On the Basis of Twilight: An Apology to My Younger Self
Published on Aug 02, 2020 by Alys Murray
Dear Thirteen-Year-Old Alys,
This summer, you’re going to fly up to New York City, find out Stephenie Meyer is in town shooting Good Morning America, and you’re going to drag your mom to stand in Times Square at two in the morning so you can try to catch a glimpse of her. You’ll make friends with a security guard outside of the door, and he’ll ask Stephenie to take a picture of you when she’s leaving the studio.
You’ll get the picture, tell her how much her book means to you, and then, when you get back to your hotel room, you’ll cry. Not because anything bad happened. But because it was perfect. She was so nice. So encouraging. So wonderful. You met your hero.
In two years, though, you’ll hide the picture on facebook. You’ll roll your eyes any time someone even mentions Twilight. You won’t even go to see Breaking Dawn in movie theatres, despite having seen Twilight in theatres over ten times.
And that’s really what I’m here to apologize for.
We loved Twilight. But I was so afraid of what everyone else thought - of the trolls online who made jokes about Edward sparkling, of people sneering about “crazy Twi-hards,” of men and bad-faith critics who denigrated that thing that we enjoyed - that I disavowed it. I pretended that I hated it. I told people that I was over it. I put the books away and pretended that I didn’t love them. I stopped doing anything that would make people even suspect I liked Twilight.
I let other people’s opinion of my joy become more important than actually, you know, being joyful and enjoying the thing that brought me happiness. And for that, fourteen-year-old Alys, I am truly, truly sorry.
See, later in life, we’ll learn that there really was something special about Twilight. On an intellectual level, it was a turning point for you. Most of your life, you’d been reading people trying desperately to appeal to boys. JK Rowling, for example, wrote books that we loved at the time, but she wasn’t writing for us. But Twilight was different. You - well, we - really loved Twilight. It was the first book that felt written, unabashedly, for us, and with our own interests and desires and flaws and anxieties and dreams in mind. It said that it was okay to feel like an outcast, to not belong. And it also promised that one day, you would belong.
People made fun of the vampires, but Twilight was always about something more. It was about the promise that there is a world out there bigger than the one you’re currently stuck in. Maybe you’d never find vampires, but there was something out there. Just waiting to be discovered. Not just by anyone. But by you.
Twilight was a kind of feminist revolution in your heart. It reminded you that what you wanted and felt and dreamed of and yearned for was okay. But beyond the intellectual defenses of the books…
They just made you happy. And that should have been enough to defend it and love it and champion it forever. I’m sorry that I didn’t. And that I wasn’t brave enough to stand up for that.
But now, I am. I have some good news. Tomorrow, Stephenie Meyer is finally publishing Midnight Sun. You always believed it was going to happen someday. And you were right. This time, I’m not going to let anyone else get in the way of this book. Thank you for teaching me how precious it is to love something, young Alys. This time, I promise not to lose sight of that.
All my love,
Alys Murray is an author, screenwriter, and Twihard. Check out her books and connect with her on social media!