IMMORTALITY, Vampires, Life after Death

The husband and I have been holed up watching a steady stream of dvds. We don’t have a TV so all those network and cable shows are new to us. And he is from California and will never get used to the short days and long black nights of an east coast winter so I had to find something to take his mind off of it. We’ve been re-watching the first season of Six Feet Under, and Dead Like Me while we wait for True Blood to be released. And somewhere in the Queue, I think, is Moonlight- which I know nothing about but that it has been praised and it has vampires. Like most people it seems I like blood-suckers. I liked them when Bram Stoker wrote about them (incidentally I don’t think he ever described old Dracula as a babe. It took Hollywood to put that glamorous spin on it.) And Anne Rice. I’ve read the current crop, of course but I prefer the genuinely scary stuff not these air-brushed romanticized notions. Seriously if something came slithering and hunching its way out of a grave, none of us would be hanging around offering up our necks (‘like a creamy dessert’ as my good friend writer Alison Gaylin said in her book “Trashed”.)
But of course we know why we like them vampires. Because they have defeated death, the thing we are all scared of and some of us try desperately to come to terms with– especially those of us who are close to the second half of our lives. And all of us here in the Western Hemisphere where we have the time and leisure to worry about things we can do nothing about. You know what would fix that? Having to work really hard to get food on the table and enough drinking water. But we have been spoiled and so we fret and search for loopholes even though ultimately we can do nothing about it.
I am trying to achieve as much as I can now. I don’t mean I have become one of those enlightened people who live each day as if it is their last. How exhausting is that? But at least I try to be thankful and happy in the small moments—and I’m sure there’s a philosophy that covers that too but I’d rather just muddle through on my own, thank you very much. We are sad little creatures really. Trying to make our mark on the world so that we will be remembered when we are gone. And I have always felt this push inside to be heard but I have no idea where it originated unless it’s because I was dropped on my head when I was a baby. Maybe. I’m not an over-achiever, per se, mostly because I never cared too much about what other people thought of me, but I have my own internal guide, and my own system for measuring myself. And this is what compels or perhaps propels me towards whatever goal I have set including of course, writing. Writing this blog, writing books, writing, writing , writing.
And then I remembered this from Carolyn See’s “Making a Literary Life- Advice for writers and other dreamers” and it all made sense.
Outside of having children, or dying, nothing more dramatic or life-changing can happen to you than to see your work in print…When you have something in print, even if it’s a recipe for heirloom tomato aspic, you’ve bought a ticket in immortality’s lottery. Part of you is floating in another universe, and until every last copy of whatever-it-is, is burned, smashed, and gone, you are, because of that little scrap, not bound by the rules of time.
Like everyone else on earth, writers are scrabbling to scratch their names in the dirt. But we are much much worse.