Summer Vampire

Remember Barnabas Collins?

Some say they hole up and write the most and their best in the winter months, when brooding skies, cold and rain and snow, drive them indoors.  Picture the well-stoked fire, the over-worn sweater, the steaming urns of soup and cups of tea.  What a cozy picture.  But not for me.  I’m like some kind of summer vampire.  The light glows brighter and I’m twisting my shoulders away from sun, hiding indoors during the heat of the day — the air-conditioned library serves me best — emerging in the early evening for a glass (or 3) of chilled white wine and a mental wind-down.

I was never one of those kids who eyed the start of summer.  I didn’t care for that kind of freedom.  I craved the routine of school:  the ringing bells, the expectation of a real lunch, the paper-shuffle-quiet of test taking, the structure of playground games like Tether Ball and Four Square.

As this summer comes on, I’m shuffling paper and getting to work.  And I’ve got Dorothy Allison on the brain.  Last week I watched a short interview where she talks about growing up in Greenville, South Carolina, and writing about the country of her imagination.  You can find it here (Dorothy’s part starts at the 41 minute mark).  In the span of 15 minutes, she says the word “dangerous” 10 times … as in: it was dangerous for her to write about her home, her family, her real life.  The country of her imagination was a place where “men were dangerous animals roaming the earth.”  Dorothy wrote her first story when she was 9 yrs old.  And she burned it.  Then she continued to burn every single thing she wrote — feeling that her truths were just too dangerous to be out in the world — until she was 24 yrs old.

Summer’s here.  I promise not to burn anything.  I’m remembering Dark Shadows.  And I’ve got Dorothy, brave Dorothy, on the brain.  What’s got you thinking these days?

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9 thoughts on “Summer Vampire

  1. Lyra

    I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to write the cliche, to reach out for the surface feeling, and never dig down to the guts.
    I’ve been thinking how this should be a balls to the wall, gut-filled summer.
    I’ve been thinking maybe I need to start editing what I have, using the computer and typing out this epic, to see if in the process the guts can be mined.
    Oh, I’ve been thinking…

    1. amyg

      wait…an oregon trip? i didn’t even know (as if i live next door and am responsible for picking up your mail).

      have fun.

      i’m thinking that i’m in a hibernating period at the moment but it can feel it lifting.

      i got some writing to do. i’m almost there.

  2. macdougalstreetbaby

    I’m thinking that danger has always been a part of me. I was born into it.

    Really really interesting interview. I relate to a lot of what she talks about. I relate to the poor, to the self hatred and the desire to get out, and then the profound love of what’s left behind. And, of course, the danger.

  3. Erika Marks

    I’m thinking, remember when vampires meant Barnabas and Frank Langella’s Count? Twilight what? Edward who?

    Thanks for the reminder of that soap, Teri.

    Here I’ve been thinking that rewriting a whole novel, while not my plan, is manageable when it must be done. But I’ve also been thinking that a bottle of Trader Joe’s lemon curd is suddenly urgent. Don’t bother with the toast. A spoon is fine.

  4. Oma

    Eric on True Blood. I am smitten. I still love those 60’s movies with Christopher Lee, corny but fun. Vampires that sparkle in the sunlight? BS.

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