Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why Vampires?

This is an idea I'll return to and expand later. Basically somewhat of an explanation for why I've written forty poems to make up a story about vampires and am also planning on writing at least two short stories dealing with the mythical peeps. I'm not all too proud of this first edition of the article, but it's a skeleton to work from and I've written it, as in it has been written, is finished, so that's something to be proud of. Deadline writing is an important task to learn, as professors will remind you; since I'm already behind and still will be after this, it's a small prize to win but I've churned out another, sitting here typing, my hands on the keyboard, a machine talking to a machine.

It has come to my attention, recently, that a certain theme throughout a few of my writings is that of the vampire. My first book, as I mentioned offhand in a bewildering stream of consciousness post, ends on a section called Vampires on Campus (It’s in quotes when I originally referred to it, but italicized here, because I’m not sure which way it should be—it’s a collection of poems, but it’s also a part of poetry/story collection, so it seems to elude a correct method of punctuation.) and I think there are some more stories to write about my kind of vampire, one that explains it a bit.

The vampire is, I would assume, a mocked type of genre tale, the sort of story that gets you laughed at. Stephen King is only grudgingly seen as a popular writer, by literary peeps, and they discredit all of his credit as a writer of literature. Needless to say, they’d tear their hair out to see discussion of any serious nature regarding ‘Salem’s Lot, which was just an amazing experience for me, reading scenes late at night, the TV tuned to Soundscapes, at one point what sounded like a collection of twelve-year-old runaway children led away by a pied-piper, whispering in sing-song, “we are the lost.”

It seems, then, somewhat productive to add some explanation for my choice of fairy tale, my choice of fantasy. Not that that I feel particularly forced in this regard, but rather because I do have my reasons and knowledge within the mind is not a useful concept, it only becomes important when it is made manifest in a way more tangible than simply thought. This, I might have already mentioned, is one of the reasons behind having this blog in the first place. Besides it being a more reliable form of memory, it’s also a way of making information available. Mainly information about me, because that’s the only sort that I have that’s unique, I guess I should add.

For me, college brought a new sort of depression; as I became aware of history in a new context, I lost a black-and-white view of the world that had allowed me to use such categories as good and evil. A general dissatisfaction with history and a fear of my own free will resulted. It seems important to note that these were solely secondary changes—my over all demeanor only increased, allowing me to work through some serious mental blocks and reach what is actually a really good place mentally, if I do say so myself. But yes, history is a dreary subject, and I’m not sure that it changes based on your heritage. I may have specific feelings about the way the world has been brought to here, but on the other side of various horribly one-sided and inhuman double standards is anger and on the other is regret. These are often the same emotions viewed from different directions, so I think it’s all relative.

Perhaps what’s the worst of all with history is that we never really learned anything. The person that I am today absolutely hates practically everything that made up fifties America. And my parents were at the back half of that. There are people that’ll still be alive in fifty years that lived through that entire decade. This isn’t the distant past. You try to take issue with the way things used to be by saying that it was way back when, but it really wasn’t. It’s no wonder, then, that we still have a country and, more broadly, a world that’s so focused in discrimination in one way or another. Basically we’re brought back to obvious truths: things change, but they don’t change quickly.

Even so, it’s difficult to address these changes, because, from the perspective of the radical, conservatism is often unconscionable, is narcissism, so how can we deal with it? I’m reminded of Bret Easton Ellis tweeting about how he has to rethink his negative opinion of female directors. This is a man who praises The Hills as beautiful television, who’s only written one actually-made-film, which was absolutely torn to shreds by reviewers everywhere, and who thinks that Sex and the City 2 is the most underrated movie of the year. Or at least he said that last part on Twitter as well, so it should be taken as seriously as his comments on female directing.

What was bothersome was the reaction from women who I guess were feminists: going for his throat because he answered a question of “Why did you think women couldn’t direct?” with some biological bull shit that was made quite hilarious by the fact that he’s being interviewed on account of the fact that he’s changing his mind. Prejudices don’t die over night and they don’t simply go away on their own. Art is one of the things that can be used and used well to crush them. Sports and even the individual actions of every person often walk these same lines as well. So what happens when someone begins to change? Begins to think more openly about things? To eliminate or at least recognize the stupidity of their inner biases? When you’re young you can do this quickly and easily, because you are only throwing maybe a fourth of your life away, but the older you are, the more set you are in your ways, so the longer it takes. And in doing so, in stating what you think while you are in those transition periods, you’ll end up taking all kinds of heat from the radicals, from the people who I tend to agree with generally.

This creates a bad taste in the hypothetical person’s mouth. He or she’s thinking, Why am I even changing my mind about these things if I’m getting still getting shit for how I think, for what I believe? This is how you create very angry, irrational individuals and that’s how the system works. Is there a solution? I don’t know. But we’ve been brought back to the vampire.

Fictionally, vampires can be posed as a form of step-ladder evolution. A society made up of them could be brought to look at the world more openly. They would all have experienced public dislike of the worst sort (if our various portrayals of vampires are to be believed; characters often attempt to kill them…) and would also be forced to pay attention to others’ views, because their lives would change and they would be unsure of how this new world worked.

It’s a na├»ve idea, mocked in a Neil Gaiman short story called “Fifteen Painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot,” and horribly romantic, but it’s something to be mused upon. An answer that can only arise fictionally, but one that is well documented just the same: that’s the reason for returning to the blood-drinking kind in different tales. I think it’s mildly justified.

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