So Stephenie Meyer, she had a dream about a sparkly vampire lying in a field with her, and there was some love and shit, and she wrote it all down. Then, something about her vision, her deeply troubling psychological issues that she left heaving and bloody all over the page, it struck people with the kind of magic that we haven’t seen since, say, Harry Potter.
But you knew that. We all know that! I bet most of us have read the series. Most of the time when I think of the series, I think of how unbelievably hilariously maddening it is, because it is. Troublingly so in light of the psychologies of all the vulnerable people who don’t realize it is hilariously maddening. But that is not important right now! Or my point.
What I think about only sometimes, but what makes me kind of love Stephenie Meyer (outside of her worrisomely loose grasp on how the world and relationships actually work), is the fact that she dreamed the idea for the book. No: the fact that she dreamed the book, and then she went–maybe she still goes!–around telling every body about how she saw a field and some twinkling and it really was the most magical thing ever and don’t you understand true love? She woke up from that dream knowing that vampires were actually dangerously unchecked superior beings who for some reason will never overwhelm the helpless human beings who are actually entirely defenseless against them, seeing as all traditional weaknesses of the vampire have been carelessly discarded by Ms. Meyer in her Eternal Love Story.
I’m sorry, I wrote that last bit in a rage-fugue. What was my point. Right. She dreamed it! It is kind of dopey to dream about twinkly vampires, but look at how she made the dream come true. So I am going to tell you a secret about the dream I have, and about how I want it to come true.
I mean, it’s not literally an asleep-dream. It was a daydream. And I was driving along in my car, listening to Utah’s Top Hits. And at the time, Taylor Swift had a Top Hit, and that was “You Belong with Me.” And it’s all about how the narrator loves a boy very much–they’ve been best friends for ages. But he’s been dating some OTHER girl, some girl who isn’t right for him. Who is right for him? WHY LET ME TELL YOU. (Hint: It’s her.)
First I was thinking about how I like the fact that Taylor Swift writes these stories in her songs–she’s an accomplished songwriter, she really is, and I admire the hell out of her. But then I started thinking about how much that little story enraged me. No, then I started singing along. But THEN, then it struck me that you’re supposed to be on the narrator’s side, obviously, but how terrible the whole situation actually was.
This girl is just mooning around, wishfully wishing that this boy would suddenly wake up and go, “oh! check it out! you’re awesome!” and bitching about how this other girl he’s in love with, she’s one of those lame girly-girls with the short skirts and the cheerleading as if that is shortcut for “she sucks.” You wear sneakers, so that makes you morally superior? You laugh at his jokes, and you think you understand him with no visible evidence whatsoever, so he should just figure out that you guys are Soul Mates? HOW DO YOU KNOW HE DOESN’T TALK TO HER ABOUT HIS DREAMS? Are you spying on him? Shut up, you little brat. Either go tell him you like him, or quit whining about the fact that he likes someone else for alllll the wroooooong reeeeeasons and deal with it.
Pant, pant, pant.
And then I thought, oh my god, I have the GREATEST IDEA FOR A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL.
It’s about a vampire that twinkles! His breath smells like roses and candy bars! Also, he’s a manipulative abusive dickweed!
That idea–the book based on the song, not my rage-fugue pretend idea–was, uh, two years ago maybe? I guess. I tabled it until I finished writing the memoir I was writing. I started noodling on it for awhile, unsure of where I was going. And then I made Writing Deals (I WANT TO SEE X PAGES BY Y DAY) with amazing people, and suddenly, we’ve all got manuscripts. While I’m typing this, mine is about 80,000 words, and so, so close to being a final first draft I CAN TASTE IT. I can actually lean over and lick the screen anyway.
It has been such a relief and pleasure to write something that isn’t a book entirely about me. It’s about magic! And danger! And making difficult choices! And friendship and secrets and bravery! The actual germ of the idea, it’s still in there, but it’s much less important than I thought it was. But I like to dream that someday I will thank Taylor Swift in the Acknowledgements, because she really is a pretty awesome songwriter.
My dream is further refined: that I actually get an Acknowledgments page, by which I mean that after I throw the book in a drawer and ignore it and then take a whack at revising it and then send it to smart people who will tell me what’s wrong with it and then try to revise it again, that I will send the manuscript to my agent and she’ll love it and she’ll sell it to an editor who loves it and who will say IT’S GOING TO BE BIGGER THAN TWILIGHT and then I will be FAMOUS and RICH and OWN A FLYING PONY and then give ALL THE POOR CHILDREN IN THE WORLD THEIR OWN FLYING PONIES AND BOTTOMLESS GIFT CARDS TO AMAZON.
That is my dream. Suck it, Stephenie Meyer.