May 20, 2012

Things I Don't Like

How do you learn to be open-minded while still standing for what you believe in? Maybe that's a little too deep for what I'm actually talking about, but it's worth considering. Something I've been learning more and more in my library classes is that I need to be able to discuss any subject with a straight face (as opposed to the face above this post: let's not make that face). What do I mean by that? Well, for instance, the things I feel negatively towards (like Apple products, gay marriage, or Twilight) should be things I can talk about without being negative. And to be fair, I should be able to make things I dislike equal with the things I adore: like cheese, opera, and Charlotte Bronte. It's not my place to judge anyone: EVER. Inside a library or outside. And I certainly can't force my own opinions on others, even if I wanted to. While I'd like to be able to influence people in a positive way, I can do that much better through my attitude. Amazingly, I'm actually learning to consider things more carefully, with less bias one way or another. Some things are, naturally, a matter of right and wrong, and are not up for discussion. But matters of opinion... I'm surprising myself with how flexible I can be. For instance, I've always loathed Apple products, but my husband talked me into looking at iPods to replace my Zen Mosaic (which I still love, it's just dying). Now I love my iPod Nano almost as much, and I can use the speaker dock to play my music, too. 

What are the rules on photo credits
when you get it from Google Images?
Another example worth considering is Twilight. Ugh. Twilight has been... a very strange thing for me. I read the first three books years ago, when they were still intensely popular but I hadn't figured out what they were yet. I almost hate to admit that... I loved them! Certainly there were things about the characters... flaws that I would have never given them, for instance. Bella is really too stupid for my taste, I could only identify with her up to a certain point; and what kind of a heroine is that? But then again, I'm not a normal person, so yeah... Anyway, once I figured out that the books were outrageously popular, I rebelled. My opinion of them went downhill almost instantly, and of course I would never ever watch the movies. In my defense, there were multiple, very real reasons that I would refuse to see them, besides my silly desire to always go against the flow: I very much dislike Robert Pattinson, because he is the opposite of what I like in a guy: skinny, pasty, and girly. I also can't depend on Hollywood to accurately recreate books as movies (don't get me started on LotR). And finally, I am a die-hard fan of the original vampire in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Well, less a fan of the vampire, and more a fan of the humans. Now there's a flawless story! <3 But I digress. The reason I've brought up Twilight, and everything building up before that, is because I'm giving it a second chance.

Wouldn't this make you curious, too?
Now, part of my logic is this: there had to be a reason that I loved the books so much the first time around. If they were so terrible, I wouldn't have just torn through three of them in a week. And I know I have a bad memory, so maybe I was making an assumption based on other people's opinions (cuz that never happens)? Yes, it goes against everything I've said for the last four years, but I needed to do it. First, because I found out that Dakota Fanning plays a vampire in the movies, and that is something that I just have to see. I don't know how that fact escaped my notice this long, but it did. So I'm planning to grit my teeth and endure the movies so that I can see this incredible thing. And in order to do that, I'm giving myself a refresher on the books: since I never read the last one, and it's been so long, I just started at the beginning. Oh. My. Goodness. After the first page, I was back where I started: I loved it. I was excited and I wanted to know what happened next (the whole memory thing is wonderful for repeating things and feeling like it's the first time). Yes, I know how the three books go, and I have a decent idea of what happens in the fourth, but holy cow I can barely stop reading long enough to do homework! Don't worry, though: I still intend to hate the movies, on principle, and I have a new life-goal, too. One day, when I have nothing but time on my hands, I'm going to give the books a complete overhaul. Yes, overall, I'm enjoying the first book, but only if I don't pay too close attention to the quality of writing.

To be clear: I'm a fan of Bronte, Scott, Tolkien, Austen, Tolstoy, and the rest. I'm reading Plato because I want to, and I've read Gone With The Wind Three times, out of boredom. I do understand quality writing, and Stephenie Meyer is far from being a genius. Her first-person perspective is fine, but the character of Bella is full of glaring contradictions: and not just the kind that can be dismissed as hormones, teenage angst, or the like. The line between clever foreshadowing and cheesy, corny, awful puns is crossed and left in the dust. And there is no way that any of the characters could ever be considered role models. Now, I've read lots of books and articles on writing, and I understand that it's hard for anything interesting to happen to the hero/heroine when two responsible adults are around, but her mother is a loser. Just sayin'. Also, another important writing tool is to give your main characters some flaws, to make them human: but there's a limit, people! The main appeal of Dracula, for me, is that the humans are strong, moral, intelligent people. Off the top of my head, I can't remember any of them having character flaws: there are exceptions to that rule.

Heh... This is how crap gets published, right?
So here's what I'm going to do: when I get a chance, I'm going to get a paper copy of each book, and four big notebooks, and a dozen pens. See where I'm going with this? I'm going to dissect them, line by line, until every contradiction and cliche are removed. I'm going  to edit to my heart's content, taking out unnecessary information and making up things wherever I feel information is missing. Of course, I will do everything in my power to maintain the integrity of the story, the style, the author's voice: just in a better, more complete form. In short, I'm going to do what I feel the editor of the books should have done. And I'm good at that, because I've done it with lots of essays and stories written by classmates. But until then, I've spent way too long on this post, and I have to get back to my homework now XD 

Long story short: I'm reading Twilight again, and I'm okay with it :)

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