Monday, November 23, 2009

Can You Really Find and Date a Vampire?


I supposed I asked for it.

My book How to Catch and Keep a Vampire is starting to raise questions like this one, and I realized it would be handy to have a blog post that addressed it, so I’d have a spot to refer those inquiring along these lines. For example, a fan of the book recently asked me, “I want to meet a vampire, but I’m too shy to approach one, especially since they are so attractive...what can I do to get over my shyness?”

So let me start by saying, I have an aversion to being a buzzkill, especially when the “buzz” involves being imaginative. For example, let’s say you’re talking to fellow fans of a TV series. Let’s work with the example of “True Blood.” Everyone is going off about how much they’d love to date Bill, how cool it would be to talk to him about Civil War days, how dreamy his eyes are, etc. I’m not going to be the one to say, “Look guys, there is no Bill, and I doubt that Stephen Moyer knows anything special about the Civil War.” Au contraire, I’m going to be the one saying, “If Bill came to Milwaukee, I wonder where I’d take him on a first date.”

Recently at one of my book signing appearances, an obviously very intelligent and mature teen girl asked me, “Have you had imaginary friends?” I said (with total honesty), “Only like dozens! I have them right now, several of them.” And this girl proceeded to tell me about her imaginary friend with wonderful enthusiasm, very much as if he were real. Maybe someone not like me would have said to her, “Aren’t you a little old for this?” But think about it a minute: she said “imaginary friend.” It’s not like she’s deceiving herself that the guy is real, in a flesh-and-blood way. It’s just that she’s clever enough to take him just as seriously as her flesh-and-blood friends. And in my opinion, she should.

So, if you really must have me say it in black-and-white: No, I have not dated any real vampires. No, I am not in my book offering tips for finding real vampires and going out with them. But what fun is it to dwell on that?

The fact is, I (and millions of other people) have hung out with vampires in our imaginations. As well as with pirates, space aliens, satyrs, etc. Well, fewer with the satyrs I’m sure. Our inner, imaginative lives mean a lot to us. We’d like to understand them, know how to handle them, realize ways of making them more interesting and helpful. And that, if you must know, is why I wrote my book.

Now if you know anything about effective fantasizing, you know Rule #1 is to set aside reality. At the climax of the play, the villain is not going to turn to the audience, “breaking the fourth wall” as they say, and tell them “You do realize I’m not really going to kill the hero in this scene--we’re just acting.” Just as you get to the moment of the hot love scene in your bedtime fantasy, you do not tell yourself “I must keep in mind I’m not really Hugh Jackman’s girlfriend.”

On the contrary, effective pretending is enhanced by anything you can do to make it seem more real. Why do you think so many people get a charge out of seeing there’s a Web site for Oceanic Airlines? Or buying a four-pack of TruBlood from the HBO Store? Or following Dexter on Twitter? Of course you know you can’t buy tickets on an Oceanic flight to get to the Lost island. You know there’s soda, not synthetic blood, in those bottles. And you know some marketing person is posting as Dexter. But what fun is it to dwell on those facts?

This is why I hate to have to step out of my persona as Diana Laurence, friend of vampires, expert on dating the undead, and counselor to vampirophiles everywhere. This is why I don’t want to have to tell someone with a vampire dating question, “You do realize I’m not seriously talking about dating real vampires, right?”

I suppose in the interest of full disclosure and so I don’t get sued by someone, I have to go on record in this regard. But it’s not like I’m enjoying having to write this post.

The way I truly prefer to reply to the girl asking about her shyness problem is this: Don’t worry...the happy thing is that vampires, with their mind-control talents, can simply hypnotize you into not being so shy. Just walk up to the vampire in question, showing off the red satin ribbon on your wrist, and he’ll be happy to solve the problem for you.

That’s my “story,” and I’m sticking to it. Get it? Good.

14 comments:

Mesmer7 said...

If a really cute, 18+ girl asked me how to date a vampire, I'd probably hypnotize her and convince her that I was the vampire she wanted to date...at least for a couple of hours... but then, I'm a devil ;-)

When I'm writing, I create characters I like, characters I wouldn't mind being friends with. I think that's essential for developing a character that readers will enjoy.

Diana Laurence said...

Good plan there, Mesmer! :-) And you're absolutely right...one's affection for the characters is key--including a weird sort of affection for the bad guys.

Anonymous said...

So in other words vampires are just in our imaginary minds right...not real..?

Diana Laurence said...

I don't pretend to know everything about the world we live in, Anonymous, but I think that's it!

...MY NAME IS ELENI AND I AM A BOOKAHOLIC... said...

Hi Diana,

I'm so thrilled you liked my review, I truly meant every word! Yay thank you to you and your team for putting me on the list for reviewers you love :)

Also, yeah Ian is a super hot vampire, you should watch The Vampire Diaries, it's a really good show. I honestly have never watched an episode of Lost but I definitely will tune in with my Netflix, would never want to pass up a chance to stare at Ian hehe - thanks again for stopping by on my blog! :)

-Eleni
La Femme Readers

Diana Laurence said...

And thanks for stopping by MY blog, Eleni! FUN. I highly recommend Lost. It went a little haywire for a half season in the middle, but otherwise is absolutely incredibly good. I may have to rent Vampire Diaries myself... :-)

Ebyss said...

Your book is definately on my reading list. I absolutely love the idea.

Diana Laurence said...

Ebyss, thanks so much! I hope you enjoy it, and let me know what you think!

Anonymous said...

If somebody asked me how to date a vampire I'd tell them "just like any other person"
because that's who we, as vampires, are.
we're humans with energy deficiencies. that's all.

Diana Laurence said...

A very good rule of thumb, Vampire Anonymous!

Amalie said...

Hi Diana - I think I may actually have to go back and re-read your book, now that I've read this post of yours. Very funny, I laughed out loud at your words - "Just as you get to the moment of the hot love scene in your bedtime fantasy, you do not tell yourself “I must keep in mind I’m not really Hugh Jackman’s girlfriend.”" Good point.

Even if you hadn't been compelled to say it in black and white (about them not being real), I'd still think you were a relatively lucid and sane person who has been blessed with a very fertile imagination. I 100% agree with you that we should indulge our fantasies but of course, it's always good to make sure that the line between fantasy and reality remains clear (especially if other people are involved), i.e., no ritual blood sacrifices, etc. Just kidding.

At the end of the day, reality is just another state of mind - it's about the way we perceive the world, and the bottom line is that we are each in control of our realities, whether that includes vampires or not. And as you saw in my post - just because it isn't real, doesn't mean it isn't REAL. So I say, dream on. Keep up the good work and have fun with your "friends." ;)

Diana Laurence said...

Awesome, Amalie! I could tell from your review and a little snooping on your blog that we are SO on the same page about the imagination. And I am "relatively" sane and lucid, all right...LOL!!...you gotta look at that issue on a sort of "sliding scale." :-) Glad you enjoyed the post, and I'm so glad we met!

Anonymous said...

For someone whom claims to know something does not exsist, you sure know a lot of facts about them. (facts being the keyword here)

Diana Laurence said...

Funny how that works... ;-)