Sunday, January 24, 2010

The End of the Stephenie Meyer/Tina Haapala Feud

 I've decided to end my feud with Stephenie Meyer. I'm sure she'll be relieved.

She probably doesn't remember how it started. Well, I do.

I was living in Phoenix a few years ago. I worked at my so-called "real job" while fantasizing what it would be like if I actually had the time to write. I would take a writing class or workshop here and there. I bought a two-bedroom condo, intending to turn the spare bedroom, with the high ceiling and the big beautiful tree right outside the window, into my writing room.

As soon as I got the room painted.
And a good computer.
And learned a little bit more about how to BE a writer, anyway.
Oh, if my job didn't keep me too busy.
(See, I really am qualified enough to be the Excuse Editor)

I read the Arizona Republic cover to cover every morning before I went to the office. One morning, I read all about this woman, who was the exact same age as me (actually, I'm 7 months older) who just signed a three book deal. She had never even written or published a short story, an essay, anything. No, she just had a dream one night, and decided to type it out before she forgot. She worked it out in her head as she potty trained and took her kids to swimming lessons. THREE MONTHS LATER, she started submitting Twilight-- a 500 page YA novel. Five hundred pages! That must have been one hell of a dream.

I couldn't finish my breakfast. I had started my novel at least 20 different times at that point, and all I had to show for it was a smattering of pages, stuffed in drawers in frustration. Because I didn't have the time. I didn't want to face the truth. Stephenie Meyer wrote though diaper changes, parent-teacher conferences, and she's Mormon, so probably four hour church time on Sundays-- and I hadn't written a full chapter, even though my only real responsiblity was to clean out the kitty litter box once in a while.

I didn't think about that at all. I was just angry, and sure that Twilight was some kind of fluke. Vampires. Whatever.

I refused to get caught up in the Twilight hysteria. When everyone around me was reading the books, I stood strong. There are too many good Grown up books to read, I'm not going to start reading kid books now.
In the past two years, now in Texas, I watched kids in my sub classes, from 5th to 12th grades dragging these thick books around. I became the only woman I knew who hadn't read any of the Twilight books. My friends raved. My sister cheered between each book. But my jealousy kept me away. I wouldn't face the sparkly vampires freely.

But then, the movie came out, and I had an afternoon to entertain my stepsons.

The movie didn't totally change my mind about wanting to read the book. I actually felt a little good about giving myself an excuse to still not read it-- what's the point, I saw the movie.

But seeing the book reminded me of a few important things, and those things eased my irrational Stephenie Meyer jealousy.

  • In order to finish, you need to start. Nothing was going to happen with my writing until I stopped thinking about it, talking about it-- I needed to be Writing it! The only person to blame was myself.
  • If you are jealous of someone, it is only because you want to do the same thing yourself. Well, duh. I didn't need to take it out on some stranger (not like the lost sale did much to hurt her), it wasn't about her, or any other writer who succeeds.
  • People love a good story. I wasn't thrilled with the movie, but I could see how the themes drew people in-- first love, danger, the struggle to be yourself. Put all that together with a moody Robert Pattison and you can't help but look. (I just discovered that he's going to be in the movie adaptation of Water for Elephants-- THAT was a great book)
So, I ended my feud. I no longer had to avoid Team Cullen conversations or walk swiftly passed the YA section in the bookstore. But what finally got me to READ the book...

Stay tuned, and I'll tell you what I thought, too.


Craftdrawer said...

Interesting how some can make it seem so easy while the rest of us struggle. Good luck in fulfilling your dream!

Tina Haapala said...

Thanks! I think sometimes it comes down to luck, timing, etc-- that's why we can't be too down on ourselves when we are rejected...

Paula said...

I don't know if I'll ever read the Twilight books but I did order Water for Elephants. LOL