Allure of the Vampire

(Vampyre, Vampir, Upiór, Upir', Upyr)

In the wake of Twilight and its ongoing mania topped with True Blood as well as the push to re-vamp (pun intended) Anne Rice's vampire chronicles and Johnny Depp cast as the popular vampire, Barnabas, in Dark Shadows, the blood-sucking franchise is moving forward full steam ahead. People seem to lurk in the shadows, like the famous fanged ones, waiting to take a bite out of whatever form of media produces the next vampire story. But the question remains- why do people flock to see these leeches in action? Maybe it's their animal chemistry or maybe they've glamoured us with their magic. But the fact remains- people would bare their necks to anything vampire.

Vampires have been in the media for centuries. The first documented use of the word vampire was in 1047 AD when a Russian church priest cited his name as "Upir' Likhyi " or "the wicked vampire". In European countries around 1718, official city documents recorded the local practice of digging up bodies and "killing the vampires." But looking even deeper into history, we find vampirism as far back as Greek and Roman times where they documented creatures that had a lot of vampiric qualities, oft times depicted on pottery. Yet they did not bare the name "vampire" back then. The only term they could identify with such a creature was demon or devil. In India, it was the vetala, an evil spirit that entered the bodies of corpses. In Egypt, it was the goddess Sekhmet who is notorious for drinking blood. In Hebrew lore, there is Lilitu, (or Lilith), known as the night demon (sometimes taking on the form of a scops-owl) portrayed as a seductress who feasted on the blood of people. Despite a history rich in vampire accounts, nothing was more sensationalized than the "18th-Century Vampire Controversy" in Europe where superstition capitalized over rational thought. Hysteria prompted vampire hunts, accusations, and terror. Though, this panic has seemingly changed over the years.

Presently, vampires still steal the spotlight (or moonlight) though are treated in a much different way. Unlike in centuries past where the vampire was to be exterminated and feared, they seem to captivate and titillate the human psyche of today. Why the change? Perhaps it is what the vampire has come to represent in today's media: forbidden temptations. And, as we learned from Eve, something that is forbidden is very alluring. The bad boy/girl image has always fascinated people. We are drawn to them because these "rebels without a cause" represent the high stakes (no pun intended) danger, chaos, and darkness that we yearn to acknowledge yet keep shackled deep inside us. In an ethical, upright society, displaying anything that goes against the structure's mores or represents vice is considered uncouth and immoral. Yet vampires live their lives free of human structure and unreservedly tap into their darker side. We all harbor this darkness, but do not dare touch it or encourage it. The vampire encompasses forbidden pleasure, unfettered living, control, immortality, desirability, and usually extensive wealth. These are all things that we yearn to possess. So when they are all embodied in one being, that one being is ultimately attractive.

Christy was going to come visit and join me at Worldcon… but things happen out of anyone's controls.

We both traveled during this time; we both still had to pack and unpack.

My journey was much different. I shared a room with someone who has become a good friend, and a stranger who I'd like to become a good friend.

I met and hugged one of my heroes. He wished me luck in an endeavor that had me mentally and emotionally packing and unpacking a lot of baggage. Luck listened to one or both of us. Perhaps I can keep a few unwanted fears packed for longer now - because they never actually go away. You always need to change those suitcase locks, and the airport never loses those bags.

I packed and unpacked for the BIGGEST party I ever threw - or helped throw - bigger than my own wedding (but missing the most important part). People came looking for us; they talked about us in the halls and sought us out. Inanna packed most of those remnants, but a few tagged along home with me - along with a glow that went beyond the packs of Jell-o shots. And too many Styrofoam glasses.

When I packed to leave, I forgot and missed important things: My camera (I had to buy a disposable one to capture pictures, although grainy). My memory stick that had my academic paper and presentation on it. And my friend who packed for her own journey.

I packed and unpacked freedom and equality and support for women writers.

I packed and unpacked potential new friends' and colleagues' sacred names and calling cards.

I packed and unpacked enshrined memories to my Dad, to and from my family to wherever he is now. Like the pictures in my brain, the photos are fuzzy and not entirely clear and not an exact representation of the place or event - but still imprinted. And still beautiful.

The story draft I packed to leave is not the same one that I brought home. What I learned has changed the words and meaning forever. And they may change many times more.

The Hope I packed to leave was different than the Hope I unpacked upon my return.

Have you ever noticed that you what you pack and unpack at the beginning of your journey is never the same as what you pack and unpack at the end? What changed?

My husband and son went to Hawaii to be with family in order to take part in his grandpa's funeral. I took the opportunity to go visit my sister, mom, and grandparents as well as other extended family in the meantime, which proved to be a good get-a-way on my part. I haven't seen some of them in nearly 15-20 years.

Taking a trip somewhere, no matter how long you are gone, is always great. People need that break away from their day-to-day lives in order to function coherently. That's why weekends are so crucial in the working world. Without breaks away from it all, redundancy would be coupled with buckets of drool. But the strangest thing too, after being away from normalcy too long, you actually crave to get back to that very world you fought to get away from. We're all gluttons for punishment, yes.

Yet, when I returned from a trip to Washington, I think I had the worst nostalgia.

As I unpacked my bags and put things away, memories of the trip haunted me. Even though I was glad to be home and get back into my routine, I longed to be with those I left behind. I suppose that's what makes visiting people you haven't seen in a while so worthwhile.... and making it so hard to let go.

So, as I washed the last bit of Washington off the car and vacuumed away the last cheesy fish cracker from the floor, I packed away my precious memories.... in order to move on... and look forward to the next time I get to go.

It's been a while since either Chris or I posted... so here's a post as I procrastinate on my paper: details on my blog: or

Let's see if I write it like this if my picture formatting issues are easier. - Let's see if blogger will let me put my pictures where I want: - Obviously not... and it won't let me do a strike through either. Above pictures are of a crazy writer's desk when she's under deadline and has been for a while...
Back to work....

About Us

We have a diverse, combined writing experience. I am a middle school English teacher and an administrator and co-administrator for various writing groups. Trisha is a freelance writer, editor, and online educator whose fiction appears in FANTASY GAZETTEER. Together we co-authored "Party Crashers” for the EPPIE award winning anthology BAD ASS FAERIES 2: JUST PLAIN BAD.