Sunday, February 9, 2014

'O' is for 'old-fashioned'

A reader writes to me: "I just want them to admit what's going on. Not just having them seemingly fight 24/7!!"

My response was 'brief' and 'to the point.'

Was that irony? Anyway, my response:

Hm, yes. You may be forgetting the time and the place. Montana was newly incorporated as a State and homosexuality was illegal: you could get hanged for that in some States. This is the Depression, and the 'Roaring 20s,' and its licentiousness, were blamed for the dark years of the 30s.

And shame was a big component of relationships then: holding hands was a big deal, it said you were getting married, and kissing was never seen, in public nor even at home.

Yes, our girls aren't dealing with a lot of stuff, but, on the other hand, they're dealing with a lot more, and a lot more openly, than their contemporaries were.

For Rosalie or Bella to say 'I love you' day three together? In the 1930's? Anachronistic. And why would they, anyway, and how would it work if they did? Would they be accepted in society? Would guilt overwhelm Lizzie?

Or were you looking for easy answers and the happily ever after with birds singing as they frolicked off into the sunset, holding hands?

For them to admit what's going on, they'd have to acknowledge it, and this 'something' never, ever went on, publicly, in the starch, conservative West, ever. And in private it surely didn't either, because they wouldn't admit it to their friends, nor even to themselves. They would just look at each other, afterward, (after what? the admission), and avoid each other as much as possible without causing a scene.

So what can they do?

Nothing. Nothing but fight and be angry with each other and themselves.

MSR is a fairy tale, but it is readable and credible because these are things people are dealing with, even today, and even here.

Or: if Rosalie is the one for Lizzie, and Lizzie is the one for Rosalie, aren't they worth fighting for? Aren't they worth every fiber of their being?

"Why can't we all just get along?" is a hopeless, stupid cry, because we can't all just get along, we're not all exactly the same, we're not all robots following some totalitarian plan, we're, each of us, a person, with our own thought and feelings on how to get by, on what's right and what's wrong, our own petty fears and jealousies, and for some people, saying: "Hey, I love you, I really do," are the scariest words they'll ever say, and it may take more than everything they've got. It may take a miracle for someone to risk it all with that one person with whom they can risk nothing, because if they do risk it, they might lose, and so what's the point?

How do you say 'next!' after Rosalie? Or how does Rosalie say 'next' after her Lizzie?

She can't.

And so we're stuck until somebody rises above herself and their petty differences. Bella did that, a little bit, already when she said 'no, not this game anymore,' ... and then she instantly chickened out. Did you see how she chickened out?

Two steps forward, three steps back, but that's still progress, because at least they're stepping forward, at least they are taking action and doing something different, something new, something nobody else in the world at that time is even trying to do, everybody else is just trying to scrape by or to scalp the scrapers, this is the beginning of the end of individuality in America: the 1930s where the little guy is overwhelmed by market forces and Big Business.

Rosalie and Lizzie are thinking and doing things on their own, and these things are unlike what everybody else in America have submitted themselves to.

MSR. Slow going? At least it's going, and going somewhere: somewhere different, somewhere new. And you can jump, you can take that leap of faith, and find that there are, indeed jagged rocks, three thousand feet down at the bottom of the chasm, or, you can take little tiny baby steps forward, fighting (each other) all the way, and make progress, not fast progress, but it does take forever in the cocoon for a caterpillar to become a butterfly.

Or you can leap, instantly, and get right to that happy ending. There are many, many fanfiction pieces out there that are 'Oh, Bella, Oh, Edward, kiss-kiss-kiss! YAY!'

How many books were Twilight? How many pages were Harry Potter? My story is only 347k words, so far, that's a rather small book, and only three days in the cabin, that's a rather short amount of time to demand that two girls get over themselves AND their societal mores and get on with the show.

MSR can be read in one sitting. I know more than several who have done just that.

But it's not T2: Judgement Day, it's not a bang-up show nor a wham, bam, thank you, ma'am story. It is a fine wine, not to be gulped, enjoyed so much more savored, isn't it so?

Or perhaps I'm just old-fashioned that way.

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