Friday, February 27, 2009
My Close Encounter With the Vampire!
Ring...ring...ring...(telephone rings)...”Hello, can I speak with Gabrielle Abad please?” “Yes, this is Gabrielle.” I don’t usually eavesdrop to phone conversations. It’s bad manners and I’m still practicing what my parents and my elementary teachers taught me in my GMRC class. For the younger generation GMRC stands for Good Manners and Right Conduct. A subject that should be part of the curriculum not only for elementary pupils but should even be a 5-unit subject with laboratory class in the universities.
“Yes Miss, I will be there!” was followed by shrieks and screams of excitement and pleads “Mom, Dad, let’s go!” I was very much stunned as to what was going on that fine cold January 2008 afternoon. I later found myself, together with my wife and our three lovely kids driving up through the winding ramp of SM City Cebu North Wing. I was still maneuvering the car to the parking space which Chloe prayed for us to have when Gabrielle was rushing to get off from the car. She was literally running towards the mall while the rest of us doubled our steps to keep pace with her.
“Power Books!” (in gold and blue signage)... I sighed, a bookstore? There we were, the whole family, with Gabrielle as the store clerks were not even aware what she was looking for. Out from the well aligned book shelves came the Store Manager smiling and told one of the clerks to get the medium-sized box from their new arrivals. “A vampire book? Yucks, that’s not a good read Gabrielle!”, Kevin told her at the last minute, yet she got her spanking new book from the box, no longer with the anxious feeling that she will run out of copy if she didn’t get to the store first.
That afternoon further proved that my wife Chris and our youngest Chloe were shopaholics while Kevin ran back and forth from the Salonga Music Store-JB Music Store-Yamaha Studio-Perfect Pitch trying to look for whatever gadget he can add to his "toy". Gabrielle preferred to sit in one of the public benches and devoured every page with excitement.
At 3am the next day, I was wondering why the reading light at the girls room was not yet switched off. There I found Gabrielle still savouring the last pages of Twilight, her first collection to the Twilight Series. That was the first time I saw a young girl so fixated with a book. She was just 12 years old at that time (not yet a teener) and was still in Grade 6.
Many other phone calls followed not just from Power Books but from National Bookstore and other stores that sell the books. We didn’t know that she already made it a hobby to make reservations and enter into “contract” with any store that sells the vampire series books.
I was back in Cebu for another 2-week vacation during the last week of April 2008 and found her to be reading again another Vampire series book - Eclipse. Inspired by the storyline, she wanted to give a copy of the book to her cousin Nemille Muga who'd be celebrating her birthday in May. Foreseeing that the global economic crisis was inevitable, Chris and I suggested that she just have to give the book she already read. Even so, she spent her savings to get her cousin a copy because she can’t give away a copy from her read-again collections.
When I was back in August 2008 for another 2-week furlough I thought I would be spared this time by the vampire reading at the house. Sure, it was no longer a vampire story that I found as she finished all books in the series - Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. What I saw on Gabrielle’s desk was the science-fiction novel The Host. But below the cover showed that it was written by the “vampire queen” author Stephenie Meyer. Whew!
I didn't know she was working on the book for a class project. Discontented by The Host book review she made for her English class at Science High, she sent to me her draft a few days after landing at the desert. And she asked me to check the form, content, and organization of her project before submitting it. How would I be able to check unless I know what the story is all about? So I had to look for other sources to be briefed by the story. Well, even when there's no vampire in the story, I still considered it a “vampiry-related” thing that followed me to the desert! Geez... what The Host was that!
I always imagined the desert to have no vampires and that vampires only stay in spooky old antique houses and castles. I thought it was only my daughter who tracked me to the desert with her vampire stories! But lo and behold, a group of deeply-rooted Twi fanatics was in the making.
It was late last year when FaveFolks (our college friends in Yahoo Groups - this group deserves a long blog for an introduction alone!) started to exchange notes on the movie Twilight and the Twilight Series books. Tina started it all with her line – “Hey, have you guys watched the movie Twilight or read the books? I'm a late convert. My teens have been raving about them since a couple of years back but I didn't think much about it. I've never been too fond of the chick lit genre that they love. However....”
The rest is history. Tina started it and piqued the curiosity of the rest of the ladies at Favefolks. Almost all of them read the books in sleepless marathon-like fashion, as Tina would put it, causing them to have purplish eye bags like a vampire. They started to feel like teeners again and forgot about David Cook and found a new idol in Edward Cullen. Most of them were influenced by their teen-age daughters. And they aver that the generation gap between mothers and daughters disappear! On the men’s front, there was a buzz that Enggoy was into it but it was later found to be a hearsay. Only her daughter Kay and Kenton’s Camille are into it.
Poi even read the partial draft of "Midnight Sun" – Edward’s version of Twilight and she’s titillated and tingled to the bones...Ooooh! After reading the draft, naturally “bitin” (hanging) and she calls the rest of the ladies to petition Stephenie to finish the book.
Tina, Poi, Dally, and Geng have found a kindred spirit (they defined it as ka-edad) for the Twilight series too. They DSL and FeDex the books to each other and to some of their own friends, so that they can swoon and discuss together about their read. Some of them re-read the books and have seen the movies twice to relive the fantasy all over again...Some makes comparative study of the Twilight and the Midnight Sun (yet to be published)... Omigosh!
When I came home for my Christmas Holidays last December 2008, I was not surprised to hear that Chris was reading the Twilight series books of Gabrielle. She tells me that the writing is mediocre but it's a good book. ???How can that be??? I immediately saw the thrill in her sparkling eyes. Yet, I also sensed a restrained excitement because she knows that I don't go for those kinds of books and will not listen to those dreamy and passionate "Bella"-fied lines. LoL... She then switches topics but still on the books, telling me that she's enthralled with the description of their beauties, their cars, their houses, etc... and that she finds the story new, unique and a paradigm shift from the usual stories she reads. Hohoho!
When I heard this, I pondered for a while and asked myself, here's one who says her schedule is tight because of the many hearings she has to attend and the many decisions she has to pen for her court but still found time reading those books? Whew... until now I still can’t understand the ladies. Not only that, she was egging on me to read the books too!
I'm really wondering why this so-called phenomenon the Twihard fans are talking about is sweeping the globe like anything. Every one is unanimous (even the fans) in commenting that the novels are not well written and seemed like not to have passed the editors' desks. Is it really a phenomenon?
I will not be surprised that one day, Chloe, our 9 year old daughter will follow the craze of her Ate. Well, she quips that she cannot read the books of her Ate and it made me think that she knows the "censorship requirement" in reading the books. But she avers "How can I read Ate's books when all her Twibooks are not here?" Hahaha... I learned later that the books have been passed on from one hand to the other, including some lady lawyers, students at STC, and the classmates of Gabrielle at I-Saturn at Science High and some schoolmates... not just the girls but the boys as well.
It’s a good thing (a very very good thing) that all the V-books were not in the house the time of my departure last January 6. So the flight-book I had with me when I came back to the desert was not one of those v-books. I finished reading Gabrielle’s Christmas gift to me, Nicholas Spark’s Nights in Rodanthe during the Cebu-Doha leg of my flight. Although, a bittersweet love story, and another teen-age girl’s collection, I was obliged to read it being a gift from my daughter...Oh no, please don’t give me a Twilight series book for a gift to oblige me to read. (Lol!)...Not yet at this time. I was treated to watch Richard Gere and Diane Lane portray the book during my Doha-Jeddah leg as it was one of the in-flight movies.
I thought my close encounters with the vampire will be no more in 2009. Alas, I recently smelled fresh blood at the forum of the Favefolks...
Poi says, “Mention anything Twilight-y and my fingers can't help go immediately a-tapping!” Even telling her unica hija not to settle for a lifetime partner anything less dedicated than Edward...hahaha..."Then mom I'd be single my whole life! Edward's just too good to be true!" Seems like the daughter has a better grasp of reality! Hahaha... Poi really burst out laughing because her daughter’s quick reply was just so spot on! To Tina, Poi says – “Your mom's reading Eclipse now?! Wow, that's really amazing! Even here in HK, I also see a lot of once-young Chinese women reading those books in the train. Did I mention that when I first read Breaking Dawn I slept at 6 in the morning?! and that I have "converted" one 20-something Chinese staff in the hospital who's now as gaga as me?! I'm planning to give her books 3 and 4 for her birthday. Pugad said something about Eclipse. I asked him how he knew and if he's been actually reading it behind my back. "E, sa ka-di-discuss nyo ba naman ng paulit-ulit. ..siyempre na-pick up ko na!" Hmmm...”
Dally writes, “To the Twihard ladies...I write to them in their personal email addresses regarding the handsome Edward so I won't 'bore' the rest of the favefolks who are not into it but they keep dragging the topic over to the favefolks forum. Hmmm....are you hoping of 'converting' others too? :) Imagine maski na si Mom ni Tina is reading it! Grabe ngang 'phenomenon' ito. Jord's ok with it, not turned off at all. He knows the writing is inferior but the novelty of the plot keeps him interested. He speeds read so he finishes a book very quickly.”
I can’t wait for Tina and Geng’s reply to be posted in the forum lest I will be prosyletized and become one of the converts and might be blogging about it.
Gone are the days when the vampires were considered dreaded creatures. With how Stephenie Mayer mortalized a vampire in the person of Edward, the Count Dracula vampire image will surely die in oblivion.
Will the author be able to vampirize Bella? Expect that Kenton and Enggoy will have to monopolize their turn in the favefolks forum. It may even cause the most updated well-informed favefolk pulmonologist lurker to surface back online. Will it be another generation gap closer for the fathers and their sons?
Should this be the case, then expect to read a blog written from the sandstormy desert coast by the Red Sea.
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