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I am going to tell you a Love Story. It’s a story about two young people whose pure and selfless love so deeply impressed me that I am compelled to set it down in words, if only to see its beauty light up the page. This is the Sad Beautiful Tragic story of Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.

To begin their story, I must go Back to December, that month when a new student arrived at De Lacey High School and changed everything. Her name was Taylor and she possessed an angelic, unearthly beauty and a musical voice that floated down the halls, making everyone fall in love with her. I felt myself drawn to her along with the entire student body, but I was as invisible to her as I was to everyone else. She had particularly Enchanted Harry, the senior class president, and when they were together I saw Sparks Fly.  I watched as she sang for him in the courtyard; her voice was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard as it danced over the words she wrote for him. They seemed to speak their own language. Although I recognized the words, it was as if they had adopted a new meaning which I could not comprehend. I told myself to Shake It Off, but there was something captivating in the love they shared.  I became so obsessed, so Haunted by Taylor and Harry’s story, I wanted nothing more than to experience an affection as profound. But that kind of love will never belong to me and I know it All Too Well. I am destined to remain a perpetual witness, cast aside because I am ugly and awkward and because I do not understand the workings of teenage affection. Still, all I wanted was to stand before Taylor and say, simply, “You Belong With Me.”

Eventually I learned of Taylor’s tragic story. Her mother had died when she was young, and ever since she drifted through life like a ghost. Her father was involved with drugs and she had learned how to avoid strong attachments to people or places, silently packing her things each time he decided to leave town. Her life was a Blank Space waiting for her to write her own story. She hoped against all hope for the day when her savior would appear on a White Horse, just as he had in her Wildest Dreams.  She found her deliverance with Harry; he made her believe it was possible to be infinitely happy, Forever and Always. But Taylor’s father did not approve of her association with Harry. The boy was from a different world, a more affluent world in which Taylor did not belong because of her Bad Blood. But her father’s threats and alcoholic rage could not keep Taylor away from Harry. Rumors began to circulate about Taylor’s father and the vagrant life they led, and she became an object to be pitied, but avoided as though she carried a deadly illness. The only one to remain by her side through it all was Harry. I found myself enraged by this conflict of human emotion, that one could be capable of such inspiring love while the others demonstrated a terrible cruelty.

Then one day, Taylor didn’t come to school. She didn’t come to school for the entire week. A heavy sadness fell upon Harry, and without her by his side everything seemed unbearable. Eventually we learned that Taylor’s father had gotten in over his head and they left De Lacey before the police could find him. But they caught him and locked him away, leaving Taylor completely alone in her shattered world. Harry learned of the arrest and, because he would do anything to restore Taylor’s happiness, paid her father’s bail. But for this incredible kindness, Mr. Swift loathed Harry even more and forbade Taylor from ever seeing him again. (Like ever.)

But Taylor was Fearless now and she escaped. She ran in only one direction and when she reached Harry’s home, he welcomed her with the most indescribable joy. And the image of their embrace is forever imprinted on my heart as the highest form of human love. May it Long Live.

To my lovely publishers,

To begin the creative process for this piece you asked me to compose, I turned to my usual source for inspiration: Taylor Swift. A quick Google search of “taylor swift and frankenstein” led me to this video, which is itself a parody of Twilight. I realized, perhaps for the first time, that the very core of Mary Shelley’s narrative frame is a story of star-crossed lovers, much like those found in today’s young adult franchises. Like Katniss and Peeta or Edward and Bella, Felix and Safie shouldn’t be together: they come from different worlds, her father doesn’t like him, he has no money to support her. I think this part of Mary Shelley’s novel is too often forgotten, despite it’s structural and metatextual significance as the center of the narrative. I was particularly interested in conveying, as briefly as possible, the emotional development and internal conflicts the monster experiences as he observes Felix and Safie’s story unfold. While I kept the “outsider” point of view, I decided to incorporate the “monster figure” into the world he describes. I felt that if the monster were placed in the context of a modern American high school, he would be that loner kid who doesn’t fit in with “the norm.” Essentially, I attempted to modernize the Felix and Safie story by situating its plot in the context of a typical young adult novel laden with teenage angst, rebellious lovers, etc.

Why Taylor Swift? Because I love Taylor Swift. But really, I think we can all agree that her music best captures the drama and emotional conflicts within relationships. She is the queen of star-crossed lovers. I thought using her as a cultural reference just how amusingly dramatic and romantic the Felix and Safie story really is. A “Taylor Swift song” could definitely be written about their relationship.

P.S. Bonus points if you can figure out what all the bolded words have in common!

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