Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why I Don't Want to be a Vampire

So I woke up this bright and sunny Seattle morning thinking about vampires. While you may think about coffee, the person lying next to you, what to wear to work, or how close you now are to Friday and the weekend, I think about vampires.

I never claimed to be normal.

Anyway, maybe the reason I'm thinking about vampires so much is that I am reading two Sookie Stackhouse novels in a row (Definitely Dead and All Together Dead and, at the same time, watching season 3 of True Blood on HBO).

I am sort of on vampire overload, which brought me around to thinking about if I'd want to be one. It didn't take me long to come up with the answer, kind of like Amy Winehouse's response to rehab. Do I want to be a vampire?

I said, "no, no, no."

The answer surprised me. After all, through most of my younger years I was enthralled with the undead, vicariously living (deading?) out their experiences in such books and movies as The Hunger, Interview with the Vampire, and 'Salem's Lot. I even wrote my own vampire book, In the Blood, which you see pictured above. Maybe when I wrote it, I was beginning to see the tortured, not-so-glamorous side of the undead.

See, here's the thing. I want to die. No, I don't mean I want to die right now, give me at least a couple more decades, maybe more. But the prospect of being immortal doesn't hold the appeal it did for me when I was say, sixteen.

I'd like to think with age comes at least a smidgen of wisdom and that wisdom tells me that being immortal would be a nightmare. Now that I'm a little older, I can see the many stages I've already passed through and know that there are more to come. These stages have taught me who I am as a person and have resulted in at least a little growth (and I'm not talking physical growth). I have accomplished things I wanted to accomplish. I have been married, had a son, found a wonderful life partner, published a few books. There's a progression there. The responsibilities of being immortal are daunting. I need a rest! I can't imagine hundreds or thousands of years more of trying to fill up my time.

But that's not the worst of it. Being older has also taught me something very serious. It's taught me about loss. I've lost my father and my mother. My grandma. Beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins. Each loss takes a little something more away from me. It would be a true horror to live forever, every few decades losing all of your loved ones while you go on. That's terrifying. That's tragic.

So, if any bloodsucking fiend knocks on my door one night, I will turn him away with a polite, "No thank you."
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3 comments:

  1. Ha! I always think that too. And imagine being stuck in some transitional stage, like puberty or menopause. NO, thank you.

    When I wrote my own vampire novel my main concern was with basic physiology. After all, no beating heart, no blood pumping, no erections. Why do we always ignore that? No breath, no ability to move air through vocal chords, no "I vant to drink your blood". But it didn't take me long to decide I wouldn't want to be a vampire either. Think of spending eternity without feeling the sun warm your skin.

    Oops I forgot, you live in Seattle. :D

    Actually, the human character in my vampire novel feels very much the same way you do. He doesn't wish to be turned, and it drives the conflict between the characters in that book.

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  2. I do and don't agree. I think the immortal thing is inaccurate. After all, a vampire can be killed or chose to commit suicide.I think having the choice to hang around 'as long as you want to' would be cool. I wouldn't want to live until it was almost impossible if not definitely impossible to die (as Anne Rice's vampires seem to be if they survive long enough). I agree with you on the loss and think that unless someone I loved could share that immortal life with me I wouldn't want that existence either -- and that kind of enduring love would be rare. I've spent enough years with my partner to be unable to imagine wanting to part but a few hundred years from now? Who knows? The blood thing puts me off the most. No I'm not squeamish. I wouldn't want to hurt the innocent and although blood is blood I'm not sure I'd want to drink from the 'wrongdoer'. I mean there's a certain type of person who is just so evil that I'd feel disgusted having to live off them. Okay, so I need therapy. I put far too much thought into that answer didn't I?

    And IN THE BLOOD -- the book I love! :o)

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  3. I never thought about being a vampire. Actually, I always thought it would be wicked cool to be a werewolf. The big, monstrous half-man, half-wolf kind ala the Frank Frazetta poster.

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