Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Karen Essex on Why I Love Vampires

Karen Essex's new book Dracula in Love has just been released, and to celebrate Karen has agreed to share with us why she loves vampires. Given how popular they seem to be everywhere now, it seems a very timely topic! You can find out more about Karen and her books at her website, Welcome to Historical Tapestry Karen.

Friends and readers, let me give it to you straight. I do not want to die. It’s that simple. Oh, I am not afraid of death. I believe beyond a shadow of doubt in the immortality of the soul. I am absolutely certain that death will be a pleasant, if not ecstatic experience. I always believe that the best is yet to come, and I extend that belief to my experience beyond the death of the body. If life is good, then death will be great.

On the other hand, I am conflicted. I know that my consciousness is eternal and has probably been projected into many bodies in many different eras of human existence. There are probably many more lifetimes yet to come. But I really like this body that I am in right now. It looks good enough, is aging better than I expected, and most of all, is very healthy. It has always done what I ask it to do: crawl, walk, run, shoot baskets, pitch baseball, dance, contort into weird yogic positions, sprawl on the couch. What more could I ask of a hunk of flesh and corpuscle?

I also very much like this mind; the one that is communicating with you right now; the one that talks back to me when I ask internal questions; the one I educated for years and years; the one that has read thousands of books and written six of them. Do you have any idea how much work that’s entailed? Why would I want to start over with a mushy baby mind that can’t string a proper sentence together when I already have this finely tuned machine that once did calculus and can still turn out five pages of smoking prose even on a down day? Why?

So you see, despite my optimism about the glory of the death experience, in the end, this birth-age-death-rebirth cycle just does not work for me. That is why I decided to look into other options. I am a thorough researcher, so believe me when I tell you that I investigated all sorts of things, even cryogenics.

In fact, to write my new novel, Dracula in Love, I studied every sort of magic and mythology having to do with immortality, and I concluded (along with Dracula) that the best and most attractive option, at least for me, is vampirism. As Dracula himself might have worded it, if life is good and death is great, then how much greater is undeath?

I wish that I was unique in my desire, but suddenly, massive numbers of people have come to the same conclusion. Everyone wants to be one! Did the vampire community secretly finance a multi-billion dollar image improvement campaign? For centuries, vampires were terrible monsters reflecting cultural fears; now they are more glamorous than rock stars and reflect our deepest fantasies. You can’t throw a stone without running into a woman looking for a Dracula or a Cullen to give her eternity (and I don’t mean the cologne).

I say we are very close to being vampires already. We live in a youth-seeking, youth-worshipping society—on steroids. Every generation has longed for a fountain of youth but today we actually have youth-extending tools that enable us to reject the very idea of aging. We have stem cell treatments, hormone therapies, miracle herbs and vitamins, cosmetic surgery both invasive and noninvasive, and loads of medicines that can keep us alive and looking good past our expiration date. I often run into people who look better than they did twenty years ago! We are already vampirizing ourselves at unprecedented rates!

On a practical level, shouldn’t we amortize the enormous investment we’ve made in ourselves over a few centuries at the very least? One of the most depressing things about studying history is that humans do not learn by the mistakes of their ancestors. Every generation has to learn its own lessons in its own time. But imagine a world in which a good segment of the population was immortal. These ancient beings, having been witnesses to so much history, could be our most valuable advisers and our most trusted and wise voices. The accumulated wisdom and knowledge in each undead brain would rival the world’s greatest libraries, and, being immortal, would not be vulnerable to the sorts of things that have destroyed the great libraries of the past such as fire, flood, earthquakes, or marauding hordes of warriors.

The more I ponder the idea, the more it appeals to me. I don’t suppose you want to join me for a snack?


  1. Great post, Ms Essex -- thank you!

    I say we are very close to being vampires already. We live in a youth-seeking, youth-worshipping society—on steroids.

    So true -- I hadn't thought of that, but you're so correct!

    I'm not a vampire girl as a rule, but I'm drooling over Dracula In Love.

  2. Wow...I love it! I love what she's saying here! This just makes me want to read her book even MORE! :)