Thursday, June 17, 2010

Being a Twilight Dad

So, I'm to be interviewed by a newspaper tomorrow morning, in anticipation of the release of (the movie) Eclipse. We are going to be talking what it is to be a man, and a dad, reading or experiencing Twilight.

Hm, that is an interesting question, as there are fewer men that read Twilight than women, and probably only a few of those men actually read Twilight not just to entertain or to tolerate this 'foolish fancy' of their S.O.'s.

So I'm sure the interview will focus on the whys of maleness/fatherness and Twilightness. But, and I don't know if you know this about me, but I tend to look for and to look at universals, and being a man or a woman makes a huge difference in many things, but aren't we all looking for many of the same things, looking in our different ways, but still looking for these common things that connect us all.

So, man or woman, adult or child, we read Twilight for some very clear things that it gives us.

What are those things? Tell me. I'm going into the interviewing 'representing,' as it were, and representing a target group: Twilight Dad(s). But I'm also going to be representing me, obviously, but I'm also going to be representing you. So tell me so that I can represent: what is the draw of Twilight for you?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Eternal Marriage of Twilight Vampires

Twilight vampires, once they love, love forever, don't they?

Yes, Rosalie doesn't let go, does she? And she doesn't get over it. That's what Mormonism did, co-opting vampires, which were a Catholic construct. So Catholic, in fact, that a protestant writer could not avoid putting in the transubstantiated Host and crosses (which Protestants, at the time, equated to symbols of Popery), but the Mormon church isn't Catholicism with the concept of Grace, but its significance is that of the Eternal Marriage.

And so, here in Twilight, vampires are Eternally Loving, even though the beloved is gone, they just cannot let go of that love, as it is fundamental to what they are. They love, and they love forever, even after Bella, the beloved, has been dead for centuries, even though Didyme has been dead for thousands of years, Marcus still loves her, eternally.

And one might think: ick. No fun. Nothing to explore here. But for me, as a writer and thinker, this gives so much depth to what could simply be described as Yet Another Teen Angst Story.

And perhaps Twilight is simply, merely, that: YATAS. And perhaps that's why the vampires of interest are teenagers, just so struggling with (and against) who and what they are, unlike alucarD, who is perfectly happy in what he is ... he delights in it, in fact, rejoices in the utter cruelty of his actions.

There's a guy who loves to go to work.

But perhaps we, or I, can learn from the struggles teens have. The uncertainty. The 'not getting over it.' The 'always and forever' weightiness of what goes into decisions and thoughts.

And on the flip side ... to be loved eternally? To be Immortal Beloved? "Ick," says many: "stop being so clingy!"

Or, to have that steadfastness? That rock-steadiness? That security that Rosalie will always love Bella (as in Reminiscence)?

Rosalie's stuck there. Edward's stuck in Twilight. His 'stuckage' turns out 'happily' in that his eternal love can now be directed at an eternal lover.

Just as is the case for Carlisle and Esmé. Isn't Esmé content in Carlisle's love? And isn't Carlisle assured in hers?

Esmé will never have to doubt Carlisle's devotion to her ... or will she? (Okay, so she may have doubts, see "Her Transformation," ch 1) Wouldn't that be a nice thing to have in a marriage?

I say yes. But then the flip side is this story: a vampire makes the choice, commits to the choice, even unwillingly, and there it is, eternally. Even 300 years later. Even Forever. This is one of the consequences of Eternity, and Twilight vampires are Eternal.

Just ask Rosalie: she knows that very well.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hi, my name's "Big D"

Which Dave ARE You?
Big D Well, aren't you just the perfect gentleman? You are responsible and well-meaning and really know how to treat a girl. Make sure the girl appreciates all that you have to offer, but be careful not to let her feel intimidated by your perfection. Let her know that it's okay to make a few mistakes -- even if you yourself never do, Mr. Wonderful. ;)
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"So, you write fan-fiction, huh?"

I have a question.

So, if anything is possible, what's stopping you?


I read. I write. I have had an editor, a dear friend, named LiLa ("Lion in the Land") for about a year. She's been writing, too.

And she's published her first book under the name Nicki Elson called Three Daves, about a girl going to college in the 80s and meeting three guys, each named Dave.

She wrote this story, she shared this story with her friends, and then she published it, and now it's a book.

So, if anything is possible, what is available?


For LiLa, what was available that her story is now a book. It was real before, just for herself, then it was real for a select few thousands that read it and the select few hundreds that encouraged her writing, dozens of them at each chapter she published.

And now it's a book, and now it's real for the world.


But what does this have to do with the title of this entry?

Jennifer meets Dave, Dave, and Dave in college, and 80s music plays a big role in the story.

Sound familiar? Anybody go to and visit Lion_in_the_Land (note the user id)? Remember the awards and interviews she's had about an AU/AH story she wrote about Bella going off to college in Chicago in the 80s and meeting Jasper and Emmett and Edward?

Or Dave, Dave, and Dave?

Remember all those reviews she got? The ones that said: "OMG! Your writing is so good ..." and all that and "You should write a book!" and all that?

Well, she did.

Now let's look in the mirror for a second, my dear "so, you write fan-fiction, huh?" author(esse)s. Ever got that review or reviews that said, "OMG! Your writing is so good! You should write a book!" But you said: "Oh, I just write fan-fiction; I can't write a book, and who would read it?" and they come right back: "I WOULD!"

"Oh, I just write fan-fiction" as if that's bad? "I can't write a book"

LiLa did. She found a way.

Do you see that trail she blazed for you, me, and everybody? Did she do it for us? Maybe. Maybe not.

But the trail is there now, and it's real.

A fan-fiction authoress that we know and whose stories we've read is now a published authoress.

And to think she almost didn't do it, and just one little song gave her that whatever to put out that first chapter, and her very first reviewer gave her that sense of self that, hey, somebody likes my stuff.

Are you going to publish a book? Maybe. Maybe not. You now can see from LiLa that this possibility does exist for you, even if you've just written one chapter with just one reviewer saying she liked it. Because not so long ago, LiLa was right there.

So let's say you decide to publish. Great! You win. And the lives you touch with your story, now that it's a book?

You win. Big time. And this guy will be standing here with his mouth wide open and his heart fit to bursting, just so happy for you and for your success.

So let's say you decide not to publish now.

You can still win. Because somewhere, there's a LiLa you know whose story you love.

Review it.

Say to her how you love it. What exactly in that chapter makes you laugh so hard you puke or cry so hard you need cleaner for your keyboard? Say this to her. Encourage her.

Because then, she just may publish that next chapter, she just may comment that, hey, your review lifted her spirits, and it may just give her enough to finish the story, and maybe, maybe-maybe-maybe, publish it as a book, so you can hold it in your hands, and know that, wow, she did it. You know somebody who did it and were there with her during the creation of that book, chapter by chapter.

I came along after she finished her story, and she's taken the twilight version off of twilighted and ffn, but my congratulations to her, no: my admiration of her and her work is right here, right now.

LiLa is one of the stars of fan-fiction writers, and her success and the praise she receives is well-deserved. She writes from the heart, and that heart is joyful.

You know your own LiLa, my dear authoress, all you have to do keep encouraging her with your honest reviews.

Or, all you have to do is to look in the mirror, and take that step of pressing that 'add chapter' button, or of mailing off that manuscript to the next publisher.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Roman à Clef

Hey, geophf, that new story of yours, "Her Transformation" ... it seems like filler, marking time, what's its purpose?

Hm, 'purpose' ... stories with a 'purpose' are called 'roman à clef.' ... is my writing like that? Ever?

Maybe it is, if purpose is to ask: 'what is this thing? this existence? and why am I here it in?'

Isn't that the fundamental question we ask ourselves?

Isn't Esmé asking herself this? Isn't Rosalie, as she suffers this agony, asking herself: 'why me?'

What if the answer isn't one that we like? What do we do with that? Give up?

As for this piece filling the time line ... well, yes, it is.

Don't all stories 'fill [some] time'? Like msr?

This story fills three days ... and then one year in eternity. "You Kept Me Waiting" fills thirty years. "Twilight" fills a couple of years. "Sense and Sensibility" fills a year or so. "Antigone" and "Medea" fill a day. "One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich" fills ... well, one day.

The Torah fills three thousand years, plus or minus a few billion. The New Add On (Testament) starring our most famous son ("He Was One Of Us" after all) fills in another three hundred.

And the कामसूत्र (Kamasutra) fills a night. Night after night.

So, what is the purpose of a story? What's its point? Hm. Well, instead of asking: "Is this real? Is this literal? Is this true? What's its point?" as modern Christian Bible scholars do, perhaps ask this: "What does this mean for me?" "What do I take away from this?"

What does it mean to be a new mother? What does it mean to be a newborn, still so hurting from the old life? What does it mean to love unconditionally, even if the beloved is a tough case? How about on the receiving end? What does it mean to be beloved, so strongly you can't stand it, because you're dealing with your own stuff, and you don't want anybody else, who loves you with all her heart (and why? just because) to see you at your weakest, ... that is, when you most need love?

Ever been there? If you never have, do you want to risk that kind of love? Knowing there's going to be hurt, too?

Esmé is her name: (unconditional) love. This is Rosalie's transformation, but this is Esmé's story. Why? Because nobody ever cares about Esmé.

I do. She is a person, with a story to tell: I am giving her that venue.

And the thing of it is: although nobody cares about Esmé, she, herself, cares about, and cares for, well, ... everybody.

One of those people is Rosalie, and, perhaps, one way Esmé showed her care for Rosalie is not abandoning her, even during the most difficult period in Rosalie's existence.

Funny how every part of Rosalie's existence is her most difficult part.

Hm. There's a lesson in that for Rosalie somewhere, I'm sure.

Vampire Peaches

There is a story where Emmett is caught biting peaches. Not to eat them, but to see if they become vampire peaches.

Ha-ha, yuck-yuck-yuck, Emmett so stupid funny! *sigh*

But the thing of it is, Emmett is funny, but he's not stupid. And peaches cannot become vampires (or, put another way, the vampiric nature of peaches is to be stone ... vampires are the walking representation of King Midas, after all: everything they touch dies).

But what about animals.

Hm. You're a vampire, wouldn't you love to have a pet kitty or fido ... forever? Where, if a car hits them, the car gets wrecked, not they?

Sweet! And you can do everything to it that people do to it: you know, go hunting, pat it, experiment on it by injecting it with chemicals, just like pharmaceuticals and cosmetic companies do! And the cool thing is, your pet won't develop cancer and die after you feed it five pounds of saccharine. Bonus!

No down side to having vampire pets at all, right?


But here's the thing. When fido is hungry, fido has to wait for you.

A vampire dog wait for you? Why would it? It's thirsty, so it's going on a hunt. Now.

Then it bites a wolf, or a mountain lion, ... because it can, and then, can it kill its victim? No. So now you have a vampire mountain lion on the loose in the woods.

Anybody see 28 Days Later? Anyone? Anyone at all? Bueller?

Hm. And then that happens: a pandemic. And who comes to clean it up?

That's why we have the Volturi, ladies and gentlemen, because some fool vampire's brain goes snap or gets a fool idea into their mind and the little experiment goes right out of their control.

So, vampire pets? or vampire animal experimentation? Bad, bad idea.

And Carlisle's already thought of this. He's probably thought of this at his very first hunt: "Hey, I was turned by being bitten, I wonder if this stag can be turned, too."

Carlisle stayed there and made damn sure that stag's heart was stopped and it was not getting up again, then he buried the shredded remains deeply.

And when Carlisle visited the Volturi centuries ago? And took Aro on a hunt? To show Aro that there are alternatives? That bit of evangelization didn't go so well for Carlisle, but Aro probably saw right away the ramifications, and probably gave Carlisle a little warning lecture, to boot: "Now, Carlisle, I don't care what silly pursuits tickle your fancy, but if this gets out of hand ..."

A vampire animal gets on the loose, and the Volturi come, and they have all the justification they need to wipe out every abstaining vampire in the world.

So, you hate the Cullens and the Denali coven? Make yourself a vampire wolf.

After it turns, and shreds you to bits, and goes on a rampage, the Volturi will exact your revenge.

But don't think the Cullens are not onto this. They read the newspapers, and, as they've shown, they can mobilize a force strong enough to deal with any problem in the world ... including the Volturi. They read about your experimentation, they are coming to have some words with you. Last I checked the Volturi are sending a delegation to the Amazon to have a "chat" with a certain vampire doctor who likes to create half-breeds. You can bet the Cullens may send their own little envoy, too.

And that's the thing. You become a vampire, then you must think of the long-term (and eternal) consequences of every one of your actions, and the things you do locally have a possibly global impact, just as things happening in other parts of the world may have a direct impact on you.

So, do you think that becoming a vampire makes your life easier? That you can indulge whimsy?

Think again.

By becoming a vampire, all your tiny temporal problems are now eternal and far-reaching.

Vampire peaches. Vampire kittens.

Ha-ha. So funny. So cute.

Or not.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Words of Wisdom from Women

My cara spoza reads my blog.

So, she read the last entry, and she told me she enjoyed it.

I asked, "What did you like about it?"

And she told me this story.

But first, let me tell you the story her mother told her.

You see, her mother is a multiple-Palanca award-winner for her writings (It's the Pulitzer in the Philippines), and she told my cara spoza this (in Tagalog) about writing.

Writing is like having a child.

There is the anticipation of it. It's growing within you, as you write, and you can't wait to get it out there. But at the same time you are so scared, ... how will she do in the world? What will other people think of her? How will they treat her? I shouldn't care about what other people think of her ... she is my baby ... but I do. Very much.

And then other people like her, and you are just so proud and so pleased. Or one person says just one little word of criticism, and you just want to kill that person ... until another person savages her. And then you want to die from the despair.

"Oh, she's not loved! ... but I love her! Shouldn't that be enough?"

And as soon as she gets out into the world, stumbling, and then finding her (Bella-)balance and (Bella-)grace, ...

Then she starts doing things you never saw nor expected. Then she creates her own stories, and they take on a life of their own.

Just like Twilight was one little dream that lead to two books (it and Forever Dawn) which lead to four books, when lead to Midnight Sun and now leads to Bree.

So I told you that story to tell you this one.

So, my cara spoza said that: "My mom told me writing is like having your own child."

And I, after I got over the shock of that epiphany, added that writing is an act of creation.

"Yes!" she exclaimed, "you get it!"

But I didn't. It had to be pointed out to me, by my dear wife, who is a woman and an mother. Two things that I am not. Fundamentally not.

And so, for me, reading Breaking Dawn? I know many of you do not relate to that book. There are many things in it that I do not agree with either.

Funny how Book III has a quote from Edna St. Vincent Millay ... and funny how Rosalie and Bella grow so much closer in Breaking Dawn ... just saying (*cough* msr *cough*)

But there are things in there that I can and do learn from it. One is this: 'little nudger.' The intimacy that Bella has with her baby, from that very first morning sickness, when she realized what caused it? And the immediacy with which Bella connected with her fœtus? That is something that I had had a dispassionate, an intellectual, understanding of, even until now, even writing stories about women in the most intimate way from a woman's perspective, credibly.

As has been told to me, I cannot possibly be a man, because I write about a woman's monthly travail with accuracy: neither running from it nor glorifying it nor profaning it.

But this one little thing. This one fundamental thing.

When my cara spoza had our second (living) child, it was a very tough pregnancy, requiring an emergency C-section when it was found the two very serious (mortal) issues in the late-term could not be addressed other than immediate delivery.

Out popped little Isabel. And I saw the little blue-eyed nudger, and thought: oh, that's nice. And handed her off to my dear wife on the operating table, and she cried and exclaimed: "My baby!"

Did I get it then? Maybe. Maybe a little bit.

Can I get it now? Maybe. Maybe not. I can try. I can try, as hard as I can.

But I am not my sisters. I am not my wife. I am not my multiple-Palanca-award-winning Mother-in-law.

I do not have children in the way that they could or did.

And that experience ...

I write. I write stories. I write to make life a joy or to make it tolerable.

To try to understand.

Sometimes, my writing touches you, my dear reader. And for that, I am grateful. And sometimes you share your words of connection or anger or appreciation, and I am grateful for those. Very grateful.

And when you share with me, as my cara spoza did today, I learn a little bit of that ineffable mystery that is life, in something so simple, so fundamental as this: my baby.

Please tell me how my writing affects you. Please tell me where I go right and where I go wrong.

Because msr, and my other writings, are my babies, just as Steph has her own babies in Twilight, et al, and the words you say in comfort are a comfort to me, and the teaching words you say, teach me.

Has msr helped you? At all? Tell me. I'd like to know. And, in telling me, maybe, by forming those words in your review, you'll see something about yourself or about msr that you didn't until you articulated it.

That's what 'sharing' is: you grow in the sharing of it, and I grow in the learning from it, ... from you.

And I will reply to your review, and thank you for it, ...

And, yes, I am thinking about the next chapter of msr ... okay?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Steph Bug: a new Bree novella

Fear not, this post is spoiler-free.

So, my brother Mike was pleased to inform me that Steph is sending her latest Twilight novella to be available late June.

Mike knows more about Twilight current events than I do.

(One could actually see the waves of pleasure emanating from him as he reported this item of news.)

Upon hearing this news, I was so pleased and so sad.

I was so pleased, because if anybody needs her story told, it is Bree (the newborn spared by the Cullens in the final battle with Victoria in Eclipse, but then ...), and, as Twilight and Midnight Sun has shown, Steph has a way of writing that inspires others to write (case in point: the gajillion twilight fan-fiction stories out there on ffn, etc).

But I was so sad, too. So sad for Steph. Because of this: I've got the writer's bug bad.

When my muse attacks me, she is mercilessly vindictive, she won't let me rest until I write that piece she's screaming in my face to write. I can't not write that piece, because when I don't my life becomes more and more wretched. I've got the Marcus chapter of my story 13ways on hold now for half-a-year. It's been plaguing me every day. I've started in on the third chapter of "Her Transformation." It's more than a week now, but it just hurts, more and more, and, scarily, less and less (I feel the dulling and the numbing of my will) each day my mind turns to it, ... and then turns away.

It hurts me, almost physically, to keep a piece bottled up inside, and the only way to ease that pain is the publish the thing.

Case in point. The next night of msr. Please, don't remind me. I know exactly what happens. I know why. All I have to do is write it down. After I write the day. After I write the ...


So I'm sad for Steph for this reason.

Ever since she wrote those pages in Eclipse, she's been thinking about Bree, hasn't she? You have ... I know you have. Some of you even went on to write stories about her. So there's Steph, burning with this for years, until now it's published.

Whew! Glad that torture's over with, eh?

But if only it were so easy. MSR. What has it inspired in me? All my other stories. What has it inspired in others? Some of their stories.

What will Bree's story do to Steph, now that it's out there? Has she now been expiated? I hope so, for her sake, but given my experience with writing msr ...

So I'm sad for Steph, because by writing this world of Twilight, she infected me, and others, with this writers' bug. But, as the publication of the Bree novella shows, it appears she's been infected as well.

Poor Steph!

... and poor me! The Bree novella to come out in June? How can I wait all that time?

You: maybe by writing and publishing that next chapter of msr?

Um, thank you for not reminding me.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beautiful? Yes: Beautiful

I got it. I finally got it.

It's a little thing. It's a no-thing. But, as for all epi-phanies ('epi': upon, sudden), it's a big thing.

And the thing, this obvious thing, is this.

Bella has always seen herself as inadequate, but how so? In taking care of Charlie? No. In school? Yes, a bit (or more than a bit, depending on her confidence). But as compared to, primarily any of the those magical, mystical Cullens (and Hales)?

Yes. Big time.


Because she sees herself as nothing to look at, that is, as just the girl next door. Okay, I suppose, but just that, so she's floored at the attention from everybody in school, and simply lost at the attention paid upon her by a certain vampire that is, initially, just as confused why.

But then this vampire sees Bella's inner beauty: Bella sees the good in people, and sticks up for them, sees the good in them that they refuse to see, even the good in them if they are a vampire, or a werewolf or a jealous, duplicitous rival at school, or nearly anyone, and Bella will go to bat for them, too, even if they don't want her, too.

Bella is beautiful on the inside.

But than beauty can't help but shine forth to her outside. She is the 'girl next door' but, wait, isn't the girl next door beautiful?

I argue yes. Do you see a girl when she can't hold in that smile because she's so happy? Isn't she beautiful? No matter her hair color or eye color or her height or anything! She's just bursting with beauty, because she's just so beyond worrying about her looks, so you don't see a worrier, you see a girl, a happy, beautiful girl.

But when Bella looks in the mirror, the worry returns, and she starts to measure, and, in her own eyes, right or wrong, she just doesn't measure up.

Now let's take the opposite case. Rosalie Lillian Hale.

Tall, statuesque, Blond, ice-blue eyes, strikingly, breathtakingly beautiful ... "the most beautiful woman [no, person] in the world." (Eclipse, ch 7)

... on the outside.

But on the inside, and, as she believes, visible for all to see, she's a hurting, angry, bitter woman. Raped and left to die by her fiancé and then turned without her will nor permission to be a creature of pure evil. Hateful. Spiteful. Damaged goods. Irredeemable.

How bad does she see herself? Canonically? Well, there's plenty of examples, but here's one that hasn't explored before.

Rosalie found, and rescued, Emmett when she was hunting alone. (Eclipse, ch 7)

Now, why was she hunting alone? Has anybody every thought of the why of that? No, but I have been, recently, and here's one of the things I've come up with.

She sees what she does, what she is now, something so disgusting, so reprehensible, that she won't even allow other vampires see her hunt.

Other vampires hunt together. Case in point, Edward and Emmett were hunting together, and Edward watched Emmett 'play with his food' (dismember a bear) as they discussed the 'Bella Issue' (Midnight Sun, ch 7 "Melody"). There was no embarrassment, no delicate looking away as they hunted. And case in point, Bella and Edward hunted together for more than a couple of kills when she was a newborn (Breaking Dawn, Book III). That went easily and naturally and 'graceful'ly for both participants.

Rosalie hunts alone. Why? She can't stand to let anyone else see who she really is when she drops that ironclad self-control, because when she opens up by just that hairline crack, she's afraid others will see that real her within that stunningly beautiful shell. Because she knows what they'll see of tainted her.

Rosalie is so beautiful on the outside, but when she stares into those eyes of hers looking back at her from that mirror, mirror on her vanity, she knows what she sees, and it's black, but it's not beautiful.

So there's Rosalie, beauty queen with the twisted soul.

And so there's Bella, the plain brown girl next door, with the big heart.

And my epiphany was this.

In msr, chapter 55 ("Beautiful"), Rosalie works, and has been working so hard, to show Bella that she is indeed a beautiful person on the outside.

In msr, chapter 14 ("No Talking to Vampires!") and on, Bella has been daring, as hard as she can, to show Rosalie that she is a kind being, a person who can hope, because she is worthy of daring to hope.

Both girls see the beauty of the other where each does not see the possibility of beauty being there, and each girl has made it her mission to convince the other that she is beautiful, through and through.

And, msr can be views as the roman à clef that has been carrying that torch for more than a year now, but, ironically, it was not msr that gave me this insight, it was me, taking a break from writing, and reading the work of other authoresses, and seeing that Bella hesitancy in her stuttering speech, but her utter determination to reach past Rosalie's absolutely cold distance, and seeing that Rosalie hesitancy reaching out to Bella for someone, anyone, to talk to her as a person, not as an object to be adored or a sibling to fight, but just as a person, a being, possibly even capable of being loved, but her absolute demand that Bella never be other than the best of her best, no matter how coldly, cruelly and abruptly Rosalie expresses that demand...

Seeing that, I sat up, and said: "Eureka!"

Bella is beautiful, through and through.

Rosalie is beautiful, through and through.

Even though neither sees that as a possibility.

You know what? You are beautiful, too: even though you don't see that as a possibility. The next time somebody catches you with your guard down when you're so happy that you cannot hide your smile, and they say, "Hey, you have a beautiful smile."

The next time that happens. Know what that person just told you.

You are beautiful.

Because it's true.

Bella can be beautiful, even standing next to that goddess Rosalie Lillian Hale.

Rosalie can be beautiful, even standing next to that selfless great soul Bella.

You can be beautiful, just like Bella, just like Rosalie, but most importantly, just like yourself.

Because you are.

Do you know what epiphany really means? It's God revealing Himself to us. Epi-phany: "Suddenly Revealed" How? By us seeing Him, face to face. So the modern philosophical interpretation, and how I try to live my life, is to see God in the face of the person in front of you, for after all, we are created in the image and likeness of God [Gen 1:27], so His Face shines forth, through yours.

This may do nothing for you, but it does everything for me, because, for me, it means that I try, all the time, to see the real you when I'm talking with you and listening to you, and for me, when I'm doing this, it's easy to see you and the beauty of you.

My epiphany. Bella is beautiful; Rosalie is beautiful, and each tries to convince the other of that fact.

You are beautiful. Convince yourself of that fact. And maybe there's somebody who needs to hear that they are beautiful, and maybe you are the person to tell them this. And, sometimes, guess what? When you tell them this, and they really get it, don't they become even more beautiful? And doesn't that do you a world of good, knowing you helped that one person to see their own beauty that you've seen hidden and revealed here and there?

You have that beauty, too.

Just like Bella, through and through. Just like Rosalie, through and through.

Just like you, through and through.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 2010 stats

On as of February 28, 2010, 9 am EDT, 3845 pages viewed by 1100 readers:

Country Trophies:

Holy Crow (double-digit ratio): Venezuela, Sweden
Improved: USA, Philippines, Australia, UK, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico
Up, Up, and Away (improved ratio twice or more in a row): USA(x2), Philippines, Ireland, Germany(x2), Venezuela, UK(x2), Australia
Reversi (reversed a downward ratio with an upward one): Philippines, UK(x3), Australia(x3), USA(x2), Brazil, Ireland, Canada
Kicking butt (4.0 ratio or higher): Australia, Philippines, Argentina, Austria, Ireland, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden
Player: Australia, USA, United Kingdom, Philippines, Spain, Finland, Canada, Chile, Italy, Indonesia, Netherlands, South Africa, Norway, Argentina, Austria, New Zealand, Ireland, Venezuela, Peru, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden
Top 10er (Feb 2010): USA, UK, Australia, Ireland, Philippines, Canada, Germany, Venezuela, Brazil, Sweden
Comeback Kid (got knocked off the list, but then returned): Germany(x2), Finland
Golden (50 or more page views): USA, Philippines, Ireland, Australia, UK, Brazil, Venezuela, Sweden, Canada, Mexico, Germany

Medal holders, 2010 (best medal shown):

Gold: USA
Silver: UK, Canada
Bronze: Australia

It's been crazy, and I've been lazy ('crazy-lazy! They sound the same!' I love my daughters, if you didn't know), but here are the month's totals ... see you all on the other side, and thank you for reading!

Blow by blow: the UK, at the very end, surged to 2nd place, earning the silver. Germany made an 11th hour come-back, regaining the list, knocking Mexico off.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Love Never Dies"? Well, yeah ...

I don't know if you've noticed, but I've come out pretty strongly on some views. Edward, Bella, Rosalie, James, Alice, even, Emmett, even, Esme, even.



Well, because "Now is all we have," and it may just be fan-fiction, but you're reading it or you're writing it. What are you reading? And what are you writing?

Or has been my case, what am I not writing?

Did you know Plato espoused censorship? Even book-burning and execution of authors who put forward dangerous ideas? He had a rival philosopher put to death. Did you know that?

Do you know why?

Because, even as I do not agree with his conclusions, I do agree with his concern, because you become who you associate with and what you read.

You become what you think about all the time.

So, do you use the characters in your stories? Well, then, it's a very easy step to use people to achieve your ends in actual life. And that's why I appear so vitriolic when I'm defending the characters or their use in a story. Why is Edward a playah? Or Bella a clumsy, clueless (stupid) girl, or Alice a shopaholic, or James a story-wrecker?

They aren't. Unless you treat them that way. They have depth, just as the people around you do. Your boss or your teacher is a person, too. Just like you. And deserves to be treated with the dignity they have innately. Just like you.

Respect. Or: "R.e.s.p.e.c.t." as I've heard sung.

So, now I'm going to address love in this entry. And Love.

So you're reading a story or you're writing a story, and it's called Twilight and Edward leaves Bella. But you know it's going to be okay, because there are two more books in the series and this is Edward and this is Bella ... so you know it has to be okay, right? Because "Love conquers all" and "Love never fails," right?

So you're reading a story or you're writing a story, and you have your Edward leave your Bella, because you know they're going to get back together, because they have to, right? Because this is Edward and Bella after all, right?

Stop. Please stop.

Yeah: "Love never fails." But that's capital-L "Love." But what happens for us here in the real world? What happens when A leaves B? What is the success rates of LDRs? ("Long Distance Relationships").

Isn't it a wonderful story when you hear of an LDR that worked out? You know what those stories are called? "Fairy tales." I've been through college, and I've had friends who worked, worked hard, at their LDRs. The success ratio of those efforts?

Near zero.

And those are LDRs where both parties worked hard to maintain their connection. What happens when A says to B, "I have to leave you [for your own good]"?

In the real world? I believe the phrase "It's all over but the singing." And that's why, in Twilight, Bella worked so hard, so desperately, to stop Edward from leaving, and when he left, that's why she descended into a depression so deep there were doctors in the house bandying the word "catatonia."

Because she knew. She knew it was game over, because in the real world, it is game over, and the counter example you come up with (if you can come up with even one) only highlights the incredible oddity of an LDR that worked, because, in reality, they don't work.

So, you wish to read or to write something romantic? Then, please, don't read nor write, a piece where the Edward leaves the Bella ... because coming back?

Bella: "Oh, Edward, so nice to see you again after all these months. Have you met my new boyfriend Jacob?"

And it's not because Bella is the playah. No. Because wouldn't it be even sadder to hear:

Bella: "Oh, Edward, I've missed you so much all these months. I put my life on hold and was hospitalized and tried suicide a few times but now you're back everything's okay, right?"

What's Edward's answer to the stalker-crazy girl?

Twilight took the opposite approach to this scenario: Bella goes to rescue Edward. But what happens in reality? There's no rescuing. There's no going back. You go to college, she goes to college. You marry. She marries. And maybe you think about her once every few years.


This is the reality of this world. This is the reality of this life.

And my concern, my grave concern, when I read stories like New Moon and the many, many fan-fiction pieces (that I no longer read) that follow in the footsteps of New Moon is that this "fairy tale" — this lie — is spreading to you, my dear readers and writers, and your character is being formed around this lie.

Because "Love never fails" but that's because Love is cultivated all day, every day. The moment love, or Love, is withdrawn or taken for granted or ignored, it begins to wither and ends up dead.

And "Edward left Bella, but that's okay, because 'Love conquers all'" is not okay. But if you read that or if you write that, you are poisoning yourself and others with this dangerous romantic notion that you can treat your beloved like this and it all works out.

Real romanticism?

Edward stays. Edward stays and works on himself, becoming worthy of Bella's love. And Bella stays, and, instead of thinking of herself as a nothing, works on herself to be worthy of Edward's adoration. And each helps each other in their work of being worthy of each other's love.

That's a real story. A real fairy tale with a real happy ending achieved each and every day, in fact. Because that, in the real world, is so rare to find these days in the Western World (both the Old World and the New). But unlike the fairy tale of 'A leaves B and they live happily ever after after A comes back', the possible tale of 'A stays with B' can accomplished by a you and by a me.

And as for the romanticism of that? Of "Edward stays with Bella"?

Boring? No.

"Chop wood, carry water" may not have the exciting ring to it of "Bella almost died jumping off a cliff today" but the curse of the Buddha is also a blessing. Novelty and excitement, contrarily, dull the senses and numb the mind. It is when you are doing something like holding your lover's hand for the twenty-fifth time, or the hundredth time or the time beyond counting that you notice, more, the softness of it, of her, and the kindness in her eyes.

It's the hundredth argument, where, somehow, miraculously, you manage to say "I'm sorry" and you reach a rapprochement that you say to yourself. "Wow. This is love. She loves me, and I love her, and we love each other."

And boring to read? No. Boring to write? No. Boring to live? No.

If you think so, perhaps you haven't experienced working on a relationship after the "first bloom fades"? Then let me tell you, a relationship "over the long haul" weathers storms from without and within. There are fireworks in a long-term relationship ... the fiery kind of fireworks (both kinds exciting).

But I can't say that I've experienced a relationship where the "first bloom fades," because, for me, my personal relationship? I still see her with the eyes of when I first saw her, nearly twenty years ago, and I see the changes she's made over those years, too. I have the advantages of both worlds: I'm seeing her, again, for the first time, and have the benefit of her wisdom over these years we've been together.

Boring? Quite the opposite, in fact.

Challenging, though? Yes. How can you write Bella and Edward holding hands for the one hundredth time and make it feel like it's the very first time going into Forks High School?

The same question can be asked by them. "How can I hold Bella's hand for the hundredth time, and still have it meaningful to her and to me?"

It is a real challenge. Just like love is. And Love. Because, yes, "Love conquers all" but that means there's a fight to win. That means it's a struggle.

And isn't that interesting to read and to write? The struggle through adversity, and then the victory, and the victory is sweet.

And after the victory, the next struggle, because things are always changing ... it just depends on which direction: growing or dying. And you and your beloved or you and what you read or what you write choose that direction, every day.

Love is a delicate, fragile thing. It needs constant cultivation. It doesn't need to be sabotaged by A leaving B, either because they are compelled by outside forces or by their own choice.

Because I've seen what happens when that happens, personally. But, sometimes, I've seen what happens when A stays, and I like reading that story, I like writing that story ... I like living that story.

p.s. St. Valentine, Martyr for the Faith, pray for us.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 2010 stats

On as of January 31, 2010, 9 am EDT, 5,142 pages viewed by 1,524 readers:

3.United Kingdom2801262.2-
7.New Zealand94224.3v

Country Trophies:

Holy Crow (double-digit ratio): Korea, Republic of, Argentina
Improved: USA, Malaysia, Chile, Germany, Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom, Philippines
Up, Up, and Away (improved ratio twice or more in a row): Malaysia(x7), Germany, Canada(x5), Chile, United Kingdom(x2), Philippines(x2)
Reversi (reversed a downward ratio with an upward one): USA(x4), Canada(x5), Brazil, Philippines(x2), United Kingdom, Chile
Kicking butt (4.0 ratio or higher): Philippines, USA, Australia, Sweden, Vietnam, Korea, Republic of, Bulgaria, Chile, France, Canada, Argentina, New Zealand, Malaysia
Player: Philippines, USA, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Russia, Costa Rica, Germany, Brazil, Denmark, Mexico, Singapore, Sweden, Chile, Vietnam, Korea, Republic of, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Argentina
Top 10er (Jan 2010): United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Australia, Philippines, New Zealand, Chile, Germany, Argentina
Comeback Kid (got knocked off the list, but then returned): Brazil, Chile, France, Germany
Golden (50 or more page views): USA, Malaysia, Australia, United Kingdom, Chile, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Argentina, Philippines

Wow! Your page views have pushed this site to 5,142 for the month, more than 1,000 hits more than the previous record of 4057 in November 2009; thank you all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Now is all we have."

Rosalie told Bella this in chapter 35 ("With the Depression On") of MSR: "Now is all we have."

Why? Well, because Bella is mortal. She can die at any time, by Rosalie's hand (intentful or compelled) or otherwise.

In fact, the prior night, in chapter 22 ("Compulsion"), Bella almost did die.

So what happens next?

Well, in fact, three possibilities:

  • Nothing happens because MSR didn't happen, it's an echo of a thought and concern for both Bella and Rosalie. The seriousness of it made light through their (not particularly friendly yet) banter, but the seriousness of it still there in their minds. This was told in Rose Read, ch 10 ("Fragile") by Jocelyn Torrent.

  • Rosalie returns in time to save Bella, and that story continues to Rosalie's statement. This is the continuation of MSR in ch 23 ("Rosalie Needs a Guy Like Me") ... Bella's not a guy, by the way.

  • Or ... Rosalie doesn't return in time. Bella dies. And Rosalie goes on. And on and on and on. This is told by Rosalie in my one-shot story "Reminiscence."

In each of these alternatives, Rosalie sees our girl’s end. What she does with what she sees is very different in each of the tellings. Very different, but, as she is Rosalie, very Rosalie.

But it's just fan-fiction, so there's no lesson to be learned here.

Is there?


Or ask Rosalie the question ... her captive was this close. This close. And she’s doing what because of this knowledge?

Good thing this is just fiction, eh? For we could never lose someone we love just like that ... for we could never be taken away from the ones we love just like that ...

Yeah. Good thing this is just fiction.

"Now is all we have," Rosalie tells Bella, justifying her verbal onslaught and determined rage.

"Now is all we have."

Am I treating the ones I love with dignity and respect and love? Will I be able to say that I was glad to have that last second with them or that I regret the last second and how I treated them?

Because this second could be the last one. Because this second is the last one, for somebody, for at least 3,000 somebodies, at least and in fact.

I hope not find myself living Rosalie's "Reminiscence." I hope that.

... Not that, ahem, I’m stating a position here about any feelings any character may or may not have for any other character in this story ...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

James, the story-wrecker

"James, the story-wrecker"

aka "Don't Ask Me to Read Your Fan Fiction, II"

aka "You can have it both ways, but that hurts"

Okay, this isn't about James, the vampire, per se, but about the plot element I've read in story after story and I've simply gotten sick of it, and I am now so fuming at you, my dear authoress, when you ask me to "please read my story, because it has something to say, but only if you want to, but I really wish that you would because ..."

Okay, look, let me explain something to you. Okay, so, you've read my caveat scriptor, and you can spell your name and you know the difference between 'lay' and 'lie' and 'defiantly' and 'definitely.' So you know how to spell ... heck, you even use the semi-colon appropriately.

Good for you.

So let's take it to the next level: writing a story that worth reading by not writing a story not worth reading.

See, Stephenie Meyer wrote this vampire story, and you may like it or you may not, but now you are writing a vampire story with her characters.

That's great. I am, too. Howdy. Nice ta meetcha.

Good so far. Yes. And your Bella has met your Edward and everything's wonderful.


But now they are in a relationship, so, instead of developing that relationship, you panic. Because what's to write about if the characters can now kiss?

What indeed?

Well, let's throw some action in there, eh? You know, mix it up a bit to take the readers' eyes off the fact that I'm stuck story- and character-development-wise with a good ole fight scene and a revenge quest.

I know, you crow, let's introduce James into the mix.


That my dear authoress is a very, very bad move, for two reasons. What two reasons? you ask the geophfster.

I'm glad you asked.

  1. The first and foremost reason that this is bad is that if I wanted to read Twilight again, I would read Twilight again. The reason why I was reading your story (but am now longer reading your story, if you didn't get the hint) was because your piece of fan-fiction was supposed to be saying something to me about the Twilight characters in your story.

    Your story? Right? Meaning: something you have to say about the characters that Steph didn't say. So, what does that mean? That means if you have something unique to say about the Twilight characters, then either your story is canonical or it is not (the fan fiction term is AU: alternate universe). If your story is canonical in the plot, then you are telling it from Alice's POV in Lunière or from Edward's in Midnight Sun or ... something!

    So in that case James is present on the baseball field, but I'm probably not reading that story.

  2. If it's not a canonical story, then its an AU story, and then guess what? The same events are not happening because Alice gets hit by a truck or ... something! Do you know what that means? It means ... Oh! my Goodness! ... you can write your own story! ... with your own plot developments! ... you can even ... dare I say? ... take the time to develop your story, your characters and their relationships. You know? You don't have to write an actioner if you are writing a relationship piece.

    When you introduce James, the story-wrecker, the action guy in a relationship fic, you know what you've just done? You've just wrecked your own story. Just like Bonne Foi was wrecked by James. Just like Twilight was wrecked.

Did you notice that Twilight is actually two stories? It's one story pre-James-wreckage and it's ... well, it's not a story after that at all anymore, now, is it? It's an actioner. It's a thriller.

Bring out Michael Jackson for an ensemble dance during the cat and mouse chase scenes.

That might've actually improved the story ...

You don't have to wreck your own story just because Steph chose to wreck hers. You really don't.

When I read James appearing out of nowhere in a story, I stop reading that story. I don't care if it has over 10,000 reviews, like Bonne Foi will.

But now that you've wrecked your story with James, you have to go ahead whole hog with wrecking your story, don't you? So now you have your Edward abandon your Bella, because, well, Steph did that. Even if your Edward isn't actually Edward, but is Alice or Rosalie or somebody like that.

Look. Edward left Bella because Edward is Edward. But anybody else leaving Bella?

They wouldn't.

Bella:"Don't leave me, X!"
X:"Nah, I'm going to leave you, even though I love you, because I'm a proxy Edward."

So now your character is OOC themselves and IC Edward? And you want me to read a story about your Alice or Rosalie or Jasper or whomever being Edward, even though I hate his behaviors to my bones and marrow, why again?

Look. You aren't Steph. You are writing your story. You aren't writing hers. She wrote a multi-million seller. Go, Steph. I'm proud of her.

But make me proud of you. Find your own voice and write your own story, please.

No, don't make me proud of you.

Make you proud of you.

Are you writing your own story? Well, then, for Heaven's sake: write your own story!

I give you permission. You have your own story to tell. Tell that story.


So does that mean you can't use James, then?

No, it doesn't mean that. It means that your Bella has to meet James with the Cullens because Steph's did? No, it doesn't mean that either.

Huh? you ask.

Okay, example, then. And plot spoiler. James shows up in my story. And Victoria. And Laurent. Well, actually just James. But where? Where people meet vampires: in the city in a secluded alley. And does Bella meet him? No, Rosalie's other girl meets him. And with vampire protection? No, because vampires avoid each other. And what does James do? James does what any vampire does.

Dinner time.

Sure you can introduce James, but put him in a realistic place (yes, 'realistic place' ... I said that about vampires) and have him act realistically. James going on the hunt against a coven of seven vampires?

James is over three hundred years old. He values his fun, yes, but he values his existence.

"Hm. Bella smells temping, but against seven vamps? This other person in the next state will probably taste just as nice, I wager."

And your vamp lover leaving Bella for her safety with a vampire hunting her?

Only Edward is that stupid, please don't dumb your character down that much, because should you choose that, then here is one reader not reading about stupid characters stupidly ignoring their more than seventy years of experience to make stupid choices.

After all, if I wish to do that, I can reread Twilight. I was reading your piece because I thought I was learning what you have to say about the characters.

You can't do that if you are fitting plot elements of Steph's story into yours pel mel ... and to what end? Your story is better than Steph's. Or it was until James the story-wrecker showed up, sans reasonable justification, god-like out of nowhere, yes: deus ex machina. I don't read contrivances. You want me to read your piece, then don't write contrivances, and don't write Steph's story.

Write yours.


AU:Alternate Universe
IC:In Character
OOC:Out of Character
POV:Point of View

Friday, January 8, 2010

Eternity vs. Butt Patting

So, my most recent chapter of MSR, ch 55 ("Beautiful"), was about beauty and death. What did everybody take away from it?

Butt patting.



So, I'm not going to fight it here. I'm just going to allow one authoress, Avarenda, speak about what butt patting means to vampires: the inner torment they suffer at said butt patting.

What I meant by Rosalie 'torturing herself' was that Rosalie (by touching Bella in an intimate manner) is torturing herself by metaphorically getting a taste of the 'forbidden fruit.' Of course, as far as sampling forbidden fruit goes, touching Bella's butt isn't that big of a deal.

HOWEVER, when you factor in the fact that Rosalie WILL NEVER forget what Bella's ass felt like (for as long as she exists) it might be a certain type of agony to recall. Especially when Bella is long gone. (Or even just in the middle of the night when Rose has nothing to distract herself from thinking about it)

I guess (for Rose) we should compare Bella to heroin. Trying it even once will only make her crave for more, than again. Perhaps I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill. I guess we'll see.


Butt patting, it seems then is like heroin for vampires, more tempting, even, than blood. Who would have known?

Rosalie sure didn't.

Until she patted Bella's "very cute" butt.