Bethie walks in and stretches out on the stereotypical leather chaise, folds her hands on her stomach, and tries to relax.
“Are you comfortable?” Dr. AG asks.
“As much as I am going to be,” Bethie responds. “Let’s do this.”
“So, what do you want to talk about today?” The doctor asks.
“I would like to talk about some hot lemons I have read or why there are so many damn pictures of cats in this office, but I suppose we should talk about my mommy issues,” Bethie retorts looking around uneasily at all the whiskered faces staring back at her. “I picked Renee because I have my own issues with my mother, and I find it fascinating how we use Renee in fic.”
“Fair enough. Let’s begin,” the doctor says pulling out some 8x11 cards. “What I have here are some images, that I would like you to look at, and then give your reaction.”
“Like a mommy version of the Rorschach test starring Renee?”
“Are you sure you’re a doctor?”
“Well, that just isn’t even creative.”
No Renee At All
On the flip side of that, I checked out Fanfiction.net while doing my research to see how many fics were out there that listed Renee as one of the two main characters. There are 118, and I would have to say that 95% are one-shots; majority of which are she & Charlie before Bella, post-BD surprise visits, or redoing canon moments. It seems that, even in fan fiction, we just see Renee as a supporting character.
Dear Abby Renee
Renee, as the sage, typically shows up when Bella is holding herself back from happiness, or on the other end of the side of the scale, Renee feels that she and Edward are rushing into things. In
Cocktails & Dreamsby
fatallyobsessed, a case where Renee and Charlie are still happily married, Renee swoops in as the sage when Bella is at a loss of what to do about her crumbling relationship with Edward by telling her,
I think we use her as the source of emotional wisdom, because she flies about in a frenzy most of the time that when she stills, the words become more poignant.
Other times, the advice comes in the form of the honest truth about Renee or Bella’s life. In
Sleepers, Awake: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimmeby
Feisty Y. Beden, Renee brings some clarity to Bella’s wandering existence as she is seeking answers after Edward’s death, by pulling the curtain back on the fairy tale of her parent’s courtship, marriage, and life before Renee left. After Renee comes right out and tells Bella she was a mistake, that she never loved Charlie, and that she gave up her life with them for the man she truly loved, Renee offers that clarity moment,
Bella is smacked with that reality, that no matter how awful mother is, in some small ways, she is part of us. We are like her.
Bat Shit Crazy Renee
The first level of the crazy is extreme selfishness. This Renee thinks the world should revolve around her; that all actions should be carried out as she sees proper. She is less a mother, and more a saboteur of happiness.
Jayeliwoodand I had long couch sessions over her Renee in
Pieces of Time. See all of chapter 30. Renee’s possessiveness of Bella leads her to constantly berate and physically attack Bella’s husband, when he is being nothing but loving to Bella. Her warped view won’t allow for Bella’s happiness.
Other times, her crazy manifests in the form of the orchestrator or active participant in Bella's unhappiness. In
Bella & the Billionaireby
nashstheory, Renee has kept her daughter in an abusive marriage to Jacob, because she and her husband profit from Jacob's success. She also manipulates Jacob in the end to try to kidnap Bella for the mere purpose of extorting money from Edward.
Emotionally Distant Renee
A great example of a Bella who is desperate for Renee to be the concerned and caring mother she needs is in
Ruby-Wednesday. You can feel it pointedly in the letter she has written for Renee in her notebook. Just reading the first line,
Right from the start, she is pretending the reality of her situation is some Internet black hole, rather than believe the fact that her mother isn’t responding to the things she has sent her. The letter itself is a desperate grasp at engaging Renee by bringing up memories of the past and how happy they were together then.
The flip side of this is a Renee who has been so harsh and neglectful, that Bella is desperate to let her go. In
Art After 5by
sleepyvalentina, Bella’s issues with emotional intimacy leads to the destruction of her relationship with Edward, and it’s pointed out in therapy that a lot of this stems from being abandoned by Renee at six weeks old. Renee’s presence is like any other part of the atmosphere in this story. She is as prevalent to Bella’s journey as the air she breathes. Not by her physical presence, but the scars she left behind by never being there.
Doc's eyes narrow beneath her fake horn-rimmed glasses.
Anything But Conventionalby
kyla713, Renee commits suicide leaving a five year old Bella to find her. A decade after the incident, and Bella still carries the confusion and emptiness of a child who has had to emotionally check herself, and the lingering confusion of not being enough of an incentive for her mother to live. It also leaves a silent strain between her and Charlie until the end of the story. She is the emotional current in the Swans' lives.
A more subtle devotion caused by Renee's untimely death can be seen in
Guns & Rosesby
RosieWilde. Bella is reluctant to accept Edward's interest at first in fear of Charlie being left alone with no one to care for him. She is living the role of “woman of the house”, and it isn’t until Edward leaves for the war, that she allows herself to dream something more for herself.
In the end, we love Renee in that supporting role. Whether she is making us laugh with her flighty antics, comforting our spirit with her advice, driving us to distraction, or crushing our spirit, she is always lurking in the depths of our storylines. As all mothers tend to do.
“Anything else?” Bethie asks.
“Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself,” Doc encourages.
“My pen name is
EJ Santry, but most people know me as Bethie (who started that…Moi? Katie?). Let me be a testament to how important reviewing really is. The reason I am here today talking with the good doctor is that I am an avid reviewer. A thoughtful review is a gateway to conversation. Conversation leads to me boring you lot with my mommy issues and drabble. I have a blog of all my reviews and what I am reading at:
http://ejfanfic.blogspot.com. I do also write. Currently, I am writing a full-length fic called
Diseased Affair, which I will be wrapping up soon. I have also done several one-shots.”
“Well, I think that is enough for one day?” Doc says.
“Thanks for the session.”