Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yes, I Read Twilight

So, what is a guy-y guy doing reading Twilight, anyway?

Well, 'cause I'm actually a 19-year-old girl named Mary Anne Evans (see, 'geophf' is now my tech-savvy pen-name: 'George Eliot' is just so out of fashion these days) going to Dartmouth and all my GFs were reading it, see? And I was like, SQUEE, OME! Bite me! And he was, like, rly? And I was, like, yeah! And he was, like, coo! And, so we were, like, you know, like, all that? 'Cause Edward's such a playah, until he met me, the character named Mary Sue introduced into the story that solves all the cataclysms because everybody listens to like my non-sequiturs because it all like makes sense because I'm the main character, not Bella, because she like needs me and realizes that Edward loves me and he was just like playin' her so she falls in love with Angela or Mike or somebody, doesn't matter, because like the story ended happily with Edward like falling so hard for me but I had to like leave him to solve world hunger in india and he like understood even though he was sad and then I returned to my space alien world the end? So, I, like, started, like, writing fan-fiction pretending to be like, this, like, twilight-dad so I could get more page views? 'Cause, like, a guy reading Twilight? NW. It's, like, 0.01% of the buyers of the book and, like, 0.000000000001100701% of the fan-fiction writers? So, like, I was, like, "gimme some of dat niche-market mind-share, baybee!" 'cause it's all about the buzz?



No, RLY: why did I keep reading Twilight? 'cause I'm, like, this 19-year-old girl from ... *AHEM*

I kept reading Twilight because it was adolescent. Adolescence is a very important transitional time of life. It's when people can ask questions boldly, because society says it's okay to ask those questions, to rebel, to live. As a child, one is not allowed to live: one is fenced in by parents. As an adult, one is not allowed to live: one must be a responsible member of society (well, except me and my bud Hannibal). Adolescence? Everything is undefined, so everything must be defined.

I kept reading Twilight because it was honest. Superpowers weren't added as the series went on. Endings weren't deus ex machina like Harry Potter ("Gryffindor wins because I'm Dumbledore, and I say so" "Oh, we use this super magic spell to make everything okay, even though two books ago we couldn't"). Characters didn't know what they weren't supposed to know.

To you Harry Potter fans: I'm sorry! I'm sorry! And geroff this Twilight blog!

I kept reading Twilight because it had depth. Every character deserves their own 4 book trilogy (What? Douglas Adams could have a 6-book trilogy!). Every conversation was motivated by a character history that was solid and consistent and true. This was true for the main characters, this was true for the minor characters, this was true for the characters that showed up for a total of a half a page.

I kept reading Twilight because it was complete, but not patronising. There is so much not said in the books, so much not revealed, so much left alone, so much left to explore, ... and so much room to explore. Other books, you cannot wander in the canon because the house of glass is too brittle, and it shatters when you reach out your hand in curiosity. Twilight doesn't allow MSR (well, really RLT), it encourages it! It demands it! Rosalie! The richest character in the series and she has just one chapter to say her piece. It probably took a lot from Steph just to leave her alone, but she did. She left her alone for me.

And she left ALL the characters alone. ALL of them. What's Bella's history? There's a fan-fiction story. What's Edward's story? There's a fan-fiction piece (it's called Midnight Sun, but what about his existence before that? It's called "Green, Red, Gold"). What's Alice's and Jasper's story? There's a story there (Mandi1 wrote it). What's Esmé's history? There's a story (that I AM WAITING FOR ... ANYBODY??!?!??!?!?!11!!112322##*@%#). Emmett? God! The strongest character in Twilight and everybody thinks he's a dumb jock. Idiots! He was the big brother of the McCarty family with many brothers and sisters during the Great Depression. He had to make do and love them and be the father to them all (except his mom who could, and did, take him by the ear by-and-bye), and hunt for supper, and drink, and gamble, and make moonshine, and fall, hard, for Rosalie, ... because only Emmett has the strength of character to put up with her.

So, why do I read Twilight? Real people and vampires ... and, BONUS, real werewolves (GOD! Leah! Read "Cowboys and Indians" by Minisoo)! Real stories. Yes, they are derivative. No, they are not esoteric; no, they are not erudite, nor complex, nor befuddling, nor pretentious. But, compelling? Yes. Heartbreaking? Yes. Hopeful? Yes. Real? Yes.

What would you rather me be reading? Salinger? I love him, too, love him to death (Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters (that inspired the Drambuie moment with Buddy and the Tom Collinses), and, OMG, Seymour: an Introduction, and OMR, Nine Stories, a.k.a. For Esmé — with Love & Squalor (every single one of them I cry my eyes out ... every single one — dunno, sometimes Franny and Zooey is my favorite; Franny is Bella's predecessor, and Zooey is as ruthlessly loving, and as lovingly ruthless, as Rosalie is to Bella)). Helen DeWitt? GOD! Helen DeWitt! I just want to go into the Last Samurai and give every one of those genius and geniune characters a big "it'll be okay, Rosalie" hug! Milan Kundera? Salman Rushdie? Robert Zelazny? Neil Gaiman? Chuck Palahniuk? Robert Pirsig? Robert Frost? Billy the Shake? J.R.R. Tolkien? C.S. Lewis? A.A. Milne? Douglas Hofstadter? Ray Smullyan? David Moon? Bashoh? e.e. cummings? Wallace Stevens? William Carlos Williams? God?

I read them all. I keep adding to that list. I love them all. Even Mr. Big-Juju (He's put out quite a bit of varied literature over the ages).

... and I like Twilight.

... and, so far, Twilight has liked me.


Diane said...

Reading. Fine.
Not reading. Not fine.

Reading to feed your soul. Fine.
Reading to fill the time. Not fine.

But more importantly, it is the "Dad" in your blog title that should be the impetus to your musings; that eventually, your reading materials, whether by Salinger or Meyer or Adams, provide you a stage for an exchange with your children.

Master of the Boot said...

This is where I agree with you the most.

I also enjoyed Twilight because it was not pretentious, esoteric or silly with adding on powers as things go along.

But what struck me most was that all the characters seemed to normal. They were just well, normal. It's like they weren't crazy people artificially flavored to sell, they just lived and existed, like real people do.

It's not my favorite thing but it's definitely a fun and worthy series of books. That includes breaking dawn, come on, it wasn't bad. Regardless of what people say.