I haven’t any right to criticise books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
One of the most enjoyable things about learning the discipline of writing is studying those you admire; following the authors who inspire you and whose writing you would walk on fire to be able to emulate. Reading acquires a new dimension as you study their methods, their choice of language and themes, and begin to understand why you love their work.
You might also want to talk about it. Heaping praise on Australian author Tim Winton, at least for me, is easy. I identify with his settings and characters, and I think his prose is magic.
It is the way of ideas to burn brightly for a time. Given enough fuel they ignite passions, blaze through communities, spark enlightenment and become beacons for the disenfranchised and hopeless.
But like the people who promote them, they dim and weaken until the fervour, the arguments and optimism which drove them turn to ash, and only darkness remains.
It may seem a melodramatic way to introduce Kazuo Ishiguro’s short story, A Village After Dark, yet it is this darkness – this vacuum of conviction where ideas once shone – which provides the main setting.
In the Eclipse novel two of the characters, Edward being one of them, shake their heads ‘infinitesimally’.
Particle physicists have strived for decades to unravel the mysteries behind the unmeasurable shake of the head, declaring it officially uncalculable or so close to zero, that sentence negation is sucked back into an affirmative vortex.
This however has not deterred our heros from putting this gesture into action, particularly in cases where senseless ambiguity and subtle incomprehension are called for. And let’s face it – there are many questions to which a boring yes or no answer will not suffice. Let’s take a simple conversation between two idiots:
Everyone is muttering in Forks. Fans have even gone so far as to travel from all over the world to Washington State to join in on the muttering and find out for themselves if it is really so common as the Twilight books portray.
It’s therefore perplexing to visitors when one of the locals mutters unwillingly. Why would they mutter against their will when it is the preferred form of communication? And when muttering is not the desired form of communication, how else would they like to express themselves?
There are many things in life that we don’t want to do, like cutting the toenails of the elderly and feeding our baptist neighbours’ narwhals, but sometimes we just have to.
We might need the money or are forced into compliance by mafia gangsters. We do these tasks therefore, as one would say, unwillingly.
But muttering unwillingly?
Charlie is a good father and tries his best to raise Bella in a responsible and supporting manner. He knows there’s nothing illegal or immoral about muttering to his daughter. It could be that, while everyone is indeed sick of the all the muttering going on, he is bound by contract to stick to the script he was given.
The last breathless gasp was done in an airlock in 1969 when Buzz Aldrin realised that Neil Armstrong had beat him out the door.
Since then the craze has taken off in lunar proportions.
At least in Forks.
In fact, the trend has become so popular in the town that the federal government has had to ship in emergency supplies of oxygen. Even during mild cases of bewilderment, residents are gasping without inhaling or exhaling. This is leading to widespread fainting and giddiness.
Please, if you accept this physical challenge, make sure to take regular breathing pauses.
Hissing at people is generally considered rude. But it’s easy and fun to do since there are so many words in the English language that contain the letter S. Just imagine if we were snakes: we’d be doing it all the time!
There are unfortunately some words which we can’t hiss. Mammary is one of them. So is lullaby, Rocky Balboa, who farted? and crack cocaine. Anyone on the end of a good hissing will ignore this and prefer to concentrate on those well-prolonged Ss in order to judge whether you are doing it right.
So long as you choose words with this syllable at all.
Ask any first year student of Mandarin and you will realise that there are some sounds which are quite difficult for our mouths to produce. Hissing an aspirated H is one of them.
But, blasting all that we know about phonetics out of the linguistics rule book, Bella pulls it off when she hisses the question “How?”. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, she did it “through her teeth”.
Careful, Bella: the snakes might get envioussssssssss.
Bella and Jacob find themselves clenching their teeth a lot in Eclipse. On one particular page they even do it together – not in the “let’s play in Grandma’s cabbage patch and dig a grave together”, rather their teeth come together while clenching.
According to most dental professionals, such exaggerated clenching is stress-related. Stress also leads to burn out, rickets and the Ebola virus. Admittedly, being caught in a torrid love triangle with a werewolf and a vampire, or discovering that you can grow a full, lush coat of fur before you even have pubic hair can be a stressful time in the life of a young person.
We just hope it doesn’t lead to case of chronic teeth grinding. Weary jaw muscles reduce the ability to communicate coherently and of course, no-one wants to be browsing the aisles of the denture shop before one reaches 29.
The challenge to those experiencing similar problems is simple: can you not clench your teeth together?
Experienced interrogators can detect if someone is lying from even the most subtle expressions of body language; in fact, many of our gestures reveal our true thoughts and intentions, despite our efforts to suppress them.
I was once caught out at a job interview because I coughed unprofessionally. Who would have thought that clearing my throat would have communicated idleness, unwillingness to co-operate and a tendency towards corporate theft. What’s worse, on the way home the taxi driver refused to let me in his car because I hailed him down miserly. How he knew I wouldn’t tip him is beyond me.
Bella does so much whispering and muttering it’s no surprise that many of her co-characters have to interpret what she wants to say. She might shrug in order to feign nonchalance, but only the keen instincts of friends and enemies understand her true motives. Shrugging guiltily will get you busted every time.