So, about a year ago, I watched all 5 Twilight movies in two days.
Anyone who knows me can tell you I almost had a nervous breakdown over this series. As a longtime writer of vampire stories, I was…offended. I was angry. I was jealous. It made me feel like I couldn’t write about vampires anymore. Not if I wanted to be published. It forced my hand, if you will, and I was VERY upset.
Given this, why, OH, why, did I watch the movies? For one, I was sick that weekend. For second…well…let’s see if I can explain it.
First let me start off by saying, I never wanted to read the books. Well, I wanted to because I fell in love with the cover of Twilight, the original one with the stupid apple on the cover. I tried to talk myself into buying it, that’s how much I loved the cover. But the inside pages just didn’t appeal to me. When the first movie came out, I remembered how I didn’t want to read said book and decided to pass on the film as well. No big deal. Just a decision I was making based on the fact that I thought it’d be a little gooey and mushy for my taste, as that’s why I didn’t want to read the book. I had no problem with the franchise or the author or anything. I’m always happy when books get turned into movies. I love the interpretation, and quite frankly, I would love it for myself one day.
Fast forward a few months and everyone started bugging me about it. And by everyone, I mean EVERYone. Strangers, friends, family. It was constant. If I told people I wrote about vampires, they jumped on me: “Have you read Twilight? Have you seen it? It’s the greatest thing ever! OMG, you HAVE to watch it NOW!!!!” And no, I’m not exaggerating. Strangers, people. Sometimes I wouldn’t even say anything about vampires. I would just say Hi and they would shove it down my throat. Not exaggerating.
At first it was just annoying. Then it made me mad. By the end of the year, I was one bitter, bitter melon about it. I went from simply not being interested and forgetting about it to hating the series, the writer, the scriptwriter, the cast, the production studio, the directors (didn’t even know anyone’s name, mind you). I hated the whole franchise and every time I saw or heard anything about it I wanted to bitch-slap someone. It was just like, leave me alone, already!! And for the next 5 or 6 years, I refused to even watch 3 minutes of it.
It became a button. Guaranteed to send me on a raging RANT. So bad, my siblings had to mouth the word “twilight” around me or I might burst into a hysterical fit of tears.
Then I came across “Reasoning With Vampires,” a tumblr blog that broke the book down and then ripped it to shreds. Some of it was nitpicky stuff, some of it was legitimate. At the end of the day though, I just found it a little unnecessary. I mean, it’s fine. She hated it and needed to vent. No problem. But I found myself almost wanting to defend it. I mean, I hated that book. I seriously blamed it for ruining my life. (Yes, I’m dramatic.) Picking on Meyer for horrible description and sentences half a page long is one thing, but jumping down her throat over a sentence fragment or a misplaced comma? I mean, does the sentence still make sense? Is it really a big deal? Shouldn’t she had been more angry at the editor who let that crap slide? Like really. It’s not the author’s fault that she doesn’t know her grammar shiz. The editor’s hands are on it last, right? They should know their mechanical stuff, right? I mean, really. But all the nitpicking was making me kind of want to hug Stephanie Meyer, and it was messing with my brain! So I stopped reading it lest I pick up the book and start reading it myself.
So yeah, after that blog, I started to calm down some. SOME. I still wanted to bitch-slap people for bringing it up, and I still wanted to burn the movies whenever I crossed paths with them. However, I no longer feared I’d have a psychotic meltdown over it. Progress. I guess I have the blog to thank for that.
So back to the movies. I had this random dream one night, about 7 months or so after visiting the blog. I found myself in a writing slump, like really unmotivated and crap. I was becoming a little unglued to be honest. That day, I had talked to a friend, vented to my mom, and passed out on the couch from exhaustion. That night I had a dream that someone slipped Twilight into my suitcase while I was on vacation. (I had not been thinking about the book, but earlier that day a friend did randomly bring the last movie up at the coffee shop — yakked about how much she loved it. Pissed me off a little.) Anyway, I read the book and loved it!
Now, this was a dream. I still didn’t want to read the book in real life; I’m convinced it would drive me crazy. But I started thinking…I could watch the movies. And I wondered something…have I been cured of this bitter-crap? Like really, did God reach down a hand and just take it from me while I slept? Only one way to find out. (Yes, I believe dreams have healing powers sometimes.) So…I watched the first movie. Felt no rage whatsoever. I even enjoyed most of it! gasp Then I watched the rest.
So…these aren’t great movies, but they are entertaining. I laughed a lot, sometimes at it. People were right. Kristen Stewart had 3 expressions: disgusted, constipated, and pain. Jacob is way hotter than Edward, but I understand why Edward is “the one.” Edward watching her sleep is actually not as creepy as I’d heard, though I would have liked for someone in the movie to have acknowledged the creep factor, at least! And Dude, those movies are too long. Lots of boring bits. BUT overall, I though they were interesting and I liked them (though I will admit to having a high tolerance for stupid…as long as the movie is entertaining, I have no problems.) So yeah…
Afterwards, I was shocked to find that I was actually okay! I didn’t even feel like railing on Kristen Stewart anymore. I don’t think she has a ton of range, but I don’t think she’s terrible. It’s amazing, it really is. I wish you could feel what I felt after I watched them. It was like, the sweetest relief ever. I wasn’t bitter anymore! And I didn’t even find it weird that it just went away so fast.
I really feel like watching the movies freed me. It helped me admit one kind of big thing (for me): it’s possible that my vampire book (that I had gotten so hung up on) is actually not that good. It’s possible. And maybe…just maybe…it was okay for me to move on.
Before this whole Twilight fiasco, I was burned out on vampires. I loved my characters though so I told myself this: I would write this series for them and then I was moving on. Maybe not forever, but I wanted to write about something else like really bad. Then Twilight happened and it made me feel like I’d been pushed out. Like it wasn’t my choice anymore. And I hated it. And myself.
But I chose not to finish my vampire series. Not because of rejection. Not because of Twilight. It was because I didn’t want to do it. I was burned out! I was exhausted. I felt terrible about it and fought against it. But it’s true. And that was the hardest thing of all to admit. I still love vampire media, I just didn’t want to write about them anymore.
So…it helped me dig down and find some dormant courage so I could get back to writing and submitting again. All of my excuses were gone. I’m a writer. Writer’s write. And I couldn’t hide behind bitterness anymore, it was gone. I might actually try to read Twilight one day. I mean, I know everything about it, how bad can it be? 😛
I know it might sound crazy to say a dream did all this, but it really did! A year later, I can honestly say that I’m not angry anymore. In fact, I was so confused about the mixed feelings I had for the series that I made a list of what was good and bad about it so I could understand why I was entertained (except for those boring parts I almost fell asleep on, and on the second to last movie, I actually did fall asleep, but I was sick so…yanno).
But making those lists, is what inspired me to tear apart everything I had ever written and make a list of my likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses, and those lists are 100% responsible for the stories I’ve cooked up since then. I can focus on the right ideas now because I know what I like and what I’m good at and what I’m drawn to.
I actually meant to post this last year, but it never happened. Probably because this post is really long. But I wanted to post it now because I need the reminder. I need the reminder that I write because I love it. I need the reminder that I make progress with every single story that I write. I need the reminder that it’s okay to have creative downtime. And I need the reminder that when I trust myself, I do my best work.
I trusted that the dream meant something, and it did. I had no proof and nothing to go on except a feeling, deep in my gut. If I had trusted my gut when it told me I was burnt out on vampires, I probably could have avoided a lot of stress and watched those damn movies a long time ago.
And right now, I need to trust that no matter what happens with this revision I’m working on, that it’ll be okay. I’m not going to fall apart this time, because I KNOW I will keep writing, whatever happens with it, because writing is what I do. I’ve loved other stories before, and I will love many, many more. 🙂