My dear readers out there who are also writers, take heed: Writing is many things, including a responsibility. What I mean by this is that while you're writing and publishing, and hoping somewhere inside to become the next JK Rowling--maybe not as a teen fiction writer but the rags to billionaire-riches part--if your writing ever does take flight to that magical level, every word you've ever written will suddenly become more important than you could imagine. EVERY word. I am mindful of this, too. Even at my rather minor level of success in comparison to people like Meyer and Rowling. What I like about Meyer is her authenticity. Before working on Twilight and Philosophy, I did a great deal of research on Meyer herself, and EVERYTHING she ever published. In chapter thirteen of Twilight and Philosophy, I discuss how Meyer's premise for the Twilight Saga is deeply flawed with an essentially 100-year old violent stalker as the main focus of the 17-year old female protagonist. I'm not the only person to think this, of course. Many question the questionable premise. But many more don't.
I LOVE Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga for many reasons, one of which is how it very clearly illustrates that traditional norms in society, including our patriarchal bend, are alive and well. AND, that the male-oriented socio-political attitude is NOT just perpetuated by a hegemonic discourse produced by men for a male-centric audience. As a feminist scholar, that was always my mainstay, my tagline, if you will. While Meyer's Twilight premise is certainly a part of a male-oriented hegemonic discourse, it is being perpetuted by a woman. And, it is beloved by literally MILLIONS of other women from all ages and stages of life.
In my daily life, because of my particular positionality, I try very hard to always think about the efforts of Susan B. Anthony and women like Alice Paul, who fought for my right to have rights to their deaths. These women were jailed, tortured, ostracized. They went through things even I'd have a hard time relating to. Then again, perhaps not. I think that's why their cause is still my cause--because I CAN relate to their struggles, for not just equality, but in other ways as well. But I realize that there are literally MILLIONS of women today who simply can't. Women who've NEVER been cheated out of job because of the "old boys club," who've never been paid less than a male counterpart, who've never been sexually assaulted, stalked, or abused. If that's true, which it must be to some degree, than Meyer's work ironically shows progress in gender equality. In other words, there are literally MILLIONS of females in this world who feel free enough to enjoy a story like Twilight without even giving a second thought to things like Edward's stalker inclinations, or the fact that a 100-year old man is digging on a 17-year old high schooler (hey, just because he looks young is no excuse--he still has about 8o years over Bella!). But the appeal of Edward is undeniable, even for me--maybe especially for me.
My point today is another "why not, not why" example: When writing your next short story, novel, essay, or whatever it is you may be working on--think about its potential to become part of the pop culture phenomena all around us. Think about how it might affect populations--even those that are not the intended audience. Because, well, you never know when you'll become the next JK Rowling, or Stephenie Meyer. To be honest, that thought has held me back as a writer. Because I do try, very hard--perhaps too hard--to be as mindful as humanly possible when I write for publication. Too much philosophy in my blood, I guess. Philosophers have never fared well in this world--at least the ones who lived their philosophies.
Will I have the courage to continue living mine? That's a topic better suited to another time. Meanwhile, for people like me, less sleep equals more writing! Stephenie Meyer gives me hope. So do writers like Rowling. My next entry should be about inspirational writers perhaps. We'll see how things evolve.
Oh! And an update on my new-idea-for-a-new-week for the week of 2/14-2/20: Learning a new recipe. I can report complete success! It was an expensive success, but the proverbial crowd seemed to appreciate the effort, and I know more about chuck roast than any vegetarian has a right to know. Boy, do I love my family.... I don't eat meat for philosophical reasons (naturally) and that naturally should extend to the cooking of meat as well. And it usually does. What I am trying to "teach" my family is, if they refuse to acknowledge that they are sustaining their lives through violence, then they MUST be more responsible by purchasing animal products where the animals are treated with more respect. With that added respect comes added dollars. But if the love of the taste is so great one cannot refuse to eat it despite the many alternatives, then that is the "price" one must pay. If you haven't yet had the chance, check out HBO's latest original movie, Temple Grandin. It is related to the topic of what we owe to the animals who sustain us. And if you want to go even further with that notion, check out my friend Jean Kazez's new book by Wiley on what we owe to animals. Speaking of which, my animal companion is telling me it's time to get up from my chair.... :)
Good luck in all your endeavors, dear readers, whether those endeavors include writing or some other goal you have set for yourself!