one: And I'm getting old. Keep me searching for a heart of gold. And I'm getting old. Click To Tweet

Simply put, a heart of gold does not exist. So easy it is to convenience ourselves that it does, choosing to remain in quest for someone we believe is worthy of our love and who will return that love with the same intensity and style. Remaining delusional to this understanding, we fall for the fairy-tale that someone, somewhere will be exactly what our heart desires, unfortunately turning the search into an outward aim towards someone-else, somewhere-else, ignoring our current love and it’s opportunity for deeper experience which already exists in our lives; a scenario more true now in our world of perceived to be endless options.

Carelessly, we remain in search. Why? Because we have not yet found our heart of gold. Mining wherever we find solace, exposing ourselves to other precious metals, though not of gold, tarnished due to their laxity against the elements, beautiful all the more so given their unique mar, the search continues, the journey thus far overlooked. Why settle for the less valuable while the gold is still out there? Someone-else, somewhere-else, we tell ourselves; that’s why.

We picture this heart of gold waiting for us, wanting to be found as much as our desire to find it, sitting there, only to gleam in response to our presence alone. But, haven’t other metals gleamed before in our presence? This may be true, but not like gold, we convince ourselves, though we have yet to see it.

Neglecting the other metals, we subsequently have chosen to neglect an abundance of affection on the journey, in search for something which does not exist, never truly giving chance to experiencing enduring love. Even if we were to ever find a heart of gold, meaning some attributes align with our version of this, we would find that it is not perfect, for nothing in this life is. Like the other metals, it would be worn, it would be tarnished, and it would carry with it its own unique imperfections, from the beginning never truly possessing the capability of living up to ones expectations of what it should be.

In choosing to search for perfection in love, we have chosen also to not love, for the search will deprive us of the energy needed towards the fostering and growing of what we instead have chosen to neglect. Understanding that a heart of gold does not exist, we can begin to find beauty derived from love in the gleaming of other treasures. Refocusing our outward search for myth inward… ...towards a love contained in the raw sensations of now... Click To Tweet …perhaps we can experience and grow along with a love worthy and treasured in its purest form; an imperfect binding of imperfect beings, tarnished, worn and marred, but acknowledged and appreciated.

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For other beautifully crafted perspectives on love, pair this with Van Morrison on Love and its Dynamic Journey and Janis Joplin on the Urgency for Love.

Van Morrison on Love and its Dynamic Journey

The journey’s longer than

I thought my love.

There’s lots of things

Get in the way.

But every time I think of you

You just steal my heart away.

For a world currently obsessed with instant gratification, a false-sense of the existence of immediate wisdom and the impatience towards authenticity, Van Morrison’s “Steal My Heart Away” reminds us all that the road is longer than we may think, the journey longer than we may sometimes believe; slow down. Simple with his language, Morrison acknowledges the longevity of life (The journey’s longer than I thought my love…), captures its struggles and toil (There’s lots of things get in the way…), and openly succumbs to vulnerability in the company of love (But every time I think of you, you just steal my heart away).

Just like the sunshine after rain

I’ll come.

To be with you will save the day.

‘Cause I know

When I’m with you again

You just steal my heart away.

Like the sunshine after the rain, the returning of an oceans’ wave after retreat, the inhale of breath after exhalation, life is dynamic, love all the more so. Presence with love is vital but this is often learned from times of its absence, innately equivalent to the aforementioned traits of our physical world. Such observations further express the dynamic nature of life and of love; no sunrise will ever look the same, no wave will ever hug the shore as the one before it, and no breath will ever bring about the same sensation of life as its prior. Where there once was, there is no more, but it will return, only different then before. Click To Tweet

There is no one way to define love or its presence, for we all feel and express, gain and lose, want and need it in our own unique way. However, “Steal My Heart Away” reminds us of love’s one enduring truth; acceptance. As versed, the journey is longer than we thought; accept and endure. Lots of things get in the way; accept and overcome. One day, someone will steal your heart away, and whether they remain present in your life or not; accept and, most importantly, love.

The reoccurring truth here is you must first accept, then follow that acceptance with action. Moreover, this can be seen and experienced simply by observing the world around you; the physicality of our world is built upon the same substance of which love is. However, in the case of our human experience, the nature of the subsequent action is left to its maker; you. But remember this, to always love, for it is the only way to accept anything in this life. Click To Tweet Even if you do not receive the same love in return, which is a hard determination in itself paired with ambiguity and assumption, the importance and the power of love far outweigh the bitterness of its opposite. Think… what would become of the world if the sun never returned after the rain? What for the ocean if it decided never to come back after a waves retreat? What would happen if your lungs refused to fill with air after exhalation? And… what to you if you choose to never love again after its departure?

As the stoics like to put it, 'Amor Fati' Click To Tweet: love of fate; love of one’s fate: love of what happens. If you let it, our world tells you what happens. The sun leaves to return, the ocean pulls away to once again roll in, and the breath leaves us so we can breathe again.

For the sake of expressing this perspective on love in a more musically inclined and contextually relevant fashion, to further quote Van Morrison:

If my heart could do my thinking

And my head begin to feel

I would look upon the world anew

And know whats truly real.

Love is real. Continue to love,

City Reads NYC

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To enjoy this beautifully crafted song, listen here:

Janis Joplin on the Urgency for Love

Towards the end of an innately passionate and deeply sexual live recording of Janis Joplin’s ‘Ball and Chain’, the uniquely beautiful and equally as talented artist reminds us all of the importance of urgency for love within our brief experience we call life. Enjoy…

“And when everybody in the world wants the same damn thing. When everybody in the world who needs the same old thing. When I want to work for your love daddy. When I want to try for your love daddy. I don’t understand… how come you’re gone, man.

I don’t understand why half the world is still crying man, when the other half of the world is still crying too; and I can’t get it together. I mean, if you’ve got a cat for one day, man… say maybe you want a cat for 365 days, right? You ain’t got it for 365 days; you’ve got it for one day… Well I'll tell you... that one day, better be your life. Click To Tweet …Because, you know, you can say… you can cry about the other 364, but you’re gonna lose that one day man, and that’s all you got… you gotta call that love; that’s what it is man. If you’ve got it today, you don’t wear it tomorrow; because we don’t need it. Cause’… as a matter of fact… as we discovered on the terrain… tomorrow never happens man; it’s all the same fuckin’ day!

So you gotta… when you wanna hold somebody, you’ve gotta hold’em like its the last minute of your life, baby; you gotta hold it. Cause’ someday some weight is gonna come on your shoulders babe… its gonna feel too heavy, its gonna weigh on ya, its gonna feel just like… a ball and chain.”

 

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For the actual recording, listen here…

To enjoy the full experience of Janis singing “Ball and Chain” at live at Monterey Pop Festival 1967, watch the video below…

For a truly authentic musical experience of the Festivals entirety…click the image below!