Washington Post’s Monica Hesse lists some interesting quandaries, thoughts, and observations after attending The Host Tour book signing.
Read some excerpts below:
1. What must it feel like to be Stephenie Meyer? Today, people have driven multi-hour radii — Buffalo, Richmond — to be in her presence. They arrive at 8:45 p.m. the night before the Thursday book signing, and they sleep in pastel comforters outside Politics & Prose on Connecticut Avenue in order to ensure admission. What must it feel like to be on the sponge end of that much devotion? How many pounds of worship can one human body withstand before collapsing under the fervent, pawing weight?
2. Does it feel like an endless stream of sitting? Is that what it feels like to be her? She sits for a sneak-preview screening of “The Host” at the AMC Loews in Georgetown, and the next morning she sits in a Ritz-Carlton hotel room undergoing a steady drip of journalists, and then she sits at the book signing at Politics & Prose, where attendees are limited to two autographs at a time, but then loop through the line again and again and again.
“It’s always interesting, the relationship between reader and writer,” she says at the hotel. “I spend a year working on a novel and another year editing it. They spend one day reading it, and they’re ready for more.”
5. Her fans are so pure. When she walks in a room, the fans go — oh, you already know what they go. Everybody already knows what happens at a Stephenie Meyer appearance. The fans go “Eeee!” or “Squeee!” or “Bleeee!”; the fans burst into tears and explain their obsessive love for “Twilight.” Sometimes a journalist who brags that he’s too smart for “Twilight” (even though he’s never read it) parachutes in to write a scene story about these women, and they open up their hopeful hearts because maybe this time he won’t make them look crazy. He always makes them look crazy.
“I do a lot of deep breathing,” Meyer says. This is how she adjusts to the decibel level of a public appearance. She’s grown more used to it now. The public appearances used to make her nervous. She used to pep-talk herself: “I am going to live through this. Nobody is going to kill you today.”
7. Stephenie Meyer: “I don’t really consider myself much of a writer. I consider myself a storyteller. . . . I can definitely agree with the critics, because I see all the flaws” in the stories. She wakes up in the middle of the night, agonizing over the word choices that are too late to change. To her critics, “I just want to say, trust me, guys. I know.”
Nobody ever assumes that Stephenie Meyer knows. There’s a viciousness when her work is discussed in literary circles. A dismissive sneer, as though her books cannot be taken seriously simply because people enjoy reading them too much. An impulse to write rambling, blistering blog posts about her use of descriptive speech tags (She glowered).
She is a victim of a Madonna/Hack dichotomy. Her fans will always believe she can do no wrong. Her critics will always believe she can do no right. The truth must lie somewhere in between, but nobody wants to think seriously about Stephenie Meyer as a writer. It makes one feel indignant on her behalf.
11. “There is a value in writing things that people just enjoy,” she says. “I don’t know what movie won the Oscar the year that ‘Star Wars’ came out, and I probably haven’t seen it. But ‘Star Wars’ has affected culture around the world. There is power in the masses, and in joy for enjoyment’s sake.”
This is how the future is going to look at Stephenie Meyer: as a spirit-guide travel agent. In the 1970s, people followed the Grateful Dead, and in the 1990s, they followed Phish, and in the 2010s, which we’ll be calling “the teens,” they formed communities by following around a Mormon mother of three, and by huddling in blankets in the cold.
Read the full article here.