Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Tillerman Moment

I've been thinking a bit about Harry Potter these days. With the penultimate movie coming out, I've been feeling a bit sad. After the final installment, I wonder if there will ever be any big moments for the series again. No more midnight premieres or book launch parties. No more sitting for uninterrupted marathon readings, avoiding news coverage, reviews, and idle chatter, in order to avoid spoilers of each new book. And the hardest thing to comprehend: nothing more to discover. Even though the books are complete, at least there is still the anticipation: "How will they film this scene? How will it look? How will it feel?" But once that's done, there will be no more to wonder about. The story has been told and, after July, the film will have interpreted the story and that will be all. There will be no more...more.

And yet...

Just last week, I had a strange recollection of a series I read when I was in middle school: The Tillerman Series, by Cynthia Voigt. It begins with the four siblings of the Tillerman family, led by 13 year old Dicey, who have been abandoned by their mother and embark on a journey to find their Grandmother. The writing was raw, honest, and real. And it made me want to be a writer who wrote these kinds of stories. Stories about people, the things they do, the places they go and the people they meet. Really simple, honest story-telling.

What's strange is that I have not thought about this series in over 15 years. But, suddenly, the urge to reread it is oddly insistent. I've scrambled to find the books on evil Amazon, ebay, and beyond. I can't wait to rediscover what I loved about characters whose names I barely remember and reassemble the pieces of a blurry and broken plot.

It has already been over 9 years since I opened the first pages of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone. I have not yet reread the series, as if I have been saving it for what I'm now going to call the Tillerman Moment. The moment I'll want to discover something I thought I already knew.

Have you had a Tillerman moment? An urge to rediscover something you once loved?


  1. The term Tillerman Moment is great. I have had those urges to seek out a book, or in my case Victorian poems, that I loved. I'm paying tribute to Longfellow tomorrow. I'm sad also about the last Harry Potter movies. My kids grew up with Harry, and the conclusion of his series makes me sentimental.

  2. i rarely re-read books, but my all time favorite is "a prayer for owen meany" by john irving.

    i re-read that one when i was in a book club with my mom. it was funny, she loved it, as i did. but many of the other readers were bored by it. BORED BY IT?!! i always (wrongly) assume that everyone loves the same things. but i'm glad me and mom both loved it together.

    she even used a line from it to put bury with her mother, my grandmother when she died.

    and so on the invitation to mom's memorial invitation, i wrote that same line...and it was so meaningful...

    "into paradise may the angels lead you..."

    anyway, i could pull that book out again- and perhaps i will soon b/c of the post you wrote. that book will always have such special meaning to me on so many levels...even tho it's not a trilogy, or anything. just one long beautiful story.

  3. Sometimes I find that I'm disappointed when I reread a book that I enjoyed years ago. However, lately I've been adding books to Goodreads and that activity made me nostalgic for authors that I read in the past, such as Robertson Davies.

  4. First, I love Kerri's book choice. My favorite, too. Think it's time for a reread of Owen Meany.

    The cool thing about having kids is I get to satisfy my Tillerman Moments a lot as I re-read my favorites to them. Have fun re-reading the Voight series.

  5. My daughter and I used to re read Jane Austen's novels each summer and gloat over them anew.
    I grew up with the Famous Five - Enid Blyton - and maybe would be a little scared to go back ... although one of my friends thinks that that is why I have put 'food' into my Violet Jelly trilogy, because they always had food with them. Interesting! - if you want to look at the characters etc.

  6. I'm with the first commenter - "Tillerman moment" could serve as a neat symbolic phrase!

    What a cool memory. I have some like that, too. A few series' from when I was a pre-teen (The Fabulous Five and The Party Line), and Summer of My German Soldier was a stand alone that I read in the sixth grade. Its writing, not just the story, really touched me. Every once in a while I want to reread it.

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  8. I would probably get that feeling if I ever re-read the Baby-sitter's Club series. I loved those books when I was a girl, and it would be fun to go back and experience them again (or at least a few of them... there are probably over 100 BSC books out there!).

    I really look forward to the day, when I'm 70, and they announce that they're remaking all the HP movies. I'll be first in line!