“Don’t scream,” whispered a voice as my eyes snapped open and focused on the scarred desk.
The yellowing fluorescence had made the claustrophobic space feverish in spite of the Autumn chill beyond the windows. The hum of noise had been a hive of unmotivated workers – lecturers, paper-pushers, cleaners, security – what felt like only minutes ago. Now it was dark, the hall was quiet. The door-
My gaze swerved to it. The door was still closed but if the little rectangle window above it was to be believed, the hall outside was dark, lightless, obstinately at odds with how I knew it should be. Had to be. It was only-
I blinked into the glaring white nuisance of the computer screen, blissfully still blinding. It was 02:24. AM. A gust of breath escaped me. That was what happened when you hid in your office like the newly hired office hermit. I slid off the chair, falling into a casually upright pile of bones and aching muscles and shoved my laptop, my keys, into my bag. I looked over the desk. Nothing. Impersonal telephone, impersonal pen, even more impersonal notes. Shrugging the bag over my shoulder I lifted my hand to the door.
“Don’t,” whispered a voice.
My fingers stiffened on the handle. I’d already pulled it down. It strained to be let loose, the door not quite aligned. It would need to be pushed back and the handle slowly released to lock me back in.
Footsteps in the hall. The scuffing of shoes over the carpet.
“Scream,” whispered a voice inside the office with me.
But did I?
Nope. Nope. That would be cool though. In fact, that? That would be bitching. Like my nightmares. They’re never what I want anymore. Give me monsters, ghouls, fanged gentlemen, and evil seductresses. But what do I get? I get 02:24 pm nightmares. Home invasions, financial strain, those horrifying dreams about misplacing your baby and finding him weeks later having somehow survived on scraps as a mongrel.
Yes, yes that is my sleeping brain.
That isn’t what I want, but that is what I get. My exhausted mind is building its own horror to deal with a pack of waking issues that shouldn’t be more than blips on my radar. But these things, they steal from me. They’re stealing my life, my happiness, my joy in my ten-month old daughter, my aspirations.
Today I, for the ninth time this year alone, made someone else’s dreams come true. I wrote an article that was reviewed by not one person, not two, not just by my manager and an editor. Oh no, it was revised by six people. I was emailed multiple times by the interviewee and instructed as to how the content should appear. I devised a title which was reviewed and changed twice at the end, without my input. The only thing about that article that is still me is the name at the bottom. And at the end of it I was emailed by the interviewee in question who giddily told me that the article had gone viral and she was so grateful to me. For what, I thought. For putting my name on something that is no longer mine but is a Frankenstein representation of what I can actually achieve if I am left to do what I imagine I do best?
And I am humiliated.
We all have to do things we don’t want to, to survive. For our families to survive. But I am a writer, goddamn it. A dedicated writer crawling out of a dedicated mother. I write for me, and I write for her. I write because I want to give my baby girl everything, even if “everything” is the darkest forms that my expressions of love can manifest in words and twisted images. Because there is beauty in darkness. There’s satisfaction in an overwhelming victory against the nightmare. There’s security in the arms of the anti-hero. In dreams the dark can be mesmerising.
The only real deterrent is my own mind. The same mind that looks at my three open projects and becomes so childishly overwhelmed that it then says “Hey, how about, right? Instead of writing, why don’t we just… Watch Top 10 lists on Youtube?” That’s where my head is at right now. But if I were ruled by my own panicking whiner of a socially inept brain, I’d never get into the gym swimming pool again because of the Tulpa Pool Shark (story for another time).
The only person holding me back is me. I know that. Maybe I’ve always known that. But now it seems to be about the right time to fight that instinct, kick it in the teeth, bury its bones in my garden and hang its head over my big tv screen. As my husband says (and I’ll bet he’s way proud of me now for saying it so publicly): everything up to now is just another fucking opportunity for growth.
So I went digging through my bookshelf today to find my copy of Queen of the Damned, but the blackhole that is my house has swallowed it, and I will need to replace it somehow with some money, from somewhere.
This is Lesson #3 in my set of posts about how Anne Rice inspired me to write, the things I have learnt and the joy that I derived from gathering words into beautiful choruses and letting them sing to a captivated audience. At least, I try to live up to the potential that reading the Vampire Chronicles made me consider cultivating.
The lessons to be learnt by writers in Queen of the Damned are a little more obfuscated than the ones mentioned up to now in Interview and Lestat. Queen of the Damned is the first book to give a perspective – a number of perspectives in fact – that are so completely different from the Yin and Yang of Lestat and Louis. They are opposing forces that need one another to survive to their utmost potential. Centuries into their time together, they still gravitate towards one another and only feel whole when they’re together. That is an aside, previously discussed in other posts. but here, we’re going to be looking at the number of new and enticing entries that occurred in the Queen of the Damned novel, that opened up the world of the world of the Vampire Chronicles to display something not in the least claustrophobic. A novel that took the reader away from the vacuum of Lestat’s thoughts alone and offered opposing ideals, notions, thoughts, and feelings.
A single perspective makes the reader learn to love and hate and feel all the things that the character is feeling. In Interview, it was torturous not to feel sympathy for Louis; even empathy when his world was at its darkest. In The Vampire Lestat loving Lestat was easy. He made it so simple just by being himself. But knowing those same characters from the perspectives of others is like falling in love and knowing the love of those characters in an intimate fashion that is almost like voyeurism. It’s as exciting as voyeurism, but more importantly, it’s seeing the tiny webs of pulsing veins that connect them, the ghosts of their past passions, and their incomparable love through their eyes and feeling for their consorts in ways that it was impossible to feel for them before.
The two examples I’d like to look at are as follows:
Lestat and Akasha
Akasha’s evil is on the back burner for me as far as questions of it go. The reviews are mixed and with the new information in Prince Lestat it is getting increasingly hard to see Akasha as evil. Then again, some of her human choices were questionable too. That aside, Lestat is in love with her. It isn’t infatuation, it’s the love of a man that has looked into a woman’s soul and found that soul looking back at him with understanding. Akasha could have chosen anyone, but she chose him, she kept him as her consort and her lover, and Lestat fulfilled the fantasies he’d allowed himself to entertain from the moment he saw her, played for her, and angered her King. Feelingless creatures can feel. Even millennia old “monsters” know love. One can argue that that love is more of an infatuation, an obsession. Maybe it’s glandular and has everything to do with the instinctive need to find a tribe. But Akasha chose Lestat and for however brief a time it was, they knew love.
Marius and Armand
I doubt – no, I know – that I was not the only reader waiting for a reunion of these two characters from the moment Armand divulged some of history to Lestat in The Vampire Lestat. Aside from the fact that Marius was a relatively mysterious and unknown quantity here, there was a much deeper level to it. Armand is the quintessential lost boy, and Marius is the anchor that keeps him from floating off into his own madness (later the relationship between Marius and Daniel felt very similar, though in that instance, Daniel was utterly dependant on Marius, and not just used to dreaming him up late in the day in order to try and recall who he really was as in Armand’s case). There were numerous occasions in Prince Lestat when I was hoping for a similar meeting, a rejoining of characters that had lost each other, with the same depth of emotion. Marius’ love for Armand proves two things. 1) In fiction, anything is allowable, anything is done, and all things can be beautiful. 2) Love can heal any wound and can conquer any chasm it faces. An old Roman loves a young boy, and it’s exquisite. Armand is changed from a scared child to an obstreperous bon vivant, and it proves the most basic truth about love: it’s a cleansing breath of air, rain washing away the filth of the day.
In terms of vampire fiction/literature, love is often overlooked, or looked into in a creepy, stalker-ish manner. It’s easy to think of the vampire as a separate entity, something to be treated as alien. But if we are looking at vampires as a metaphor for humanity (greed, lust, envy, etc.) then we should look at them as the norm, not the other. Vampires are intimate creatures by the very nature of what they are. Touches between humans have a myriad of symbols attached to them. Touches between vampires are the same and vampires have to touch, constantly, to feed. The more they touch, the more they feel, the more love they get drawn under by.
This is potentially what makes the vampire such a smashing candidate for Romance and Erotica.
Queen of the Damned allowed one very simple insight into writing: There is no story without a character that can feel, that can flail into fits of rage at the loss of love or passion. And no story without characters that love one another. Whatever the manner of the love, the gender, the orientation, the crushing weight of the desire, it matters. It draws a sterling human creature out of some descriptive words, a fetching scarf, and a speech attribution.
I started this thread last week and then had difficulty continuing, in spite of my ever-present willingness to talk about these novels. It’s been a tough week, personally and worldwide, and tougher still considering the circumstances and the dangers in the world and the never-ending horrifying news stories that come from world powers and little backwaters like my own country. As such, after a good week of moping and an unwillingness to communicate more than a word here or there, I decided to dig myself into my escapism and live in it until things improve or until I am in a position to fight for the good things. The good things aren’t always easy to see, and a lot of the time they tend to be hidden behind the big bad that stares at us from the ajar closet in the dark and terrorises us into sleepless nights and hours huddling in front of a night light. And that seems to be a fairly decent starting point for a book ostensibly about a villain that turns into the story of a towering hero and his centuries of accomplishments on a manic journey.
~What can I say? I have a soft spot for the bad boy and the anti-hero, and sometimes even the villain. In a world filled with James Potters, I tend to root for the Snapes~
“Villain” is another word for the Hero of a different story
I picked up Interview and Lestat in one shopping trip and it didn’t take me long into my reading of the former to be a little skeptical of the second book in the series and its somewhat ominous title considering Lestat’s list of sins in Louis’ P.O.V. But a few pages into Lestat I naturally struck a turning point and was astounded at the leap in appreciation, as well as the escape from the dreariness of Louis’ world where everything is bleak and empty, into Lestat’s where everything is something to be conquered, explored, vanquished, understood, defined, experienced… The list is endless. He does The Thing. He looks at it and determines how best to do it, how best to undo it, how best to counteract it and control it. Even when his aim is to abandon all control, he somehow dominates the thing and becomes the highlight of any page he happens to land on.
Lestat made the error of keeping a lot of himself to himself and not sharing his own story with Louis. This invited his fledgeling to fill in the blanks of what life with the manic and vicious Lestat was like and why in his own book that was meant to, in part, smear Lestat, and draw him out by casting lies into the water like rivulets of blood. It worked. And it forced Lestat to tell his own story, his own truth. It doesn’t take Lestat long to set the record straight and win over an audience that had all the potential in the world to hate him at the opening of his very own book.
As such, I try not to treat any fictional villain as a villain anymore. The Vampire Lestat proved that one man’s villain is another man’s hero, and Lestat is an enticing hero with a list of heroic deeds that more than outweigh his sins. Or so I like to think. Arguments are valid and will be heard. But I like my anti-heroes. Lestat is the Heathcliff in my universe; the hero that took more than one wrong turn on his journey towards finding himself, but his goal is still pure and untainted by whatever “evils” he has to face or endure, or in his case, commit. If I’ve learnt anything here, it is never to sell a character short by giving him a proverbial moustache that he can twirl while laughing maniacally and swooping into the darkness. Villains are not villains because they have nothing better to do. They have/had a story, and their goals, their dreams, simply differ from what the protagonist wants. Louis didn’t want to be a monster and he saw Lestat as the reason for his monstrosity. Antagonists are only compelling if they come from a place of humanity, rife with all its sinful behaviour and selfishness, to pollute the hero’s story with their own desires and subvert the hero’s aims.
Sometimes, Heroes Lie
Lestat is a do’er. He looks at life through the eyes of someone who is gluttonous, wanting more of everything, and stopping at nothing to get that sense of fulfilment. Louis is a thinker. He analyses everything until the existentialism eats him alive. It’s hard to see the rosy hues of life when the human mind is hard at work finding the bad in everything and dissecting it, only to discover a great lack of answers and an empty hole where there should be an end, or, at the very least, an explanation. It’s dark and twisted, the human mind is. The good things aren’t always easy to see. And maybe, sure, maybe Louis was feeling a little bit sorry for himself, empty, angry even, and he partly hated Lestat for bringing this side out in him. But, in all honesty, that side of him was always there. Lestat was just the catalyst that gave it voice. Louis was cursed with a thinking mind.
A question can be raised. Did he lie? Or did he ultimately believe what he put into words? Only the author knows, and, in the end, characters do what they want when pen is put to paper. It’s a flaw in the design. We want the characters to be real and magnetic, and they run away with the words, laughing and squealing with happiness that they won. If we try and wrestle them back into their prospective cages and steer the ship down the course we set it on, they win anyway because the story comes out false and insincere. I wholeheartedly believe that Louis was one of these runaway characters, and Lestat was most insulted when he was forced to play the villain in Louis’ nightmarish memories.
But, yes, I may have pinned for myself the trouble with being human (and to me, vampires are still human, they’re just, elevated, changed, whatever you want to call it, but they come from humanity and are trapped in the cycle of who they were when they died). Being human is a constant battle between the soul and the body. The body wants and needs things. The should dreams big dreams. But the dreaming part has an awful lot of time to think, and has to think while seeing bad revolve around the world like the sun’s ugly cousin. I think that this horrifying cyclical nightmare is what Louis found himself trapped in. If I think back to reading Interview with the Vampire I get shivers of disquiet. It was sorely painful, because being in Louis’ shoes was like seeing nothing but pain and suffering everywhere and being powerless to stop it, and, worst of all, perpetuating a lot of it and feeling powerless to stop that too…
“My subjects look at me with love.
And I love each of them.
They’re family. My family. My kin. My blood.
Whatever binds us, ripples through us all. We might not all be shadow, but we are all human. I remind myself every night. I am a man. I always will be.”
~ Raphael de Sangallo, Blood Amaranthine ~
I am rambling, let me stop. But I’ll leave it on this note:
I’ll debate forever until the tips of my fingers are raw from typing, that Lestat is a villain. He’s the greatest kind of hero. He’s the utterly human kind; riddled with insecurities that he masks with incessant bravado, ultimately bound to make one massive mistake after another, and, finally, he tries, to do the right thing, even if his nature drags him into the darkness every handful of decades. Humans write about human flaws because we write what we can relate to the best. And the same facets that make the human monster the most terrifying, make the human hero the most enticing. A hero built on flaws and fears that falls every damn time he tries to walk, but always gets up and keeps moving forward.
~Plus, The Vampire Lestat introduced Marius. What more could a reader ask for?~
I always knew that I wanted to write. When I was in Grade 4 I had a teacher who wasn’t all that fond of me. Or at least that’s how my childish mind perceived her concern over my “sickly” nature. But there was one thing that she always praised about me: my capacity to write creatively and well. Mostly I remember there being a lot of ellipses and exclamation marks in my work then; so I still haven’t worked out all the kinks, I guess…
I started with poetry when I remembered how much praise writing had brought me, and moved onto prose when I was about ten. So while I credit my creative endeavours in most part to my favourite authors, I don’t blame them entirely for my forays into the written word. That being said, it wasn’t until I read the Vampire Chronicles that I gave any thought to writing about vampires. Sure, the topic had always fascinated me, there were other authors that I read who wrote primarily about vampires, I watched (and read) a lot of Buffy fiction, and I found my niche in contemplating life and meaning when I was in my early teens – something that I credit primarily to the vampire in literature – but it was the concept of the “romantic vampire” that spurred me to write not just small snippets, excerpts, and stories of dark castles and midnight kidnappings, but things that made me think. And in thinking, I hoped I would provoke others to do the same.
I was young, but I didn’t need the themes explained to me: the questionable nature of evil, the danger of beauty, the simple existentialism of being alive and never being entirely certain that there’s more purpose to it than eating, sleeping, procreation, scrabbling to find meaning in what seems completely meaningless. I couldn’t put fancy words to it, but I recognised a lot of what the perspective characters felt from what I felt in my own life. The metaphor of the vampire as “the outsider” has started to seem cliched, but it’s not, it’s archetypal. Why else would vampire fiction be so popular with teenagers? Everything is urgent and every feeling seems like its the end; not just of the world, but the universe, life, the soul, all of it. I wanted to explore the same themes, other themes even. I wanted to look at the world not through the eyes of the non-fiction perspective character, someone I knew, myself even. It was too close to home. I wanted to put myself int he shoes of someone that wasn’t me, and let them walk a mile, let them find the answers I couldn’t find.
You could say, I learnt lessons from the Vampire Chronicles. Not just about life, but about how to create literary life. how to take a cutout character and breathe into him, make him move and dance and sing, make him list and sway and follow the path towards his own truth. Books aren’t always about the story. Without the characters, there wouldn’t be one. I like the characters. The characters give a tale life and meaning. I applied the lessons I learnt from each book in the Vampire Chronicles to my own writing, and I believe that I won my own internal challenge, to chisel characters from nothing and make them real.
The realest thing a character can do, is run away with the story and ignore my planning.
Lessons from Interview
Lesson one: What I think I enjoyed most about Interview with the Vampire was Louis’ wandering, seeking the same answers and never getting them. Even when his story came to a close and Daniel stared at him waiting for more, it was very clear that the story was never going to end. Because the question hasn’t been answered. If the question is “what is the meaning of life?” no one can answer it but the wanderer. And in every novel thus far, I don’t think that Louis has ever really found that. You can live for someone (Lestat, maybe Claudia?), but it’s not really living in the end. It’s surviving for that one last look that they give you, like the sun slipping behind the clouds. One day (or night) you wake up and find that it isn’t enough, and then, you start to wander again. It’s a romance, but not romantic; not, traditionally anyway. It’s a horror, but the horror is so perfumed that the reader can’t see it until the spilt odour is choking him. Interview was dark. It was like the novels I read just prior to the Vampire Chronicles, in authors like Jeanne Kalogridis and her vile Prince.
Not one of my own characters, no matter how old, is a fully-fledged person. There is always room to grow. Always. Saskia D’Asur is older than the shadow that animates her, but she still hasn’t found her answers, and she keeps moving through time, trying to find reason. I suppose she even embodies the darkness I felt in Interview, the clammy fear, the brooding sincerity. She handles everything badly, everything wrong, but she keeps doing what is in front of her, in hopes that whatever comes next, will give her life meaning.
Lesson two: People look for meaning in religion, because without a God the world is terrifying, bleak and, well basically, meaningless. With no deity, there is no afterlife, and with no afterlife, what are we toiling for? Is everything for nothing in the end? Where do we go? Do our voices echo in our own skulls for eternity? I’m not sure it’s a question vampires can answer, but, I think it’s one that they’re more afraid of than any human. Why could Louis never end his “miserable” existence (we’re barring later books here)? Was he exaggerating about his anguish, or was it that much worse: after being immortal, death was less palatable than sleepwalking through night after night like a sad, old ghost.
Our characters struggle with religion. Human, vampire, whatever their physical attributes, religion is a harsh reality that is built on something they can’t see or verify. Not everyone believes. Not everyone has to. But the ones that do face their own challenges: defining evil, coming to terms with being evil, and fighting theistically evil intent. Evil is a very Christian structure, but Christianity is the forerunning religion of the modern age, and it features distinctly in the Gas Light Victorian Vamp setting of the Sanguinem Emere novels.
And the last lesson I learnt from Interview was, possibly, the most important one: A successful character, is a relatable character. Being a bloodsucking beast doesn’t make a character obscure, but being inhuman does. It’s difficult not to relate to Louis for all the reasons previously mentioned. Lestat and Claudia, however, on occasion behave with such monstrous abandon, that Louis’ horror seems perfectly well placed. Later on, from Lestat’s perspective, the horrors he commits seems almost justifiable, definitely understandable. And it’s a charming truth of all fiction, that a perspective character is not God, and that he can lie, if he chooses, and as the avid reader, we’ll never know the difference.
~It will be too long of a post to put each of the novels in here, but I will make separate blog posts for them. Hopefully one a day ~
Where to begin with this? This is another ramble, but I think it might be an important one.
As with any interest (from running as a sport, to photography, and the public recital of war poetry outside of wartime) there are facets to the appreciation of the Vampire as a creation of Literature. Some readers enjoy the gender fluidity of the Vampire, some are more concerned with the power wielded by him, and still others find the Vampire’s innate animal attraction to be the thing that attracts them to the pages of a vampire novel. Very few people ever really discuss the presence of the Vampire as a father and a mother, but stories that play out that scene do exist. An example that comes immediately to mind is the popular trope of a young heir/heiress whose parents die and is taken into the custody of a mysterious aunt, or uncle. “Queen of the Damned” utilised this trope with Jesse’s magnetic connection to her distant and generous Aunt Maharet as well as any and all Marius love-affairs. In some cases the trope is twisted, but the ideal remains the same – a benefactor that comes into the life of a human hero/heroine and turns it inside out. How it ends is almost irrelevant.
Love is qualifiable, not quantifiable. Parents don’t love their children more than one another. All love is equal in the expanse, but different in how it takes form. Reading “Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis” now, I am hearing the word again, frequently, and it stands out like emboldened letters on the page: LOVE. As potent an emotion as anger or sorrow. Once someone has been loved, the love never goes away. It may turn to rage or sadness, but it’s always, at its core, love. Sorry, sidebar. Moving on.
A someone who is asked almost constantly by people that either share my curiosity or try to humiliate me why I “love” the Vampire so much, this is a topic I’ve had to think a lot about over the years. Initially, I grasped at straws to find my answers, but all of them were true because of the literature that I consumed. It didn’t stand me in very good stead with the (then) adults that asked the question as I told them things such as:
- Vampires are loving. My literary endeavours showed me one thing above all else. Vampires feel more passionately because of centuries of cultivating emotion and perceiving things in tighter detail than a human ever could. When I did argue that vampires were loving, I believe I was told to go to church, but it might have been a lot less antagonistic than that. What I mostly remember was a slew of people quoting Dracula at me, for a given value of “quoting.” But this, of course, wasn’t exactly effective as I had some cross pollination between Stoker and the Coppola versions of the tale. Naturally, by that point, I’d been reading Anne Rice, so arguments to the contrary of my original statements didn’t succeed in changing my mind. Oh, and Buffy… Buffy also played a large part.
- Vampires are mysterious. That one doesn’t really need any explaining.
I could never really vocalise the last one because I didn’t understand it. Only after writing my own fiction did I come even close to an answer. A somewhat strange and seemingly arbitrary one: Vampires are familial. The one trend that pulls through every vampire story (if I’m wrong about this, please drop me an argument in the comments: sometimes my thoughts run away with me) is the bond of family. Master and fledgling in the case of most (beginning with the “Vampire Chronicles”), a charming metaphor for a father/child relationship. Of course the father is often replaced with a “mother,” however, speaking in terms of the archetypes of literature, even these mothers are rather paternal. In Anne Rice’s case, the paternalism of women, and the oftentimes strength that women show which male characters fail at is a whole other discussion that I would love to get into. In the Tanya Huff “Victoria Nelson” series, the familial bond between vampires is what drives them apart, threatened territorially by one another, which evokes as strong of an emotional response as the connection between a vampire and its maker that slowly corrodes over time or stays strong and constant.
Students of psychology and vampire literature have had fun with this one in the past, I’m relatively certain. The Freudian undertones in Vampire Literature are not easy to ignore. And they aren’t meant to be ignored. The line between Parent/Child and Lover are almost always completely blurred and the two concepts become utterly confused. Which explains why so much Vampire fiction to date is credited to the Romance/Erotica genres.
I’ve spoken with regards to personal matters on these blog posts and pages before when discussing the Vampire aesthetic in Literature and why I find it so intriguing, so I might as well continue to, at least, explain some of why I write so avidly about the familial ties between vampires:
My parents divorced when I was ten and my father moved onto a new relationship very shortly after that. He never fought for custody (but that wasn’t a slight against me, I trust – he didn’t want to drag me into a legal battle) which meant that I saw very little of him. Once every second weekend. As with any relationship, we grew apart and when I was twenty, he passed away from a very brief and violent battle with cancer. I had a terrible relationship with his girlfriend, turned wife, and that toxified my memories of him and my times that I had with him when he was alive. My mother and I lived in relative poverty. I remember that we had one teaspoon and a set of three knives and forks. We had a cutlery set, but it was her pride and joy and we were not allowed to touch it until we could use it on a completely extravagant dinner. That didn’t happen. We had a mattress, not a couch, and we shared a bed for a while because mine had a splintered board that I fell through. To this day, I skip breakfast. My friend’s mom would pack me lunch, and my mom and I would get a russian and chips to share on the way home because it was cheap and dripping with oil. We hopped from house to house and lost more and more of what we had with every move. This situation lasted a good six or seven years before we finally settled, but I was often put in the middle to ask my father for money to help us out. That situation started out as awkward and became very ugly within months. In the space of the years that we lived that way, I think my father lost respect for me as a person. To this day, I don’t question whether or not he loved me, but, I don’t really think, that I ever made him proud.
As much as this seems like a woe-is-me whinge, there is a point to it: I never really felt like I had a father. I always thought when I was young that I perceived myself as Daddy’s little girl, but now I realise that my dad was more like a distant uncle that I was really fond of and sometimes got to spend time with. I replicate my father over and over in my literature. And in my literature, he’s immortal. He’s powerful, and he has the capacity and the determination to defend whichever hero/heroine I choose to put under his care.
The Father figure is, without a doubt, my favourite vampire characterisation in Literature. It can be both Father and Friend, Confidante, Lover, Compatriot, as well as many others because of the sanctity of fiction where everything is allowed and nothing is ever held back.
In Vampire Literature, the Father can be a father as well as whatever else he chooses to be. Lestat, for instance, only ever really behaved like a real, true father when, ironically, he had a child that wasn’t a creation of his, but an actual Son. His other children he treated on more equal terms with himself. Marius was always strictly a father-figure, even with Pandora; relishing in teaching, and condoning or condemning behaviour.
Vampires cannot procreate, but they can create, and they attempt, like all parents, to create in their image, to inject value into their existences, to project themselves into immortality because, as we well know, not even vampires are really immortal – a topic for another time.
For now, let me say:
She’d missed the sunrises.
At the temple, it was the only time she was ever both alone, and at peace. Loneliness had been her burden. But the morning had been a realm of what was possible. Not what had been left undone, unsaid.
And it had always been glorious.
The cerulean dissipating into rouge, burning away into a bright orange flare, and then misting off into the gold of daylight.
On the night she’d left it all behind, she hadn’t known that she’d never see the sun rise again. If she had, she might have appreciated her last morning more.
The water had ebbed far away, now, the tide rolling out.
The two figures, one tall and wired with musculature, a mane of black and grey hair spilling down its bare back, the other short, soft, golden, had long since vanished into the water. She thought she’d seen two tendrils of shadow rise up, once, in mockery of her defeat, maybe, or maybe just in celebration. They’d curled together, wound around one another like lovers. But they were gone now. And soon, so would she be.
If she was going to die, she was going to enjoy her last sunrise, as she hadn’t before her first death.
The air was thick with warmth and moist heat, the sand near to her gaze was beginning to sparkle.
Saskia wanted to swallow back some emotion. She did. Her tongue cut into the blade. Her shadow had forsaken her. That of it which couldn’t flee into the darkness was waiting, waiting for its anchor to burn to ashes in the sun.
“Come then,” she wanted to whisper to the coquettish sun. But it hurt too much, and she kept her eyes trained on the horizon.
Darkness fell over her.
The blade was drawn with agonising languid apathy from her throat.
As it broke free, she rose up, coughing. Blood expelled from her mouth, and she tried to draw in a breath, needed to speak, to form words, but she already knew who had come to save her.
She looked up.
Her Father wore his disappointed expression. The sun was beginning to rise, and his body was shielding her entirely from it. Only the edges of her vision sizzled with it. She winced. She looked away. His arms wrapped her up, arms long enough to curl around the universe. Instead they buried her against his chest.
He sequestered her in darkness, and she closed her eyes; closed them, knowing, the sun’s rising was gone forever.
– Blood Amaranthine
Vampire Bibliographica is the pet project and author page of author and general wordsmith, Carmen Dominique Taxer. All articles posted here are written by Carmen, unless specified otherwise.
When I was a little girl, I dreamt of vampires.
Never before has that line felt more appropriate. But what does it mean? When I was younger it meant that something was inherently wrong, a knotted psyche, a confused mind driven to sadism for amusement – a broken child that must be saved before it is too late.
“Too late for what?” You may ask. And to that I have no answers. It is a question which plagued me for over a decade. Why could I not love vampires in the liberation of my own preferences? Why must people glance sideways at me with concern, fear, and disgust? Had I opted for this? Was it a conscious decision on my part? I hardly think so. I don’t recall ever sitting by my book shelf, pondering what to read and actively deciding that I would prefer novels about blood drinkers over all others.
No. In fact, I recall quite clearly how I tried to stifle it. How it would sneak up on me and enthral me when I least expected it to, and my sub-conscious mind would recreate the vampire genre in my mind as I sat trying to ignore it. I would dream about vampires and wake up miserable that I could not shake the notion from me.
In short, I tried to squash the urge, I tried to shy from my nature, but it hounded me.
Now I choose to revel in it. And why not? In this society we embrace the vampire. We love him, adore him, make movies about him, write about him, and veritably wish him into our lives. Perhaps we even take it too far. But really, why fear something that has no basis in reality? Why be afraid of the urging within us that entices us to want that darkness?
It is a secure lust, a longing that will only lead to a surge of creativity, nothing more diabolical than that. Not the cataclysmic turn of events our parents expected when we were young.
When I was a little girl, I dreamt of vampires.
And I have done so every night since.
As vampire novelists, authors Richard T. Wheeler and Carmen Dominique Taxer have devoted a vast portion of their existences to the exploration of the vampire genre. This includes the implications that such a genre may have on real world ideals as well as human understanding and psychological stability. Their first book in a three-part trilogy, Bought in Blood, is currently published with Amazon.com and is intended to explore the literary vampire through the microscopic lens of what they refer to as ‘The Sangunem Emere Universe.’
Having revamped the series, “Nightfall on New Babylon,” the first in the new Sanguinem Emere series, is available through amazon.com
The intention behind Vampire Bibliographica is to give vampire enthusiasts a demesne in which to explore vampires, their origins, their future, and the genre they inhabit.