I have a similar condition. I go around my daily life, noticing people, whether they be at school, in the mall, the beach, wherever, and unwittingly see resemblances to favourite book characters, movie characters, or celebrities. Or, as in this particular case, a most beloved author.
Today I had a job interview, and the kind lady who greeted me at the reception, and subsequently conducted half of the interview, somewhat resembled one of my favourite authors, Meg Cabot.
I first came across Meg Cabot when I was about thirteen or so, through her six-book series, The Mediator. Being me, and totally unaware that I was delving into a series, I read the fourth first. It was about a girl, Suze, who could see ghosts, and was responsible for sending them on their way to hell, heaven, the afterlife, wherever they were supposed to go. And luckily for her, there’s a hot 150 year old ghost in her bedroom. I loved the story. I loved Suze’s take-no-crap attitude. To put it plainly, she was ballsy. I loved the writing style. It flowed so easily, I felt that I was in the protagonist’s head – better yet, that I was the protagonist. I felt like I had found, what Anne of Green Gables would romantically call, a ‘kindred spirit’. And, oh, how I loved the ghost, Jesse. So well-mannered, principled, and refined. How I longed to meet a boy like him. (Of course I eventually found out that I was longing in vain – there aren’t many well-mannered, principled, refined high-schoolers of the male variety. Not in my experience, anyway).
I subsequently went on to look for her other books, hungry for her writing that flowed so well,her vivid characters, humorous dialogue, not to mention the memorable, and highly drool-worthy, love interests. And believe me, I got a lot of what I wanted.
Except, now I’m starting to realize that Meg Cabot doesn’t really do it for me. Not like she used to, anyway. Maybe I’ve outgrown her – which I feel is the saddest thing anyone can say. To outgrow something means that it wasn’t even a conscious decision on your part; you just naturally progressed into a state where you don’t even need that particular person, thing or place, anymore, which was of such high significance to you previously. I lived for Meg Cabot. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But I admired the woman! I admired how she’d kept on writing, despite the numerous rejections she received; I admired the way numerous ideas just kept popping into her head, manifesting into highly entertaining books to be read. And, mostly, I wanted to be her. I wanted to write, too. I would hope fervently that I, too, would get a big break like her – that I, too, could come up with a book, which would launch me into author stardom; that I, too, would get a severe case of book writing diarrhoea (quite a serious case, in which the victim is consequently bombarded with ideas for books and must endeavour to put them on paper or die trying).
And I do still admire her. But the fascination, the adoration that I once had as a child is gone. The shine is gone, there is no more glitter. Now I view her books in a slightly more critical manner. And maybe that’s a good thing. After all that’s what I’m learning to do now. But I was just suddenly hit with this profound feeling that I didn’t love this author, whose books I used to devour hourly, as much as I used to. It’s like buying these amazing new shoes, finding that they’re the perfect fit, the only ones there, and you sink your feet in, and it feels like home. And for a time no one can make you part with these shoes. You go everywhere in them. And one day you decide to try a different pair. So you take the first off, and put them away safely in the closet. But suddenly, you’re on a shoe spree, trying on one pair, and then the other, there’s a whole new world of shoes open to you, and you have been let loose, free to enjoy it to all of its advantages. And then one day you remember those shoes, the ones in your closet, sitting quietly in the dark. You go back, you try them on again and to your quiet dismay: they don’t fit.
And you realize they never will fit again.
That is how I feel about Meg Cabot’s books. I hope I’m wrong – that she is able to write something new and entirely different that will reel me back in. But if, in the end, that still doesn’t happen, I am content, and grateful, in the knowledge that her wonderfully entertaining stories brought that certain light into a part of my life. Her stories were a significant part of my girlhood, and as much of what you read becomes a part of you, so her stories have become a part of me.