To Write or Not to Write…

I think sometimes writing is especially hard because you want to say things that you’re not sure anyone else wants to hear.  And I don’t mean wondering things like, “maybe people don’t care about my dead cat…” or “maybe people aren’t interested in hearing me complain about how horrible my life is right now…” (shocker there).  No, what I’m talking about are small, snapshot instances, the fleeting, nitty-gritty details that somehow manage to make our lives profound.

It’s that moment when you realize your mother really did know what she was talking about when she told you growing up is hard.

Or that instant you finally understand something somebody said to you when you were eight.

Or that amazing epiphany when you get the “perfect” idea for something.

Or the lovely moment when you realize someone is going to become a new close friend.

Feeding readers the stories behind each of these situations feels wrong somehow… like we’re pulling the screen of privacy a little too far aside.  Or like we’ve finally crossed the line between putting ourselves into our writing, and becoming the writing.

Because in some ways, it’s good to “become” your writing – at least, in the sense that you put some of yourself into every piece that you write.  But here’s the question: how far do you go?  How far can you go?  Where is that line?

It’s so irresistible – that urge to tell someone every detail of an experience you’re passionate about.  It’s an urge that stems from a desire to share a special moment with someone who is also willing to share those moments with you.  But can we ever successfully project those desires onto our readers?  I mean, can we ever write that kind of piece successfully, without regrets?

I think I’m going to argue (for the most part, anyway) no.  Because no matter how many of our readers might know us personally, no matter how much our readers may enjoy our writing, and no matter how comfortable we may feel exposing our private lives to complete strangers, the fact still remains: some moments are all the sweeter savored in silence.

Books I Love But Others Love to Hate – Part 1

Reading is becoming a lost art.  FAR too many people have told me “I don’t read” or “I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished a real book before,” and it makes me want to cry.  And rant.  And (of course) write about it.  (Even though the only people who will read this are actually readers…)

I’m one of those people who became a bookworm and bibliophile the moment I learned to read.  I have my own personal library at home (I have about 140 books), and I’ve read all of them at least once (some of them more than 4 or 5 times).  Needless to say, I’ve read quite a few books – many of which have been novels and series that became popular within the last 5 years.  Of these books (the ones that have recently become popular), a few have been made into movies and therefore become hotly debated topics of conversation because of their added publicity and popularity.

So, in an effort to persuade people who “aren’t readers” to pick up a book “everybody else” is reading, I thought I’d start a series of posts about books I’ve come to love, but others love to hate.  I don’t know how long this series will last (it’s at least worthy of 2 or 3 more posts), but I’ll only cover one book (or series, or author) in each post.

For this post, it seems appropriate that I start with Stephanie Meyer and her books – The Twilight Saga and The Host.

Yes, I’m a Twilight fan – but not for the reasons I know all of you are thinking.  First off, I hate how people tend to lump the movies in with the books and call them the same thing.  They aren’t the same thing!  And this is coming from someone who has actually READ all the books!  Now I must admit, I do like the movies.  Yes, the first couple got off to a rough start because the cast wasn’t that great and they had small budgets, but once they got a little momentum, I think they’re a series of pretty well-made movies with mediocre-to-okay acting.

The books, however, are a whole different story (no pun intended).  I consider Stephanie Meyer to be a good author.  She’s simply a fantastic writer, and even though she’s been accused of taking cliches and somehow “remaking” them without actually remaking them well, her stories are deeper than that.  Beneath those first person narratives, there’s a pervasive theme that’s present in both the Twilight Saga and her novel, The Host: what does it mean to be human?  It’s a prevalent question!  All Meyer does is explore it in the context of a series of fiction novels.  In the Twilight books, the question is about whether vampires are still “human” in the sense that they retain essential elements of their humanity even after they’re changed into vampires.  In The Host, the question is whether the alien species that has invaded the earth and taken over humanity actually has elements of humanity in themselves, and whether being intimately linked with humans makes them more human.

Whether or not you care about these deeper topics, though, I think Meyer’s novels are worth reading simply because they capture a character’s perspective in a way that makes them easy to identify with and easy to understand.  Bella of Twilight and Wanda of The Host are admirable characters, and they have nuances to their personalities that you’re still discovering even as the story is coming to a close.  In short, Meyer’s characterization skills by themselves are worth witnessing.

One final note – because The Host was written after the Twilight Saga, the quality of writing is noticeably better, and it’s written more for an older audience than the Twilight books were.  Even if you’ve read the Twilight books and not liked them, I would still recommend reading The Host simply because it’s so different from the Twilight books.

What are your thoughts on this author?  What was your reaction when you read these books or saw these movies? Does my argument make you want to read them any more than you did before you read this post? I’d be very interested to hear your answers!  As always, thanks for reading!