The Bargain Book Bin: An Open Letter to Twilight's Stephanie Meyer
I, of course, am so proud of you for the success of your Twilight book series. Who would have known, five years ago, when you locked me out of the bedroom for three straight weeks and begin dictating the story into a toy voice recorder you stole from the children, that this would be the ticket to achieving your dreams? I speak for all of us (the children have forgiven you for the theft) when I say that we couldn't be happier about where you are today.
About those dreams though...your books strike me as pure escapism (not an insult, who am I to shame readers or authors for their harmless vices?) which leaves me wondering exactly what you are trying to escape from with this tale of a young woman who is unmistakably "you" and her romance with a handsome young vampire. Obviously, being your husband of many years, I have some stake -pun might be intended-- in this question.
Has our love life become stale? Has our domestic bliss been not all you imagined it would be? Understandable, if a little hurtful. Love is not a fairytale, not outside your bestselling series of young adult novels in any case. It is a series of chemical processes that humans can hardly control, let alone channel into a stable arrangement of consistent peace and happiness.
Of course, it is not exactly the same chemical process for me, but still I understand these disappointments as well as any of you humans do.
So I don't blame you for wanting to escape the mundanity of our home life. It's just that, well, the particular subject you chose to make this escape with strikes me as a distinctly malicious plot choice. You could have written about a young woman (who is you) falling in love with an beautiful space alien, or a young woman (who is you) falling in love with a reckless but quietly caring secret agent, or a young woman (who is you) falling in an experimental sapphic love with a free-spirited blond girl with a passion for folk music, nude swimming, and group sex -I would have especially enjoyed reading this last idea, maybe you could develop it for your next book.
But you chose instead to tackle an idealized version of vampire love, a subject which can only strike me as threatening when you yourself are married to a vampire. How am I, a father of two and a civil servant of the night, to compete with some story book fantasy of what vampire love should be?
A mature vampire relationship includes a recognition of your partner's faults. Real vampires, sorry to say, are not cold and sculpted as stone, but cold and sculpted as a dead body reanimated through unspeakably demonic forces. Yes, I have a little mid-eternal life paunch developing. You think your own butt hasn't expanded as fast as your clean cut romance empire?
And how could I find it anything but insulting when just after the famous to-do over my (fatal!) inability to take you and the kids to a sunny day at the beach, you decided to rewrite the basic rules of vampirism so that your pretty boy vampire hero no longer dissolved in the sun but rather sparkled beautifully like a cadaverous Adonis?
Real vampires, dear, don't spend their time repeating high school over and over, dressed in the very latest trends. We like our black flowing capes, and we've lived long enough to know that, even if they're not in style now, they will be eventually. In the meantime, a sheet of darkness to hide our pale faces beneath is an invaluable utility. Also black is a forgiving color when your spare time activities inevitably include a certain amount of spillage.
This is the life you chose when you fell in love with a vampire, or, apparently, fell in love with the idea of the vampire. Sure, the romance of the outcast and the bad boy all rolled together with superhuman elegance may seem irresistible, but once you make the commitment to anyone there are always facets of a person that will annoy you. Going out to eat is a challenge for us, for instance. There are restaurants that will cater to vegans, to lactose intolerants, to sufferers of wheat allergies, but just try explaining to the waiter that no garlic can be in the food and that nothing with garlic can be carried within ten feet of table or I will shrink back hissing, probably knocking over a few tables in the process. Oh, and of course you always act like it's such a big deal when I get overexcited during intercourse and transform into a gigantic bat. Believe me, there are worse sexual problems for a husband to have.
And yes, I will occasionally bring home half-dead drifters, mesmerized by my obsidian eyes and devastated by the massive blood loss. You think I like it when you go to Safeway and bring home a giant bag of nacho corn chips, storing it in the pantry "for later use" but somehow always throwing out a sad, hollowed out husk of a bag that very same night? We all have our vices. If you didn't know that my vice was going to include the slaughter and consumption of drifters, prostitutes, and the occasional society woman, then maybe you should have done more reading before you got into this. Which reminds me, how uninformed is some poor little girl going to be when she reads your book and thinks that it is preparing her for the tolls of a long term relationship with a vampire?
The point is, dear, that while I'm proud of your success, I would like to take this opportunity to suss out any possible discontent on either of our parts. Escapism is wonderful in small doses, and the children and I certainly appreciate the new income, although my vast European fortune had us pretty well covered before. But if this marriage is to work, then sooner or later you must come to terms with the realities of vampire love. I can't always live up to your vampiaraic ideals. I can't pretend that I am near overthrown with an animal desire for your blood above all else, constantly fighting with myself not to give in and consume you. The truth is your blood type is one I've always found distasteful. Nothing against you, just one of my peccadilloes. Basically, my lovely Stephanie, I'd eat you if I was on a desert island and had no other choice, but given the whole world in front of me I'd rather go for a blood type that doesn't make me gag.
Speaking strictly in terms of cuisine, of course. I love you and the children with all of my heart. My heart is not beating and has most likely shriveled to the size of a dried plum by now, but these things are metaphors not anatomy lessons. Good luck with the movies and whatever book you are working on now. I hope our love stays strong until you become too old and my eternal youth makes me bored and physically disgusted at the sight of you.
If you enjoyed this article, why not check out other installments in the Bargain Book Bin series?
- The Bargain Book Bin: A Random Chapter from a Book You Haven't Read
- Misha: A Memoir about Hanging Out with Wolves During the Holocaust
- The Bargain Book Bin: Here Are Some Gay Books
- The Bargain Book Bin: A Dictionary of Common Sci-Fi Metaphors
- The Bargain Book Bin: From the Desk of Brian Jacques
- The Something Awful Book Nook
- The Bargain Book Bin: I Rewrite The Classics
- The Bargain Book Bin: Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Books: You don't read them, so at least read about them.