As with anything, I always recommend beginning at the beginning. However, in case you don't want to peruse my entries from the beginning (& hey, it's your loss), here's a quickie for you.

I basically like Twilight. I appreciate it for what it is, and recognize it's shortcomings. If you're a crazed Twi-fanatic, consider yourself warned.

Kristen Stewart is on my shortlist of favorite actors, and Robert Pattinson is not only gorgeous, he's talented too.

The cast in general blows my mind. Not for their acting skills (which are super sweet), but the fact that they are all so normal seeming. And they get along. No cat fights, no set drama. I'd love to see a remake of The Breakfast club with this cast, where they act as themselves. someone make that happen k thanks.

Stephenie Meyer, as a stay-at-home mom of multiple kids, wrote a book. She's kinda my hero. I want to do what she's done.

All opinions and thoughts are welcome here, so please feel free to speak your mind. :)

PS-I tend to go off on tangents like no one's business, and occasionally stray from what I really wanted to say. I'm also too impatient to go back and re-read what I've written to make sure it sounds right. I apologize for any ramblings, incoherence, and other minor transgressions I might make.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dazzled Again...by Stephenie Meyer

I just read a great new Stephenie Meyer interview from Vogue.com , and I am, once again, completely dazzled by her. It seems like I always get to a point where I can no longer trust my own hype of her...I mean, how great can someone really be? But then I read a new interview, and I'm just sucked right back in to her supreme awesomeness.

And her awesomeness is of a totally natural nature, which just makes it more, well, awesome, to me at least. She isn't super polished, she doesn't lead a life full of big happenings and cool goings ons, and she doesn't have that certain something that makes it hard to look away from some of today's rising stars.

Her awesomeness stems from her complete relate-ability. I feel like she could be a friend, or a neighbor, perhaps someone you run into at the grocery store and talk to on the toilet paper/baby food aisle. She seems to exude the kind of naturally open personality that draws people in and makes them feel comfortable. She seems at ease with herself while still seeming human about it, not like those people who are so freakishly comfortable within their own skin that nothing phases them. She screws up, she gets emotional, she deals with it and moves on. Just like the rest of us non-Twilight-penning people who share the earth with her. She is an exceptionally normal, some would say boring, person. She is the every-woman who just happens to be on top of the biggest craze since (yes, I'm saying it) Harry Potter. She is also the mom who teaches Sunday school, watches Law & Order religiously, and obsesses over her favorite band. I love her!

I think that quality of relate-ability, that ease of "connecting" with her, is exactly what comes through in her writing. Her characters seem to possess that same feeling of intimacy, like they could be people you know or grew up with, people you would run into at the post office and catch up on your respective current situations.

That openness, that friendliness, makes Bella the ultimate heroine for the masses of young girls whose minds and bodies are drowning in hormonal mood swings, who feel, as a general rule, alienated from most of society. Even their friends are occasionally suspect, and the way drama swirls through the halls of most middle and high schools, they're right to wonder if they've made the best choice in confidants.

But in Bella there is no judgment, and no feeling of superiority. She is as flawed as they are, and most will find some quality in her that they dislike, something that will make them feel superior to her in some way. While that may sound cruel, it's true (to me at least), and only makes Bella a better friend for it. It's an even playing field, a give and take of talents and loser-y qualities between them and her, creating the perfect friendship.

For those in my own personal niche of mid-twenties adoration, that feeling still remains somewhat, but other qualities are added in, making it a more complex feeling of relation. We remember clearly what it felt like to be awkward in school, having something embarrassing happening at the worst time, and the joys and heartbreaks of that first real love.

But most of us have grown from those experiences, and can look back on them with the wry smile that accompanies such memories, memories that have begun to gain the smoothing patina of age, making us more likely to smile than cringe. Some of us have moved from first love to final love with marriage, and possibly chilren. We're much more aware of the harsh realities involved in real-life love, and the fairytale qualites of Bella and Edward's love. While some people feel overwhelmed by the fairytale aspect, most of us enjoy it for what it is, and welcome it into our lives which have become to full of reality to leave much room for fantasy. It becomes an escape, a chance to relieve those earlier years without the pain and embarrassment of doing it ourselves. Instead, we can do it vicariously through Bella, and shake our heads knowingly when she mistakenly believes Edwards lines of crap about not loving her anymore, which she takes without a fight. Perhaps we look back and remember a time when we kept our mouths closed instead of fighting back, and the consequences of our actions. We smile at her inability to move on from him, maybe thinking about our own lovelorn days of love lost and all the drama that ensued; the days when every detail was carefully noted down to be completely disected at home alone in our rooms.

There is something comforting about reading about a girl, and realizing in ourselves a growth, a maturing that allows us to feel a sense of accomplishment, like maybe we did actually grow up a little bit, even though we most of the time still feel like the same girl we were then.

We also are better able to appreciate Edward for what he is: a ridiculously perfect fantasy man, the likes of who never has and never will walk this earth. Do we love him less for that? No, if anything we love him more, for we do not suffer the guaranteed heartbreak awaiting every teen girl who will undoubtably compare every boyfriend she has to him, and he will come up lacking every time. Our love for him is completely devoid of strings, or expectation. We love him for his impossbile perfection, and wholy enjoy the hours we spend with him, on the couch with a blanket, and maybe a cup of tea or bowl of icecream.

On that same vein, we know the difference between love and lust, having mostly sorted out our hormones into their own rivers to follow the right path to our brains. We can appreciate them on totally different levels, completely disconnected from each other. This opens up all sorts of excited avenues, all of which I will leave to each of your own imaginations.

As a mother, I also took something completely different away from the story than any of the teenagers who still their youth as never-ending, having children as a "one day" and not as an every day responsibility. While they may feel like they are sharing Bella's joy in having a child with the man she adores, they are completely unable to fathom the true, pure, utter beauty in feeling a life gow inside of themselves, of knowing that it was formed in love. I know none of them felt the same momentary flicker of irritation and jealously over the lines, "We're the only parents in the world who don't need sleep, and our baby already sleeps through the night." (I paraphrased there, from memory, so don't shoot me for it being incorrect.)

As parents, we also look at Charlie in a totally different light. Not as the bad guy, which light parents usually are seen in by their teenaged chilren, but as the man who is struggling to know his daughter, unable to express his feelings more completely, but feeling them just as deeply regaurdless. I get tears in my eyes (no joke, and no laughing) every time I read Twilight and Bella says all her terrible things to him when she is getting ready to run from James to Phoenix. I hurt for Charlie's sake, for the poor, bewildered look I see so clearly on his face, and for the day when my children will purposely hurt me...although hopefully not to escape from a vampire tracker.

And while this is completely gratuitous, I have to take this moment to say that whoever cast Billy Burke as Chief Swan in the movie was a genius. He is perfect, flawless, and completely underrated in his role. He brought Bella's father to life on-screen in a way that went above and beyond any expectation I would have had, if I had expected anything at all from the role. Is there a Team Charlie? I'll be the captain. ;)

But I digress, as usual....

I can only guess what the draw is in women in the upper age brackets of Twilight fandom (and I mean that in the nicest possible way), having not yet reached that stage, but I suspect it is a combination of all of the above, looked back at fondly as a memory of younger, perhaps happier, probably less complicated, and certainly more naiive times. As parents who, unlike my younger generation, have children who have already reached that age of adolescence, I imagine they relate perhaps even more to the other side of the story, that they feel a certain protectivenss along with companionship to Bella, or any of the children in the story. Instead of "that could be me", maybe it's "that could be my little girl/boy".

I have, of course, written this fully of my own perspective, and I always love to hear other people's opinions and views! So please let me know what you think, if you agree or disagree, and what your take is!


Laura said...

ohhh ali, writing is your gift. I could read your words forever! I agree with almost everything, but I am trying to find something I don't like about Bella... I don't think I've ever felt "superior" to her character and can't really think of anything that annoys me about her.... I just love the character that Stephanie created in her. You're right about who they casted for "Charlie." He was fantastic!!! And Edward..... oh, don't even get me started....

Allison said...

Thanks chick! I had a really hard time writing that part, and I still don't feel like it's quite what I'm trying to say. I know "superior" isn't the word I really want to use...but I can't figure out the right one, so it's staying, for now at least ;)

I didn't have something specific about Bella that irritated me, except that she sometimes seemed too naive to match the "old soul" description Stephenie gave.

But then again, people called me an old soul when I was 15, and God knows I was naive....so thank you for helping me figure that out! That's why I love feedback, it helps me get my thoughts straight!

Laura said...

just read your newest post. I see what you're saying about Bella. I think her character is self-absorbed in the sense that she constantly thinks that everything everyone else is doing is somehow related to her or is somehow her fault. The possibility that something someone else is doing has no correlation to her... seems impossible to her.
Like when Edward confesses that he can read minds but explains that he can't read hers, she automatically thinks that he's insinuating (sp?) something is wrong with her.
I may be mistaken but I think she acknowledges this fault of hers a couple of times, especially in the first book, reminding herself that it probably has nothing to do with her. Not in the example mentioned above, but I think when she's analyzing Edward's rudeness toward her in the beginning she reminds herself that it may be all in her head...
I guess where Bella is mentally for her age, I was at the same spot. I was called an "old soul," "extremely mature for my age" etc. even though I was still young and naive to many things as well.
But thinking about Bella, she could be called the same thing, an "old soul." While she is still very young and naive, she sees the world differently than most. She's the one who took care of her mom, takes care of Charlie, etc. I think the biggest part of the romance is knowing that about her character and then seeing that Edward takes care of her. Someone who is constantly taking care of everyone now has someone to take care of her and protect her...... oh, edward.....wait, what? where was I?
Bella, right. I think when I'm reading, I smile to myself saying, "I know exactly why she's doing that/saying that/believing that. You have some growing up to do Bella..."
Anyway, this is making me want to pick up my books again. Too bad I've leant them all out to people because I tell anyone who will listen how fantastic these books are! lol!