Friday, August 16, 2013

A Thank You Note to Stephenie Meyers

 My twin daughters are leaving for college in a few weeks. Among their piles of items to be packed and things to be left behind are several copies of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books. We have several copies because, just like the Harry Potter books, no one was willing to wait for a sibling/parent to read the book, so we—Natalie, Miranda and Nathan (sorry son, I’m ratting you out. I know your manhood can withstand this) and I— all had to buy our own copies.

In the past few weeks I’ve seen snippets of Stephenie Meyer blurbs on the internet. Seems she’s producing the movie version of Shannon Hale’s Austenland (loved that book, can’t wait for the movie.) According the sound bites, Ms. Meyer is “so over” the Twilight series, but before she closes the book, I want to say thank you.

I’m one person out of the millions who read her books (all of them)but I thought I would share some of my Twilight memories. Probably my favorite is the night I sat on Aunt Becca’s deck, my daughters on either side of me. We were in Washington, the stars are brighter there because it’s not as populated as our home in Orange County, California, and we talked about vampires and werewolves that may or may not have been hiding the woods behind Aunt Becca’s house. I also remember a Twilight themed book club meeting, a gathering of girls from age 12 to 80, laughing until we cried. Shortly after the first movie came out, a 60 year old friend called me. “I’ve seen it 7 times. I’m beginning to think I maybe obsessed.” Another friend told me that in the midst of her failing marriage, Twilight became her safe place. She would sometimes just go out and sit in her car because she had nowhere else to go and read.

I didn’t love the movies, but I LOVED watching them with my daughters and my friends. When the second movie came out a woman I don’t know sat down in the theater next to my 40-something friend (a relief society president and mother of four.) The woman said to my friend, “I thought I would sit here because I can’t stand it when all the girls scream whenever Jacob or Edward takes off their shirts.” (Big clue here—this couldn’t have been the first time this woman had seen the movie.)My friend looked her in the face and said, “You should move then, because I intend to scream.” “You can’t be serious,” the woman replied. “Oh, I’m very serious. I’m looking forward to screaming,” my friend said.
El Ateneo in Buenos Aires, Argentina--the most fabulous bookstore I've ever seen.

A few years later I was in a Buenos Aires book store and I spotted a life size cardboard likeness of Edward. I actually got tears in my eyes thinking of how far and what an impact, Ms. Meyers has had on the world. She really accomplished what Lord Byron meant when he said, “But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.”
Does the world need to think about vampires and werewolves? Maybe, maybe not. I can’t speak for the world, but for me—I’m so glad I had a chance to sit under the stars with my girls and talk about boyfriends, both the good and the bad, I liked laughing until I cried in a room full of girls, some young and some old, I’m grateful my friend had a safe place to escape to—even if it was only to her car, and I loved screaming in a movie theater filled almost entirely with my gender.

So, Ms. Meyers, before my daughters put their copies in their respective boxes and carry them away to attic storage, thank you for the Twilight memories. Thank you for all the laughter, tears and screaming. Thank you for sharing your stories. 

Disclaimer. Given the choice, I would rather have my girls grow up to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer than Bella. Do I want some kid climbing in my daughter's window at night? No. Don't even try it. I will kill you. Did I love the way the series ended? Yes and no. No because I was disappointed. Yes, because I thought I knew how it would end, so now I'm writing my own series (sorry, no vampires, no werewolves) on how I thought the series would have/should have ended. Again--thank you, Ms. Meyers. You have inspired me.

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