Don't get me wrong; I am deeply enchanted by the core, vampire mythos, quite appreciative of the genre overall and I enjoy much of what's out there. However, being one who over-thinks life (my fields of formal studies as well as areas of keenest, ongoing interests were/are theology, philosophy and behavioral science) I dwell on our "sitz im leben" (fancy, philosopher speak for 'situation in life') as human beings and I am disappointed that most vampire lore since not long after the inception of the genre has erred essentially too simplistic.
Now,I realize that it's pointless to argue the commercial success of new stories like Twilight. However, with all due respect to the author who is clearly a talented writer with a creative imagination, it seems demeaning to a profound tradition of vampire mythos exploiting the vampire subject as a vehicle for a teenage love story which is clearly more the emphasis in this story more than vampirism. Call me particular. And, with each new iteration of evolving vampire lore it seems that writers, publishers and movie producers gladly sell the integrity of the vampire myth for the price of a caricature. So goes the prostitution of art... My issues/observations are several:
First, why would an eternal, nearly all powerful being allow others of his ilk to be around? This creates perpetually heightened risk for the demi-immortal. The dilemma is this- to always be looking over one shoulder for other vampires who may want one's own horde and/or turf while also looking over the other shoulder for human hunters. The point and my contention here is that vampires would be extremely rare instead of depicted in throngs as is most often the case in contemporary vampire stories (while this may clearly be a sensational device to beneficial commercial ends).
Now, one could perhaps argue with me about the vampire’s desire for community with others of like kind. This notion of vampire desiring Community assumes (I believe) some covenant between the community’s members surrounding a common good communally agreed upon by members generally possessed of rational minds. If Vampires are, by their very nature, depraved and not good (I hope for little argument here or we’re done) I can't believe that eternal beings could possibly remain rational if they may barely remain sane (more on this later). If we may agree that any extant vampires would be few and far between, I can’t imagine that the few vampires would get along with each other any better than our global superpowers manage and we see how well America generally does with Russia and China not to mention emerging, fledgling nuclear nations like North Korea and Iran. To my point again regarding barely clinging to civility and sanity.
Second, if an eternal creature survives long enough to become established, wouldn't they do so by remaining "under the radar?" This is to say that they would establish a demonstrably legitimate supply of blood like involvement with a medical enterprise or a disaster relief agency. This to avoid eternally biting necks and arousing the suspicions of law enforcement agencies. Moreover, they wouldn't be "living on the edge" by being down and out in the alleyways at the bottom of society's ranks. After living a millennium or two, wouldn't they pretty well figure out how to make a few bucks and parlay it a few million times over? So here’s the real ‘edge’ vampires would live on, and it has nothing to do with being at risk by carelessly killing on the streets for survival, but it’s due to struggling with bigger issues. Wait for it (the edge); we're almost there.
Incidentally, biting necks wouldn’t anymore be a current practice of the ancients than forty year olds would still be drinking from baby bottles. The overly conspicuously method of leaving k-9 puncture wounds on necks would only draw attention and risk of exposure. Ask a seasoned survivor about “leaving no trace,” at least one who’s been at it a while.
Here's the real conflict-
Vampires who have survived for centuries have been there and done it all! The few survivors among their ilk would have amassed fortunes and been captains in industry. They would be discretely but well known and respected among those important people whose names common folks may only ever see as "Anonymous" donors of museums and libraries. They have held key positions of power in governments (or sovereignties). They've experienced every political, business and sexual conquest known to mankind (yes, they’d eat and have sex; vampirism is a virus and nothing more!), and they'd be dead bored with nearly every aspect of life known to man.
Dreadfully, although the survivors among these immortals would be accomplished in every way, they couldn't celebrate their victories with family or loved ones because they are deprived of anyone close to them or as enduring as they. Nonetheless, either they can’t (or won’t) end their own misery! There's the challenge to hold on to one's mind. There’s the dread of the condition. Aching isolation and eternal paranoia. Live with those companions for a few centuries and try to maintain your bare sanity!
Here's the hope-
Yet, what if an eternal being were to aspire to that highest aspiration to humankind- the arts? A case may be made that the nearest to being godlike that one may become would be existing in the role of 'creator,' or being engaged in the creative process. Imagine, with a lifetime to practice, how accomplished a pianist one could become, or a painter, or... pick your medium or mediums of creative/artistic expression. Especially if given the opportunity to study with da Vinci, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, or Rembrandt? How brilliantly could one make their own artistic talents shine?
And looking forward to a future with hope, the immortal could cling to realistic hopes of continually finding the next emerging master under whom one could then study… for a time. Could this not potentially hold one over for decades, even centuries, thereby staving off inevitable insanity that might otherwise come with an eternity of isolation and despair? There's the only prospect for 'salvation' for the decaying mind that this writer could imagine by way of doing character study.
And then again, the final, dread conflict/curse-
Then again, however brilliant one becomes in his or her chosen medium or mediums of artistic expression, an immortal can still never be discovered, recognized or celebrated, for to become known and appreciated is to bring upon oneself the awareness of the broader population and of course, the fearful loathing and the wrath of the self appointed witch hunters of each age. This because one can not escape being identified as being ageless without arousing certain suspicions. So again, to the vampire's mental despair.
EXCEPT for this- for those brief, fleeting moments for opportunity to fellowship with those kindred spirits of prodigiously gifted talent, with artists with whom the eternal, doomed soul may commune (the closest to community they may dare to be). It becomes these temporal periods during the human artists’ lifetimes and within an immortal's endless journey during which the vampire can find some solace in the creative process under the tutelage of mortal masters. During these indulgent periods the immortal may enjoy a measure of simpatico with another creative master, each feeding off the others' genius and feeding each others mutual appetites while also increasing them concurrently.
This would be when the vampire, like the fallen alcoholic, may struggle with the temptation of going back to 'drinking sloppy' again. This is when the vampire’s temptation to satisfy his or her blood lust directly from the necks of helpless victims may be most irresistible and when their passions swoon as under a blood red moon. This is where IN PARIS DARK begins.
This story observes Adam Primera, a timeless and unbearably talented vampire, stalking Brian Ellsworth. Not for Brian’s life, but for his talent. For Brian is the next emerging master, albeit a tragically flawed one who is plagued with self doubt regarding his artistic abilities. Brian’s foray into the art community in Pairs to accept a scholarship at the prestigious Sorbonne is an escape from his own oppressive father who would only support Brian’s studies in medical arts (following in daddy’s footsteps). The young artist learns only too late that he is leaving bad for worse, becoming beholden to a patron cum, uber father figure, even more manipulative than the one from whom he’s running.
Brian is framed for a peculiar manner of serial murders committed with artistic panache as well as clear knowledge of the medical arts (Adam’s other works of passion now that Brian is near) and he finds himself indentured within the sanctuary of Adam Primera’s estate, protected only by Adam’s privileged political connections. Before long Brian finds himself gradually descending into his own abyss of insanity at the hand of the ancient manipulator and able student of human behavior. Will Brian be able to create for himself a way out?
It is clearly my aspiration to share this vision on the big screen. Perhaps one or another marketing tool will help achieve this end. If you care to read segments of the IN PARIS DARK script to see if you might agree that this story offers a fresh, smart, highly plausible vision of vampire lore, please share this website with a friend or two (or more). Perhaps if sufficient buzz is generated, a movie can actually get produced that can also tantalize the visual senses as well as the sensibilities of an awaiting audience.
An Appeal to Allow for a Fair Hearing- a P.S.-Post Script
I appeal to you, reader, before damning me for asking you to consider a significantly variant view to vampire stories, take a breath, calm yourself, light a candle if you wish, and close your eyes to think. Really think deeply about this. Try and remove yourself from your temporal perspectives. We all have them and live with them every day. We are temporal and all that we experience is through the lenses of our temporal minds. Perhaps this is why we are so enchanted by the notions of immortality in vampire lore.
If you can, think like an immortal having lived for two centuries... or eight! Imagine for a moment that all of your loved ones are dead and gone for generations. Now imagine the world hating you for what you are. Not just those outside of your family and social circles; EVERYONE. Now imagine you have to live with this FOREVER while working a damn boring job or worse, living a life of crime where nearly all criminals eventually get caught-especially serial killers (i.e.; vampires) who have disproportionately higher law enforcement resources committed to them, and being apprehended to then spend decades at a time in jail where one is under even closer surveillance so severely hindering one from plying one’s essential trade (especially if it’s blood sucking).
Now, can you seriously imagine not losing your mind in only a hundred years, if that? How would an immortal possibly maintain any sanity without some long term hope as I proffer in In Paris Dark? Now try imagining living for 800 years. Sound hard to imagine? It is. We think so temporally as mortals, unless we can force ourselves to immerse our imaginations into the truly outrageous possibilities of immortality. This is what I ask. This is character study. This is what writers do. This is what I’m endeavoring and for which I'm hoping to get fair hearing on my flight of fancy. A flight I believe you may engage with me if you can glimpse the vision. Best regards!