|Written by Douglas Wilson|
|Thursday, 15 April 2010 19:42|
You know, I have done a fair bit of writing in my time, and have enjoyed some measure of success getting books of mine into print. I enjoy the thinking, writing, the whole process . . . and I have wanted to make books since I was a boy in elementary school. And yet, like all writers, I sometimes wistfully wonder what it would take to launch a book into the New York Times bestseller stratosphere. Wouldn’t that be cool? What is that special je ne sais quoi that makes a book a book? And you don’t want a book that goes up like a bottle rocket and comes down like a stick. No, you want escape velocity.
Comes now Chapter 17 of Twilight, in which Edward meets Charlie, and he does so as Bella’s bona fide boy friend. He shows up in his brother’s high, four-wheeling terrain muncher, and then takes Bella out into the woods, and carries her on his back (really fast) up to a huge meadow, where the rest of the family is waiting so that they can play a high speed game of . . . baseball, vampire rules. You know, where the pitcher’s mound is a half mile away, you can’t see the ball because of how fast it’s going, when they hit the ball it sounds like thunder, and the vampires run like blazes because if the word vampire means anything it means athleticism. They play during a thunderstorm, of course, so that mortals will hear the distant boom and say something like, ah, the angels are bowling or perhaps, no, it vampires playing baseball, and no, the weather channel said there was a thunderstorm, and just in the nick of time, the vampires successfully covered their tracks. Because nothing is more natural than to hear thunder and think of a vampire family sporting in the high meadows. It is so natural that it is almost not even a metaphor anymore, and it just shows the Cullens’ profound horse sense that they take reasonable steps to cover up what they are doing.
And then it dawns on you, you poor schlump of an author. You don’t write mega-sellers because you sit down there in your box, typing away, and all the books you write, to coin a phrase, are “inside the box.” When in your life did you ever sit back in a chair, with your fingers doing that spider on a mirror thing, and with a sly grin think to yourself—you know what these big New York publishers will really go for? Vampire baseball!