Monday, 7 November 2011

Girl Crush Monday - Stephenie Meyer

Recently I've been thinking a lot about this girl crush section and, worried that I might soon start boring you with the same sort of women, I've invited a number of lovely people to contribute to this series. I will continue to add my own posts, but I'm throwing this blog wide open for others to spill their secret (or not-so-secret) girl crushes. If you would like to participate please contact me on k.c.hawkings (at) gmail (dot) com. There aren't too many guidelines, just write about a woman, real or fictional, that inspires you in come way, shape or form. 

The first guest blog is courtesy of Ashley Mackler-Paternostro, the author of The Milestone Tapes which is set to be released in early 2012. Ashley lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and their three fur babies. Ashley is a believer in bigger things, wild dreams and living a genuine life. She can be found on her blog, and twitter @AshMP.

Ashley has also been interviewing a series of writers on her own blog about NaNoWriMo, and one of those writers is me. Perhaps once you've read about her girl crush you can head over to her blog and read my interview!

I'm glad Ashley has picked this particular woman to be her girl crush. Just so you know, I'm very much Team Jacob, and I'm the one posting this, which is why there isn't so much Edward in the pictures below.

Girl crush: Feelings of admiration and adoration which a girl has for another girl, without wanting to shag said girl. a non-sexual attraction, usually based on veneration at some level.
Urban Dictionary
My name’s Ashley Mackler-Paternostro, and I’m here this Monday morning to confess...I have a girl crush on Stephenie Meyer.

Here’s the deal, Stephenie Meyer has given the world, at large, something really beautiful and special, and before you knock me for the cliche bits of it all...hear me out.

Stephenie Meyer was a normal woman--she a was stay at home mom of three little boys doing all the motherly things that come along with raising children.  In tandem, she played the role of wife, sister, friend.  Sound familiar?  She wasn’t a woman posed for literary greatness, she didn’t have a niche or come complete with a silver spoon.  She was the essence of an unknown nobody taking her first breathes as a writer.  But the truth is, she could have been anyone.  She is the relatable, the salt of Earth, next door neighbor type of you or me.

She had a dream.  Stephenie dreamt of a vampire and an average girl having a conversation in a misty meadow blooming with wild flowers.  So small it is probably something many would have ignored, forgotten or pushed past...but not Stephenie...she took an inconsequential nothing and spun it into one of the most successful YA series of all times.

Stephenie Meyer gave us TWILIGHT.  She’s taken flack for the writing--her style of first person prose has been met with icy reviews by some.  But below the current of the actual books, she built an empire. TWILIGHT was published at 130,000 words, a dictionary by traditional publishing standards, but it inspired kids–kids, who have their noses in video games, and cell phones and live chat on the internet–to read. Heck, I’ll go so far as to say--she encouraged them to love reading--to look forward to the art of reading. TWILIGHT took adults, with their adult responsibilities and obligations and marriages and everyday ordinary lives, back to the time when love was innocent and as simple as how they felt inside that first time. From there grew a phenomena.

TWILIGHT may not be everyone’s bowl of ice cream–that’s why there is chocolate and vanilla. But no one can deny the positive things these books gave the literary community. And isn’t that what a good book is supposed to do? So when someone says, “oh, Meyer can’t write”…I have to ask…if Meyer can’t write, then what is it that she did here?

Since I first fell in love with Edward Cullen and THE TWILIGHT SAGA, I’ve not only travelled to Forks and La Push, but attended the conventions and opening night of the movies, I’ve visited the blogs and forums and fan sites. And guess what I’ve found? Not only are people inspired to read…but they are inspired to write and craft. Not only do I see gaggles of giddy teenage girls in their “team appropriate” attire, but they are there with their mothers, grandmothers, fathers.  It isn’t simply “their thing” ... it’s a unification of interests. There is a real connection made between people over these books and movies during a time when connections between parents and children (the teenage years particularly) are tethered loosely.

Fan created art floods the internet.  Sites like boast page after page of locally crafted wears, jewelry, photo albums, and the like. In this economic climate, crafty folks are actually managing to supplement their income by filling a niche of story inspired kitsch from mittens to mugs and almost everything in between.  

Twi-Hards are writing fictional takes on what could have happened--this is toted widely as Fan Fiction, and is highly encouraged by Stephenie herself--who is known to make secretly submitted fan fiction entries herself.  How amazing is that?  Kids that can barely force out assigned homework without grumbles and groans are taking genuine interest in expounding upon the lives of the Cullens and Wolf Pack, Bella and Charlie.

The tiny Pacific Northwest town of Forks, Washington--before the series became a breakout success--was on the bubble of ruin.  The lumber companies were vanishing and the folks who spent their whole lives in that small town were suffering greatly.  Now, that’s not so true.  People, from across the globe, descend in droves daily to shop, sightsee, spend the night, gorging the community with copious amounts of cash.   And for their part, the town of Forks plays along with warmth, hospitality and humor.

Stephenie herself has grasped her grass roots beginning by remaining at the helm of the TWILIGHT ship. It’s not uncommon to find her at the conventions, sitting with her young admirers after hours discussing the art of writing, and gushing about her characters.  And, as she’s admitted freely, she loves it.  She loves the world she created with words inspired by a dream and the following it’s inspired, she loves her fans.  Her stardom hasn’t jaded her, she holds no pretense of greatness...she’s still a mom and she’s still just a really sweet person.

“Good books” make masses of people think and feel. Not everyone, but some. So, by definition, TWILIGHT is a really good book...and as a writer myself, I look at Stephenie Meyer and believe her to be good writer--not simply because of what she wrote down on paper, but because of everything else she accomplished and gave freely.  She chased a wild dream (literally) and caught it, she remained grounded despite her thriving success and offered readers so much more than four thick books. All of that, in my opinion, makes her very girl-crush worthy.

1 comment:

  1. Stephenie herself has grasped her grass roots beginning by remaining at the helm of the TWILIGHT ship. nice post