Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Why do I keep bumping into vampires?
It's annoying. It's ridiculous. I am not interested in vampire stories, or vampire movies. Yes-yes-yes -- I have watched some of the famous vampire films, but couldn't stay with them -- got bored -- yes-yes-yes, BORED.
The ghostly human shape -- face with toothy smile -- jagged incisors -- the head nuzzling someone's neck -- the blood red drool -- Catholic crosses, mirrors, creature sleeping in a coffin, stab it three times in the heart -- all the symbolical mythological baloney -- yes-yes-yes -- it frustrates and bugs me.
Vampires stymied my career as a writer. My agent got offers for my saga manuscript, "'Somebody,' Woman Of The Century," from Simon and Schuster, Random House, and Putnam, who offered $150,000, more than the others. My agent signed with Putnam. Two months later a letter arrived -- WHAMO! Evoking a clause, Putnam dropped my book, saying author Emily Frankel's "revisions are incompetent and unacceptable."
Huh? (I'd only revised 4 pages that they'd asked me to revise).
Oh boy -- lawsuit threats -- lots of huhs? whys? My agent says it was money -- Putnam accountants decided the saga trend was fading -- vampires were booming.
So here I am, bloggering, tweeting, facebooking, youtubing, selling my six self-published novels.
Just a few days ago, I read about Stephanie Meyer, 39-year- old author, whose vampire romance series "Twilight," sold over 100 million copies, and has been made into money- making films.
Am I jealous? Would I want to trade places with her artistically? Well ... yes-no-yes-no-maybe. She was deemed " bestselling author" of 2008 and 2009. She's sold over 29 million books, and now she's producing more vampire novels, and more films.
No doubt about it -- Stephanie Meyer is thrilling, exciting, enchanting teens and grownups who need the vampire fantasy that keeps thrilling, exciting, enchanting them -- and changing -- as the world changes and people try to adjust to death.
Ann Rice, who is, perhaps, the world's foremost, most successful vampire writer, said, “The vampire – the symbol for the outsider in all of us – is romanticized by teens because they so desperately need to find a noble path through the hideous passage that Western culture has set up for them.”
Yes, history tells us that every age gets the vampires it needs. In 1897 when Bram Stoker wrote "Dracula," and England had the largest ports in the world, there was fear of disease that was being brought in by immigrating foreigners. Stoker intuitively, rightly, created the monster bringing dirt from a foreign land.
This happened again and again in every period that has had a wave of interest in vampires. In the 1980's, with AIDS, remember how people became infected by vampirism like a disease?
I gotta admit, my ideas on this have been shaped by Margot Adler, correspondent for NPR, "All Things Considered," who's written extensively about worshipers and pagans in America.
Perhaps, Meyer's Twilight series, with its huge following, perhaps has to do with our need to be addicted to something -- alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, food, exercise -- we are clearly addicted to living longer. We seek immortality with possessions, homes, entertainment, and recreation. I think our vampires are movie-star glamor-girl-glamor-boy hunks with cars, boats, planes, high fashion everything, and money to burn.
If I decided to write another novel, I'd make my heroine a very young girl. I'd write about her growing up and fighting the waves, the riptide that pulls females today into the whirlpool of choosing a career, a love life -- the hot tubs -- yes-yes-yes -- with wide-open eyes, my heroine would swim along -- kicking and flapping feet and arms to stay afloat, keep floating and moving along, as her very own, special, unique self.
Yikes, that's hard to do or try and be, these days.