Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vampires Will Never Hurt You

The following conversation took place when Lea was still in preschool. We were riding in the car and she said, "Wanna hear the song I just wrote?"


in a sweet sing songy voice: "Look into my eyes. Tell me what you see."
dramatic pause
resume singing in heavy metal screech: "Death! Death! Nothing but death!"

I pulled over and said, "Whoa! Babe! Anything we need to talk about?"

Lea shrugged and said (very matter-of -factly), "Nah, I'm just dark."

Fast forward a couple years and Lea gets her first pair of glasses. Just like Harry Potter's.

Fast forward to the present. Lea has forbidden terms of endearment (no more punkin' or puddin' or sweetie or joy of my life) but has cleared unlimited use of the term "my little goth princess". Rolls off the tongue, right? She adores "My Chemical Romance" and wants to paint her bedroom black and design a bed that looks like a coffin. She is convinced she's a vampire and refuses to eat anything prepared with garlic. But there's an upside. Her "darkness" has totally turned her on to reading. There is no shortage of gothic novels available in the teen/YA section of the library/bookstore, so she has become a voracious reader.

One of her current favorites is the Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber. Today she had the distinct pleasure of meeting Ms. Schreiber and having her autograph her latest book in the series. We've gone to Harry Potter midnight release parties at our local Barnes & Noble store before, but this was the first time we've been able to go to a book signing.
Ms. Schreiber was very sweet and personable. She signed books and posters for both girls and happily posed for pictures. Lea said "OMG, she sounds like Janice!" (from Friends. Oh. My. Gawd.), but that's only because Lea has never encountered Fran Drescher...

Even children of the night can't say no to a cool, creamy Frappuccino and a Rice Krispie Treat. They can enjoy it, but they aren't gonna smile...

So as all the little goth kids started lining up for their autographs in a polite and orderly manner (not a drop of sarcasm there, by the way, the kids behavior was above reproach), I started thinking about how nice it is when the fringe conformists find an occasion like this to meet and greet. Like most of the other fringe groups, they cringe at the term conformist because they have chosen not to conform to the mainstream. But conform they did. They all had a sort of uniform going with only slight variations. It was like this when Tom and I used to ride Harleys, too. Same idea, different fringe group.

I'm considering all of this as I'm watching them standing there behaving like normal young teens/pre-teens, talking about normal young teen/pre-teen issues, just wearing a little more eyeliner, a little more black, a few more belts, etc. than would generally be considered to be normal (whatever that means...). I wondered what drives some kids to the fringes while others are happier in the mainstream. (I didn't come up with an answer) Then I wondered what makes the whole vampire mythology so darn attractive to this age group. The whole teen/YA section of the bookstore seems to be vampire stories, love stories, and, apparently the most popular genre, vampire love stories. The love thing is easy to figure out. Hormones are raging and these books are sort of a road map into uncharted (and rather exciting) territory. But what is the attraction of vampires? It can't be the concept of immortality - aging and dying aren't scary yet. I don't know. All questions, no answers today. For what it's worth, I liked vampires, too. Still do, though not nearly as much.

And in my last bit of vampire related news, it would appear that Johnny Depp is going for the trifecta: gypsy, pirate and vampire. God loves me.

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