Managing Your Readerly Feels

Hello my darlings!

The last Sookie Stackhouse book came out this week. It’s the 13th and final in the series and sweet baby Jeebus have people been flipping their shit over this.

Not the series ending, but over the content of the book.

The author, Charlaine Harris, has been getting actual threats over her chosen ending.

Allow me to hop up onto my Fizzy little soapbox and address my feels on this issue.

So. Like, threatening people is bad, mmkay?

It’s so weird that I have to keep mentioning this.

But really. Don’t threaten people. Really for any reason.

Unless they stole your cupcake. Then riot away.

(I’m kidding. Probably.)

Here’s the rub: Books, shows, movies, anything that is passed from one person’s brain into the brains of others can and do generate super strong feels about what they are partaking in. We as consumers get ridiculously attached to characters and their fates and yes, we get hurt and upset if things don’t go as we hoped.

Don’t even get me started on the weepies I had over the last Harry Potter, guys. Years later and I still can’t say Lupin without my chin wobbling.

Come to think of it, I can’t really think of a series that I have finished where I felt *totally* satisfied after I turned that last page. Although, Harry Potter is the winner if there is one.

And yep, I’ve ranted to my friends and unsuspecting husband over the final books of series that have left me feeling unfulfilled or disappointed.

Words are our happy place to run away to and jump into fabulous new worlds while we read. It’s the most visceral of all the arts, in my humble opinion. With music, we are given what to hear. With anything on a screen, we are shown and listen to what we are supposed to see.

Sure, we can all pull our own meanings and nuances from those things, but nothing, nothing compares to words.

What I love about books is that even though things are laid out in great detail in front of us, no two people have ever read the same book. No one could imagine in their heads exactly what another person sees when they read. The way a character’s voice sounds, the exact colors of the main character’s bedroom walls. The temperature of the day the two we have been rooting for finally fall in love.

So naturally, we get attached to these people. We feel like they are ours. Because they are.

BUT.

Don’t forget, you are seeing and interpreting someone else’s baby.

Yes, the characters and visions belong to the readers too. But first and foremost, they are the authors’.

And like it or not, the author gets to do with that world what they wish.

Do writers sometimes alter their story in hopes of pleasing a fan base? Totally.

Do they have to? Nope.

So when you are reading and an ending pisses you right the fuck off? Rant. Rave. Cry.

And be happy that something was able to pull in your emotions in such a strong way to piss you off THAT much. Because that’s kind of cool, dude. Seriously.

But don’t be all, ERMAHGERD I WILL KILL THER AURTHER!!!

If you could understand that sentence you are totally my friend.

Seriously though. Charlaine Harris is handling this like a total boss. I would be hiding in a zombie bunker somewhere sobbing in the corner and screaming any time a fruit fly farted thinking the fans were coming to get me.

But no, she’s a champ. And handling this with as much class and dignity as anyone possibly could in such a balls situation.

Play nice, kids. Authors are doing the best they can. They are taking something that is personal and intimate and throwing it out there for the words to pick apart and judge and love.

I seriously can’t emphasize how freaking scary that is. There is genuinely no more vulnerable a feeling than sending the deepest parts of your brain off in word form for someone else to critique.

And again, DON’T THREATEN PEOPLE.

It’s not polite.

I raise my Fizzy fist up in solidarity with Ms. Harris and hope that the bedlam dies down. And that she’s able to maintain her class as she has so far because damn, she’s doing it right.

*steps off soapbox*

I hope you all are having a lovely week!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and SOOKEH!!

 

7 Comments

  1. It’s a strange world we live in, where for the first time so many of the things separating artists from fans have disappeared. It’s very difficult to separate out “artist as concept” from “artist as person” sometimes. Like, I think for most people the thought, “If they don’t hurry up and release another X book, I’m going to riot!” is not a literal thought. It’s just something you say, a way you express a certain bundle of emotions.

    But then there’s that handful of people who don’t quite get that, and take it literally, or take it too far, and then things get messy.

    It’s like that scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, when the boss just screwed Clark out of his Christmas bonus, and he’s ranting and raving about all the things he wants to do to the guy…and then his brother takes it seriously and goes to kidnap his boss.

  2. Awesome! I love how you stand with the artist. Stand with the author.
    And thank you for explaining in terms we all can understand. 🙂
    Love these posts!!!

  3. I’m a big fan of soapboxes. And milk crates. And juice cartons that look like they just might could hold me, but I fear your message is lost on the threatening sort of idiots who lack common sense and a basic understanding of how to have a reasonable and rational reaction.

    Still, any excuse for a RDJ gif.

  4. You are, as usual, totally right.

    Threatening ther aurther because you were grumpy at how the book ended is so unbelievably stupid I can’t even begin.

    And also… I saw the show before I read the books. So now, whenever I see her name, all I hear in my head is “Sookeh,” the way that vampire Bill says it. * snicker *

  5. I know what you mean entirely. The world doesn’t always behave the way we want it to. Why should authors be any different? This is why we have book discussions, why we all have different opinions, and why some people like things that others don’t. Wheeee!

    Also, I’d read the books long before the show came out. I made it through ONE season of True Blood, and then quit, because some of the characters were so…out of character. I found it too jarring to watch!

    Still, it’s always the author’s choice how to end a series. As long as it’s true to what she intended, then I will be satisfied. Or maybe *okay with it* is a better phrase here.

  6. Totally agree with you on this. Actually, I wrote a blog post about it as well, though it focused more on allowing artists to grow. Neil Gaiman also wrote a really nice piece a few years back about how your author is not your personal bitch.

    I haven’t read any of the Sookie Stackhouse books, but good for Charlaine Harris for handling it well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.