Countdown to the final book of the Hunger Games!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Freely Giving Your Best Gifts

"Our objective as storytellers and writers isn't to make money--there are faster and easier ways of doing that. Our objective is to change people by putting our stories in their memory; to make the world better by bringing other people face to face with reality, or giving them a vision of hope, or whatever other form our truthtelling might take. You want the widest possible audience to receive this message; when you use your best skills to open up your story to other readers, you aren't 'pandering to the masses,' you're freely giving your best gifts." --Orson Scott Card

People keep asking me: "Why would you go to Virginia for school?" See, the guy that wrote that quote teaches there.

I really do believe in writing and stories and that it can change people. It can be something as simple as just changing someone's mood. I know that if I'm in a bad mood, sometimes all I really need is a good scifi book, and it'll change my whole outlook on the day because let's face it, life never gets as bad in real life as it does in scifi novels. It can even be as grand as reading parables in the scriptures--something that can change your life. A story doesn't have to have really happened to be true. Fiction is a mirror through which we can examine real life. It's a glimpse into someone else's perception, which helps us to forget ourselves for a moment, and in doing so, find ourselves.

The quote at the beginning of this post comes from a book I'm reading by Orson Scott Card called Characters and Viewpoint. Normally, I don't really like How-to writing books, because I feel like everyone has a story and can tell a story, and I don't like being told how I should say something that's in my own heart. So it was really a combination of me not being ready to move onto another book after finishing Catching Fire, because I'm still not over it (is anyone really surprised about the lack of boyfriends in my life?), and still needing something to read. But I am actually finding this book really insightful. I'm not sure that's what you're supposed to get out of a how-to book.

One of the things Card brings up, and I've often had the same thought, that we are, in effect, telling our own story through what we write. And it's true that in the novel I've written, I see more of me in the main character than I had intended, which is scary because she's so rash and immature and melodramatic. What can I say? If I were to list some of my bad qualities, those would make it to the top ten. Also, I used to read up on Harry Potter a lot, and therefore I've also read a lot about JK Rowling and her thoughts on the books. It may surprise some people to discover that a lot of Harry Potter is actually about religion, especially the last book. She said that she had a lot of confusion about religion and had done a lot of soul searching. In the end, there are at least two direct quotes from the Bible in the final book ("for where your treasure is, there will be your heart also," "death shall be the last enemy that is conquered"), and ultimately, the whole series is about gaining that complete and unconditional love for people that leads you to be willing to lay down your very life for them. I think it's interesting that for someone who felt like she needed religion, the Harry Potter books are what resulted.

There are so many other amazing examples of fantastic books, and I think it helps people like me to process life when I read or when I write. It certainly does a lot to calm my nerves and soothe my frustrations.

There's so much that can be done through writing, and I love that because that's exactly what I want to do.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Sorry about the double poetry posting. Couldn't help it. I wrote some more poems, but I don't know if I want to post them just yet. Not that it matters, because I have like 3 followers, but someday, this blog will be more awesome.

Anyway, back to the job at hand, and why I decided to make this blog. Basically, I love reading because it makes you think, you know, besides all the other awesome benefits of an escape and all that. But it really makes me think about life. Which is why Twilight makes the list of books I will discuss.

Now, at first, I didn't want to read it, because it had been my experience in middle school, whenever I was looking for a new book to read (this is when I discovered Madeline L'Engle), if ever I picked up a vampire story, it was completely saturated in sexual overtones with lots of things my little 12-year-old mind didn't comprehend. But I never actually read any beyond the summary or the little tag lines, because even they were dirty. So I started hearing about this Twilight book when I moved up to Snow College, and there was this girl in my ward who was reading it, and then I heard that the author, Stephanie Meyer, was LDS. And then my roommates read them and really liked them, so I thought, hey, what the heck, right?

The first book...well, let's just say that I'm not a mushy romance kind of person. And at least 80% of the book is spent detailing Edward's perfect features. Bleh. It's not that I didn't imagine a very attractive man in my mind, which is fine, I mean, I like attractive men, but that was it. He was just good-looking, and had this weird chemical attraction to the main character.

The following two books were much better. Partly because in the second book, Jacob actually had a personality, unlike Edward (hence why I was always a Jacob fan), and then also because Stephanie Meyer upped the action--which I love. I mean really, if I'm reading a story about werewolves and vampires, there better darn well be some sweet action scenes. I love a good romance, but only if it's more like an accessory to the overall outfit of action and adventure.

Anyway, mostly I wanted to focus on the Edward phenomenon. Why are so many girls attracted to him? He is the world's most boring character--you know, except for the part when he's super creepy and watches Bella sleep. The protectiveness he feels for Bella is attractive, I'll give him that, but seriously, that's it. And I hate that everyone idealizes him as "the perfect man." Because there is no universal "perfect man." There's the man that's best for you, but your perfect man should in no way align with my perfect man.

Perfection is boring to me. I mean, if the person you met was already perfect, then how could you learn and grow together? After all, "love is what you go through together."

I was talking to my really good friend the other day, and he said that if you don't think someone has faults, then you don't know them well enough. The trick is, once you learn what their faults are, you love them anyway. And he's a really good example of that. I really never approved of the romance between him and his girl, but since he told me that, I just couldn't help but feel happy for them. That is beautiful.

Everyone has faults, so Edward is completely unrealistic and flat as a character. And why would you ever want to fall in love with someone like that? True love is knowing that someone is imperfect, but loving them anyway.

And that, my friends, is why Twilight is not better than Harry Potter. Ha ha.