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What's up with that?

I'm spending a lot of time in fictional worlds, lately.

One is an island--hard to get to, hard to leave.

Another is a rainy town in Washington where Monsters live.

The last is one of my own making--and it's familiar enough, though it's inhabitants exist only in my head.

What is it about Story that sucks me in? It's hard for me to explain. And while I love, LOVE analyzing stories and pulling them to bits with friends, sometimes it's hard for me to express all that rushes through my brain.

I succumbed to peer pressure (well, really friendly recommendations) and started the Twilight series. Several friends (whose other literary interests often coincide with my own) told me I should read them. I resisted for a long time, held back by the hordes of teenaged girls who worship the series and its vampiric hero. Also, I don't like vampires. Never have. Likely never will.

I'm nearly done with the second book now...and I'm sort of starting to see why they are so popular. They are entertaining and well written. I keep going, page after page, even though I think most of the characters are kind of ridiculous. It annoys me that I would keep reading a book in which I don't care about most of the characters. Hopefully they will grow and develop some.

The narrator, Bella, is absurd and naive. A typical teenager? Maybe. I hope not. Edward, the guy she falls for (along with half the teenage girls in the country) is not only a vampire, he's practically perfect. Or at least, a representation of perfection. I find him mostly annoying. I think their interest in each other is shallow, even though it's meant to be deep and profound.

It might not bug me so much if I wasn't working on a story of my own with similar-ish themes. (No vampires. I prefer superheroes.) But I don't want it to be all tingles and meaningful gazes. I've been wrestling with this a lot lately. I feel like I'm straddling a fence here--both enjoying the story, and yet, being frusterated by it so far. Wanting my own writing to be both appealing, but deep. (Is that even possible??)

Anyway. I just had to vent a little. It's not like I picked them up because I thought I'd enjoy them. I wanted to know what everyone was talking about, and I wanted to check out the "competition." So to speak.

But I find that I have very little patience with fictional characters. It's easier. I don't have to worry about hurting anyone's feelings or asking forgiveness. I can just fume and be annoyed by someone who isn't real, while acting that way in real life makes things really complicated.

I wonder, though: am I spending too much time analyzing fictional characters and their stories that I'm neglecting my own? I hope not. My own life is rather complicated at the moment, so escapisim isn't an unnatural reaction. And I want to work on my own writing. It's easy to lose myself in a story of my own making, to plumb the depths of characters I created and am still getting to know.

And the big question on my mind is, "What will people say about my writing?" --That is, if it's ever made available to the greater public. But shouldn't the bigger question be, "What will people say about my life?"

Writing is only one part of my life--granted, it feels like an important part at the moment. But there are other things I want, too: a simple, healthy, natural, debt-free life. I'm trying to work on all those things, too. But a lot of that can't be scripted, no matter how much I would like it to be.

A life like that flows out of big and small moments alike and is shaped by every choice I make. I don't want to be Bella, centering my whole life around one desire (in her case, to be with Edward!) unless that desire is from God, and for God. But the moments slip away, and sometimes I can't see where my own story will end up. Most of the time, I can't even see the next paragraph, let alone chapter.

This is kind of a weird, long, random post, and for that I apologize. Perhaps next time I won't be so scattered.


Anonymous said...

I just want to say this. Forks is NOT like it is in the books. Trust me, I've been. Laurel.

Sara said...

I totally understand your desire for depth in the story. I agree, Bella was ridiculous, but I did think Edward's character was appropriate. I got tired of how their relationship was based like 99% on the physical aspect, even after they got married. Well, then it was pretty much 100%. It bothers me mostly b/c I wonder if hordes of teenage girls are really going to believe that sex is everything to a relationship. I also have a hard time believing that a young virgin having sex with a granite monster for the first time would have felt anything near pleasurable. Seriously. Jess, thank you for writing a story about characters who are down to earth, realistic, and concerned about deeper things in life. So kudos to you my friend! And someday you will be recognized for it!

As for real life, well, writing is my escape, too. But I have lots of "escapes". Silence, books, writing, relationships. Who's life isn't incredibly messy and atrocious? I'm seeing my family fall apart and I'm numb b/c I've been seeing it for a long time and I've come to realize that I can't do anything about it. I see dear friends from school who's marriages are falling apart. I see people I've always admired making mistakes. Life is ugly.

Story is the only thing that reminds us of our hope. Don't ever feel bad about immersing yourself in it. For, rather than giving you a false reality, perhaps it is actually keeping you sane. I know it is for me.

I love you, Jess!

Wendy McConnell said...

You should totally steal the poetry idea... All the best ideas are just recycled from somewhere else!