When you envision a “writer,” what comes to mind? Do you picture the classic masters--Poe, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Salinger, Wolfe--those wild-eyed geniuses with elbow patches and threadbare sleeves, those souls who shunned societal norms to weave the stories that changed literature and lives? Or perhaps you have a more modern view of writers: Stephen King, Anne Rice, Danielle Steele, J. K. Rowling . . . those whose names appear on their book covers in larger font than their titles. In this open and digital age, we know more about the Big Novelists, it seems, than they know about themselves. Still, they remain mysterious and untouchable; just beyond the reach of the common person. They are living legends.
When it comes to popular novelists, it is easy to believe that a writer’s life is glamorous: filled with launch parties, literary hobnobbing, and crowded book signings where the hapless writer--much like a rock star--is hemmed in by hordes of swooning fans. The truth, however, is far from this glittering fantasy aspiring authors are wont to believe.
I am a writer, and I know the truth. They--the Big Ones--don’t want you to know. They hide behind their pop-culture façade, wallowing gleefully in your ignorance. But even at the risk of ostracizing myself and crushing any chance at an invitation to the Inner Circle, I’m going to share the truth with you.
Writers are vampires.
Yes, that’s right. Vampires. Writers are the Undead; the succubae; the Children of the Night. Now, before you panic, understand that vampires are people too. Just like writers. They won’t harm you. They only want to be left alone to pursue the fulfillment of their souls--wait. Vampires don’t have souls. Okay, to pursue the fulfillment of their dry internal organs.
Still don’t believe me? Consider this overwhelming evidence. . .
Conclusive proof that writers are vampires:
* Writers are creatures of the night. Ask any one of them, and they’ll tell you tales of writing into the wee hours of the morning. In fact, many celebrated writers have been quoted to the effect that night is the best time--or the only time--to write.
* Vampires survive through the intake of a single fluid: blood. Writers survive through the intake of a single fluid: coffee. Coincidence? I think not.
* Writers abhor sunlight. Why else would they refuse to accompany a group of friends to the local beach on a gorgeous sun-drenched afternoon? “I have a deadline,” they’ll say, or, “My muse is calling, and I must write now.” A likely story, indeed.
* Legend clearly states that vampires have the power to create illusion; to fool mortals into seeing something that does not exist. Novels are illusions that trick us into believing these fictitious characters are living, breathing people with histories and relationships and jobs and homes. Plainly the work of vampires.
* Writers are immortal. They live on forever in the pages of their tomes. Remember in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, when the powerful wizard Tom Riddle forced himself into existence by sealing his essence in a diary? J. K. Rowling wasn’t making that up. Hemingway is alive and well, living on some remote seashore and wondering when the old man will wash up on his beach.
There you have it. The truth about writers. If you need more proof, consider this: writers often refer to their drive to create stories as being “bitten by the writing bug.” Vampirism is spread through biting. Have you been bitten? If so, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but it’s too late for you. Stay out of direct sunlight and stock up on coffee, and get used to the idea of living forever.
Hark--suddenly there is a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. Perhaps I’ve said too much.