It’s been TEN YEARS since the first Twilight film was released in theaters, and this corresponds with the Ten-Year Twi-versary for Team WSN. Katie, Sey, and Funmbi reflect on how this book and film series came into our lives, why we fell in love, and how we’ve been forever changed for the better!
Ten years is a long time for something to be a part of your life, and in that time, it can change you and take you places you never thought possible.
In September of 2008, I was thirty-seven weeks pregnant and in my “junior” year of college. My husband student assisted the football team, so he was gone long hours during that fall. A friend of mine in the English program told me about Twilight because Breaking Dawn had just come out the month before, and I asked her if she’d let me borrow the first one.
The next day, she brought me the book, and after class, I started reading. Mostly, it was to avoid homework and to find an escape from the pressures of life at the moment. I mean, I was twenty-one, married for almost two years, and about to have my first child. Plus I was taking fifteen hours?
Hell yes, my friend, I was stressed.
I found the most brilliant escape in Twilight. I was halfway through book one before the evening rolled around and texted my friend to bring me New Moon the next day. For a solid week, all I did was read the Twilight Saga. My husband would come to our apartment on campus in between classes and after practice to find me engrossed in the novels.
I loved them so much that he eventually listened to them because that’s the kind of awesome person my husband is.
Twilight taught me so many things.
It taught me to love reading again. Not just for homework or because the professor said to read something but for pleasure. I’ll forever be grateful for that reason alone, but there are more…
It showed me that being a hopeless romantic is okay. There are so many of us, and there’s nothing wrong with loving love.
It created a close-knit network of friends in our English department who had read and loved the series. So much so, that up until BD 1, we’d all meet up and see the films together. Unfortunately, by Breaking Dawn coming out, we’d all moved so far away or started jobs we couldn’t make the dates work. I will never forget those movie dates, though. It was a precious time.
Twilight also made me change my daughter’s name three weeks before her due date. Up until then, she was going to be Isabel. After reading the books and learning about the movie, I decided there’d probably be an upsurge in that name or nicknames like it, so we found a lovely alternative that suits her perfectly.
I will confess that her middle name is a combination of both my mother and my husband’s mom’s names, though. It wasn’t even my idea, either. My husband jokingly called it out one night, and it was perfect, so here we are, ten years later, with our own version of Renesmee. (It’s not, though. Don’t worry.)
Twilight takes so much heat and people talk down about it still, but Twilight brought me a new set of college friends, it introduced me to fic and fandom, it led me to write my own fic, it gave me confidence in my writing, and Twilight helped me realize it was okay to be unapologetically me.
I’m thirty-one now, and Twilight was with me through my twenties, and I grew because of the relationships it helped me make, with people I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
I will always be grateful to Stephenie Meyer for sharing her stories with us (problematic parts and all). Now, please finish Midnight Sun.
In the Fall of 2008, I was a 24-year old grad student, 2 years into my PhD program, and bored out of my mind. I mean, I had my academic goals and those meant a lot to me. I also had members of my cohort who I could always depend on. But outside of school, I didn’t really have anything that allowed me to escape from real life from time to time and have fun.
But November of that year brought a shift in my psyche. Early in the month, Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American President of the USA and I was profoundly inspired by his optimism. Surely his election portended good things for us all. So, on Election Night 2008, as I watched POTUS Obama’s victory speech from Grant Park in Chicago, I toasted with friends over champagne and made a silent pact to myself. I was going to stop hiding away in my academic life and be open to something new, perhaps even something unexpected. This guided me into Thanksgiving, where everything changed.
My sister had been ill that year, and since she was unable to spend much time away from home, my mother encouraged her to start reading. And like her other 8th grade friends, Sey was ALLLLLLLLLL about Twilight. I hadn’t heard anything about the book series. The only thing I’d seen about the film was a behind-the-scenes trailer ahead of Penelope (I lovvvvvve this movie!) when I’d purchased the DVD earlier that year. I recognized Rob Pattinson as Cedric Diggory, and I remember distinctly thinking that if this Twilight movie thing was trying to come for Harry Potter, I wanted no part.
By the time, Sey and I reunited for Thanksgiving 2008, she was firmly obsessed with Twilight (the book series and first film), thoroughly Team Edward, and swooooooooning over Rob. Mostly, I spent the first part of the break laughing at her teeny-bopper flails. But then, I got a little curious. Remember Funmbi, you said you’d be open to trying something new, right? So, without telling my sister, on Black Friday, I watched the Twilight movie on bootleg. (SORRY! But I later saw it SIX times in theaters!) And you know… I was even more intrigued. The film’s lighting was kind of wonky, but there was something sexy about this human girl’s forbidden romance with a vampire. That night, I went to Sey and borrowed the first book. Friends, by the end of Chapter 3 “Phenomenon”, I was hooked.
LORDT, there are no words for how caught up I was. Bella, Edward, and their adventures PWNED me and I couldn’t put down the book, not for one moment. Bella was ME–her love of literature, her unassuming nature, her desire for love. And Edward was my dream man: brilliant, strong, conflicted, and willing to do absolutely anything for this girl he loved. HERE FOR IT. I finished Twilight by Saturday night, started New Moon early Sunday morning and was done by Sunday night. (Because who the hell told Edward he could leave us, so I had to binge until he returned!) I had to go back to school on Monday morning and begged, begged, begged Sey to let me take her copies of Eclipse and Breaking Dawn with me… she allowed it. By Tuesday of that week, I had finished the remaining two books and started re-reading Eclipse and Breaking Dawn over and over AND OVER again.
This was something in my life that made me excited again! I hadn’t felt this sort of adoration since my *NSYNC days, and those fangirl instincts that I’d packed away, unfurled from my heart. By December, I’d found a fellow Twi-Fan in another grad student who was also in my program and we would meet in coffee shops and talk for HOURS about our love of Twilight. In May 2009, we even took a Twi-Tour to visit Vancouver, BC (during the end of New Moon filming), Seattle, Forks, and La Push.
Beyond that, Twilight rekindled my love of reading. In an attempt to quench my thirst for romance, I dove into books like Philippa Gregory’s Tudor Series, The Vampire Diaries, Hush Hush, among others. TV shows like True Blood on HBO also helped my vampire fix.
I even joined Twitter that summer, as I searched for other Twilight fans to connect with. And in November 2009, right around my one-year anniversary as a Tw-Fan, @KStewDevotee RT’d a link to an update for Master of the Universe by SnowQueens Icedragon. I was already a little familiar with fanfiction since I had indulged as a teen *NSYNC fan. Once again, I decided to try something new. Once again, my whole being was reoriented because TWIFIC WAS EVERYTHING. The writers and readers and reviewers were EVERYTHING. And the rest, as they say, is history.
In the 10-year Anniversary of the Twilight movie’s release–along with my 10-year Anniversary as a Twi-fan–it’s nice to take time to reflect. Twilight taught me that it was OK to have non-work related passions and that fangirling can still happen in your adult years. Twilight rekindled in me the joy of books and entertainment and romance. Most of all, Twilight gave me fandom and community. These things have all had an indelible impact on my life and who I am today. So, THANK YOU Stephenie Meyer. I will forever be grateful to you for this wonderful series. (And goodness knows that on the day you decide to finish and release Midnight Sun, I will be at Barnes & Noble at midnight to get my copy… even though I will have already had an e-copy sent to my Kindle 😉 )