Thursday, January 07, 2010

I've Gone To The Dark Side

Okay, I admit it. Sometimes I can be a real literary snob. But after a BA and an MA in English, which required me to read approximately 500 works of English literature in 5 1/2 short years (all of which were considered classics), I started to scoff at certain types of books.

And since an MA in English is about as useless as an advanced degree in Bird Calling, I've tried (tried being the key word) to put a little distance between myself and what I considered overly-commercialized drivel. I have an image to maintain, right? Snobbish-literary-type, playing-bongos-in-some-smokey-dive, composing-odes-to-Kafka-on-a-cocktail-napkin. You get the picture.

Enter Twilight. I read all the articles, all the reviews, watched the hysterical swooning, saw how one little book about teenaged vampires turned the world on its head, and Masters in English Brittany sniffed disdainfully at all that nonsense and went on reading "big girl" books. You want me to read a young adult, sci-fi vampire book? Please.

But there is a part of me that pays attention to pop culture, and when talk about Stephanie Meyer and her stupid vampire books wouldn't go away, I became curious. The writer in me was curious about the writing. The sleep-deprived mom in me wondered what in the hell would possess my son's preschool teacher (another mom) to stay up well past midnight to watch New Moon the night it hit theaters. Was I missing something?

So for Christmas, I asked Tom to get me the series, and being Tom, he looked at me like I'd just casually asked him to buy me a crack pipe. But he got me the first three books (and didn't buy me the fourth because it was still in hardback and he didn't want to pay hardback prices if I hated the books) and New Year's Eve, I parked my butt on the couch and read ALL THREE BOOKS straight through.

I haven't read books with that much enthusiasm in I don't even know how long. Maybe never. I was able to put Harry Potter down at least, albeit reluctantly. With the Twilight series, the house could have been on fire and I would gladly have gone up in smoke to read just one more page.

So that was uncharacteristic for me. But even stranger still, reading about Edward and Bella appears to have tripped my circuit breaker back into the "on" position, and as long as I am under the Twilight spell, I can write and write and write. I actually had to leave Tom twice in the middle of a conversation yesterday because words and phrases kept popping into my head and I felt this odd (and lately, all but forgotten) compulsion to go write those things down RIGHT THEN.

It's been a very odd couple of days.

Since I finished the first three books, I haven't been able to sleep. Or at least sleep deeply. All night my brain is working away, re-imagining scenes, analyzing the words, the moods, the tone, the characters, the use of adverbs (usually a no-no), the use of modifiers (also a no-no), the way Stephanie Meyer describes every little nuance of every single facial expression, tone of voice, shade of skin. My brain wants to learn everything it can. I've been so manic about the whole thing that I sat down and read Midnight Sun (Twilight told from Edward's perspective)--the result was a new fleshed out chapter from my own male protagonist's point-of-view--and then, when I thought I was well and truly going to lose my mind if I didn't read Breaking Dawn, bought it yesterday and read it straight through, and rented the movie Twilight today. And will probably sneak off to watch New Moon this weekend.

I may need a twelve step program after this.

But I'm not one to turn down a gift Muse, in whatever guise she appears, and if vampire love is what it takes to get me writing feverishly again (and I can't tell you how good it is to feel obsessive compulsive again), then I'll take it.


  1. Yeah, I read all 4 in 2 days. Welcome to the Dark side, we have chocolate.

  2. Wow! I too, with my MA in Literature etc, have avoided reading these books. But maybe, just maybe I'll give them a try!! Now I'm really curious. Good luck with the muse - long may she grace your writing.

  3. Despite my groaning pile of new books beside my bed, i might just have to go and get them. Did you ever read Anne Rice? I was like that wth her vampire snd witche series which is very odd since i wouldn't be into them at all. but, like you say, if it gets you writing, keep reading! After a rather too long lethargic hiatus, i too find myself sparking like fuse box at the moment - i have a notebook in every room so i can write. Good omen for 2010??

  4. Oh yeah I gave in this past year. I think my husband thought I had lost it because I didn't hear anything he said for a couple weeks. I borrowed the books from a friend and pretty much showed up on her doorstep begging for the second one. :) Anything that inspires you to write and you should soak it up!

  5. I *liked* Anne Rice and read her books with some interest, kind of in the same way that I like vanilla ice cream and will eat it if it's in the fridge. Twilight, on the other hand, was like a PMS-crazed binge on dark Godiva chocolate ice cream infused with dark chocolate pieces, chocolate sauce, and ribbons of fresh raspberries. No comparison whatsoever...

    I'm totally gone, right? :-P

  6. Nope, I feel that way too.
    Have you read the Host? If not, you should. Not as absorbing as Twilight, but still very good.
    And after I finished the Twilight books, I got DH to read them cause I told him I had to be able to talk about them with someone over the age of 14. He did, and liked them as well. Now I know he loves me.

  7. I think Twilight should be required reading for all men. I told Tom if he talked to me like Edward talked to Bella, I could guarantee he'd get lucky at least once a day...

    Still working on him... Eventually he'll cave. :-P

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  9. OMG! You are hilarious. I too have scoffed at the vampire novel thing that is spreading like wildfire everywhere, but haven't given it a chance yet. Maybe I will now. You definitely gave me a new perspective on it. On another note, I just found your awesome site on mummy mania and am following you now. You are AWESOME. Can't wait to read more from you. And can I just say that the pic of your kids in that dog crate is...well...genius. Now I know how to get in more writing time. Thanks for the tip. Please come visit me sometime too if you want. I'm a mommy blogger from the US and I'm writing a book too. Here is my linky if you want to visit sometime:

  10. Thanks for following me Naomi! I'm so flattered you like my blog. You made my week. :-)

  11. Anonymous6:03 PM

    Hi, just read your blog (obviously). Now you have me thinking I should start reading the Twilights. Saw the movie for the first time last week and, though it was very teenage romance central - it did get me in. I do love a good book you can get lost in. Look foward to reading more of your bloggins over 2010.


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