My favorite responses to the survey that I put out a few weeks ago were on the question that asked what you wanted me to talk about here. I’m looking forward to addressing each and every thing that was mentioned, even though some of them are going to be a challenge! One responder asked about the story behind Twilight being my inspiration to write, so I thought that was a good place to start, since it was the beginning of my writing journey.
Now listen, you’re not allowed to judge me for this, because, well, you supposedly love me. I in turn will not judge you for your own quirky tastes.
I loved the Twilight series. Like for real loved it. Until the Hunger Games came out, those thick books had their very own shelf in my living room. I re-read the entire series every time one of the movies came out (although I thought the movies were overall pretty terrible), and endured merciless teasing from some of my favorite people on earth because of my love for it.
My poor husband was so excited because I was *finally* into vampires. I tried to convince him that I was far less into the vamps than I was the forbidden love aspect of it all, but nonetheless, he insisted that we watch Dracula on the way to Colorado that Christmas, and let me say again . . . No. Not the vampires. They could have been aliens for all I cared.
What turned me into a Twihard and an eventual writer was the way Stephenie Meyer wrote about the tension between her vampire and human characters, both physical, and emotional. I was completely sucked in by the fact that they wanted to be together in all manner of speaking, but absolutely could not, should not attempt it. Many criticized Meyer for how far she took the sexual tension between Edward and Bella, but I felt she dealt with it extremely tastefully. She made them wait until they were married (oh, um, spoiler? I don’t think you care though . . .) before they “consummated” their relationship, but in all the moments leading up to that, there was plenty of realistic tension and angst between them that left readers craving more. She left me wondering why Christian fiction steers clear of the reality of sexual tension in romantic relationships.
Of course that was an easy answer to figure out: because for some reason, Christians are taught that feeling that kind of tension is shameful. Phrases like “heat of the moment” are tossed around like hot potatoes, and heaven forbid you ever find yourself there.
One of my most shame-filled memories is when I found myself in that place, ‘the heat of the moment,’ and absolutely terrified to be there. I’d never been taught what to do to get out of it, just that if I were there, things were going to get bad, and my life would spiral out of control because of it. Ill-equipped with how to handle what was going on inside my body, I burst into hysterical sobs.
When I think back to that moment, I want so badly to give my teenage self a huge hug and tell her that she is completely, 100% normal. I want to undo all the lies she was told about her body and the way it was supposed to operate. It still breaks my heart when I see myself in that memory, and I still want to junk punch the guy because, having never experienced such a reaction from a girl before, he began to laugh at me. I digress.
After reading through the series for the 2nd time I thought about it for about five minutes and decided that I could probably do what Meyer did, minus the vampires. It was uncomfortable at first and I had to allow myself to discover what my boundaries were. I enjoyed pushing the envelope, but just how far should I push it? How far was necessary or acceptable? I decided to take Stephenie’s stance on it: “I took it as far as I was comfortable.” I decided to be as real about it as I possibly could, without compromising my own morals.
Reading the Twilight series was really the first in a few mile markers on my journey into opening up wounds from the past and walking into healing. In the second book I resonated so deeply with what was going on in Bella’s life, but it took reading it twice before I realized why, and that was when the Lord reminded me of a wound that I’d covered up many years ago, one similar to Bella’s, and began to walk me through ultimate healing as a result. So not only did I get a real depiction of romantic entanglements, but I also learned something valuable about myself and about the Father in the process of reading, which is another tool that I use in my novels.
Say what you will about the books, and I’ll probably agree with you on the movies, but this series is near and dear to my heart because it was the birthplace of my own healing and freedom, as well as my desire to write in a way that brings both of those things to women everywhere.