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Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sheri Lewis Wohl
So tell the truth…the cross you wore around your neck when you were younger, it wasn’t simply an expression of your faith, was it? No, you wore it for a little extra protection against the creatures who claim darkness as their own, didn’t you? Oh, you know what I’m talking about—vampires! For me, it started around age twelve. I’ve loved scary stories and movies for a very long time. Yet, for some reason, my interest in vampires picked up at that age, and just in case, I sported a beautiful sterling silver cross for years. I didn’t really believe in vampires. I just didn’t quite not believe in vampires either.
It didn’t start on Halloween for me, though I must admit a particular fondness for the day folklore tells us the veil between this world and the next all but disappears. Something about the darkness, literally and figuratively, has fascinated me for a really long time. Scared me even. It began a journey not just as a writer, but also as a scholar, into the why.
Did I come up with any answers along the way? For me, yes. Whether others share my theories is up for debate. For me, it has helped me to understand why I am fascinated with things that go bump in the night. In Gothic literature, the vampire is both evil and alluring. Death is cheated, the ravages of age denied and the vampire’s strength unstoppable. All one is required to do in order to receive the gift of darkness is give up daylight and humanity. Not too bad considering a life of immortality. Right? The debate still goes on in educational endeavors such as my own Masters Thesis on Le Fanu’s lesbian vampire story, “Carmilla.”
As a writer, the vampire is the most interesting of all creatures, at least to me. He or she is alluring, powerful, and immortal. The storylines are infinite. But, most interesting for me, is the ability to humanize the vampire. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they a little of both? How much fun is it to play with all those dynamics while weaving a story! Just take a look at Necuratul 3: Blood Secrets to see what I did with our favorite vampire, Dracula….
I no longer wear the sterling silver cross though I often think of those days and smile. They remind me of how my young imagination ran wild. These days, a much more mature mind still runs a little wild, only now I channel that imagination right onto the page.
Happy Halloween in May dreams to you all.