Allegory of Art and Life and Whatever (and College Students and Vampires)

I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about art.

Yesterday I stopped by my brother Val’s office/house downtown. I’ve always loved this large stick style home. He purchased it around 1910 and has done a remarkable job of keeping it up over the years when so many Victorian and Craftsman style homes went into disrepair.

Val’s office is on the bottom floor. The second floor is a comfortable space where Val keeps his official home address. On the third floor is an apartment occupied by a couple of college students.

Neither one of the young men, now in their third year of college, would have been able to go to school away from home without the horrible nightmare of college loans had it not been for Val’s Home Away From Home (so they call it.)

I’m not completely sure where he found Colton and Luke. I think Val met Colton studying in the old cemetery or something along those lines and the other kid came along. Colton was worried he’d have to move home and transfer schools and majors, or maybe just drop out. In exchange for rent they watch the place when Val is gone, do yard work and house cleaning, and keep their grades up.

The boys aren’t Vampires either, and they have no idea about Val. All they know is that Val is exceptionally cool and a little different.

Anyway, I was at Val’s thinking about art. Luke showed me some sketches he’d done of some friends of his on his way out to classes at UC Davis (a short trip across the causeway.) The kid is good. I’m ready to beat the crap out of anyone who discourages him.

Val was at his big desk with his computer checking all kinds of financial stuff I know nothing about. I looked up on the wall at his Maynard Dixon painting. It was of a woman wrapped in a shawl looking in profile towards a gold and orange landscape.

“You should donate that to the museum,” I said. “It is a hidden uncatalogued gem.

“Maybe. I haven’t had it that long.”

“You bought it from the artist. How old can it be?”

“Sometime in the 30’s. A mere matter of days for the typical Vampire.” He smiled and gave me that amused look that makes the girls all melt. Well except me because I’m his sister and I know his tricks.

“Why don’t you donate some of your art Juliette? God knows you’ve got it coming out of your ears.”

“I can’t. Not yet. I’m too attached. And I need more. I always need more art.”

Val laughed. I continued. “I bid on something for the art auction, you know the one for public television. I’m spending at least one day a week at the museum. Clara is taking an art history class so we’re talking about a lot of art. That isn’t a bad thing mind you. I’m also working on my art again. I’m also reading a book about art. My house is full of art. I’m going to go into an art coma.”

“Is that a bad thing?” My brother looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.

“No Val, it isn’t a bad thing. It is a good thing. I’m just kind of overwhelmed. And I don’t have a Burning Question for Saturday.”

He told me to make it about art. We thought about it and threw around a lot of really stupid ideas, which is par for my Burning Questions feature.

I’ll think of something, or use one of our ideas.

Around that time Luke came rambling downstairs to say hello to Val. He was a typical twenty year old male with that sort of cute and, always together, always smart, and always on the verge of some sort of disaster look. It was charming.

“The outside lightbulbs are out, on the front and back porches.” said Luke. “Do you have any extras?”

“Sure. In the second story hall closet, next to the laundry room.”

“Thanks. Hey, can I ask you something?”

“Go ahead,” said my brother.

“You kind of like the dark don’t you. I know you aren’t cheap so it isn’t the electricity bill you’re worried about,” said Luke.

“Good observation,” said Val. “Glad you asked. My eyes are sensitive to the light and I just need to rest them.”

“Makes sense. OK I’ll change those bulbs, then I have to study.”

“On a Friday?” I asked.

“For a bit. I’m going out later. There’s a movie at the Tower, Sisters Brothers or something like that. I’m going with Madeline.” Then he gave a shy smile.

Val slipped him a couple of twenties. We talked for a little bit longer.

Val and I are very old. It is always good to be around the very young.

But now my old brain must think up a Burning Question for October 6. It will be something about art – that thing which has twisted up my heart and soul for as long as I can remember.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Allegory of Painting

Allegory of Painting, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA

 

 

 

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Some say life is a game. I don’t believe that is a good message for teens but sometimes, on those stupid frustrating adult days when everything seems to go wrong it seems like some stupid horrible game. You know those days when you think “I must have been a really horrible person in a past life.” 

One of the frustrations about being young (in your teens and twenties) is that Chance and Fate are unfair forces that seem bound and determined to keep us down.

Chance isn’t logical or fair. He picks favorites. He excludes those who work hard. He surprises us with delights. He breaks our hearts and smashes our delicate egos. He devastates. He rescues. He is our best friend and our worst enemy. That said, try explaining that to your teen or college aged kid. Try explaining it to anyone?

And what about Chance’s fickle girlfriend Fate. Fate is lovely to behold but can be a real bitch. She likes to make us think she is on top of things, but in reality Fate has very little to do with anything. Fate is a poser. She is full of empty promises. Fate takes credit for things she did not do. Because in my opinion Fate does nothing if she can find someone else to do the work for her (and she is very good at getting Chance and others to do the work).

Then there is their friend Noel Reason. He is a secretive guy who has his hands into everything but doesn’t take credit for anything. In fact he shouldn’t take credit for anything. Sometimes things just happen for Noel Reason. But you never want to tell your teen THAT.

The unpopular kids are Logic and Reason. Nobody wants to listen to them. They are usually polite and never scream. They aren’t popular. But people who do get to know Logic and Reason love them. Their lives get better. The world makes sense. But it is so frustrating having Logic and Reason for friends because so many people hate and fear them (for no reason – chalk up one more for the gossip mill). You can depend on these two.

Ignorance seems to be the most popular guy around these days. He acts tough. He is the “bad boy”. He gets friends by spreading the message of fear and hate. His most famous saying is “We’ve always done things that way. If it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me.” Ignorance hates people who think freely and is glad to get his bullies to take care of it for him.

The perfect union

There is a rumor that Art and Science don’t like each other. In reality they are a couple – and a successful couple at that. Take my word on it. Plus they are two that your teens and twenty somethings need to get to know (and know well). As with Logic and Reason you can also depend on these two.

Hope stand by herself never knowing what to do. She has great power. She brings comfort but she also brings disappointment. Keep Hope as a friend but don’t make her your best friend (and she often is caught flirting with Chance which pisses Fate off to no end). Hope can do a lot for you and those you care about but she can’t solve the World’s problems.

Faith is Hope’s twin sister. You have to get to know Faith. She isn’t overly religious as some people believe. But she embodies all that is good and kind. She teaches us that all things are possible and to believe in ourselves and others. She teaches us to believe in what is good. She teaches us trust. But don’t keep her in the dark or cover her eyes or you’ll have blind Faith – and that combined with our pal Ignorance can be a very bad thing indeed.

Most of all teach your children that they should not depend on the friends above for what they  need or want. They need to depend on their own talents, drive and follow their own hearts. They must lead, not follow, not wait.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Nailed to the Floor

We had seen her wearing a veil to cover a bruised face. We could smell blood where her skin has split open from his blows. We had seen her wince from cracked ribs that hid underneath a tightly laced corset.

On a winter night when I was small, my brothers Aaron, Val and I walked down a dark muddy street for no reason other than to get out of the house. I was six, Val was seven, Aaron was a mature eleven (almost twelve.)

At the time the Civil War was over, Lincoln had died, and Andrew Johnson was president. That year the first Civil Rights bill would be passed, the ASPCA was founded, and the James Gang committed their first train robbery.

Closer to home, both Mark Twain and Bret Harte were writing for the Sacramento Union Newspaper. Construction was everywhere due to flood control efforts. Reuben Clark, designer of the state capitol, died in the Stockton Insane Asylum. And three Vampire children saved a life.

We didn’t go out thinking we’d rescue someone. Our parents had gone to a fancy party. Even in those days, in the winter of 1866, there were parties put on by those in society.

One night, for a few hours we were no longer under the watch of our parents or two elder brothers. We were free to roam the streets as we wished.

We came upon a new house built in the Italianate style. We knew who lived here. It was the woman with the veil, who smelled of tears and blood.

Aaron lifted me to the window so I could see in. On the floor a woman was crouched. I could see the moonlight reflecting off of the silk of her dress. Folds and ribbons swirled around her. She moved her head and cried out for help in a small weak voice.

The back door was open. It was after midnight so not a soul was awake except the woman on the floor. Silently we made our way to the front of the house and found the room she was in.

Aaron grabbed a candelabra on a table and the candles lit. My brother showed early talents for creating fire out of nowhere. Not all Vampires can do that but family caries that trait. It comes in handy.

On the floor in a dress of burgundy and gold crouched a woman. She looked to be in her mid twenties. Her brown hair was still up in complicated curls set with ruby and pearl clips. She looked up at us with fearful eyes, then realized we were just children. Bruises were forming around her eyes. Then we looked down to her hands.

Her hands were nailed to the floor.

“My feet,” she whispered.

Aaron pushed her large skirts aside to see that her feet had also been nailed to the floor.

“My husband did this to me. Help me.”

Aaron started to pry away the nails. He told Val and I told help hold her so she wouldn’t fall. I remember getting blood on my hand. I couldn’t help but taste it. I was only six so the temptation was too much.

Aaron held her face in his hands and sent healing cold through. Then he asked, “Where is he? Where is your husband?”

“You are Samantha’s children. Your parents were at the party. They suspected. I should have…” she said, then trailed off, looking at us with tears running down her  face.

“Why did he do this to you?” That would be Val asking. He was only seven but I could feel the anger growing in him.

“I told him that I was going to leave him. He demanded to know if I had a lover. I told him no. Then…then he said he would never let me leave, and he nailed me to the floor.”

Aaron went upstairs to find the husband. Val stayed by the woman with his skinny little boy arm around her. I followed Aaron.

A man lay on the bed. His handsome face was calm without guilt or shame. Aaron blew a cold breath over him.

The man opened his eyes to find two children standing over him. We’d made our eyes go black and our fangs were out. He screamed and then we tasted blood.

No, of course we didn’t kill him. But he did go insane. Maybe because of us. Maybe not. His wife was able to get a divorce. She had the floor refinished and a few years later married a man who was filled with joy and happiness. He was a man who loved her rather than owned her.

Aaron watched her and looked out for her for the rest of her life. She lived until 1941. It was a long and happy life with her second husband and children. The scars on her hands and feet eventually faded, but her beauty and the joy she brought to the world did not.

Our parents never scolded us for our behavior. They were too appalled by what had been done to the young wife. They’d suspected something was wrong. A lot of people had suspected but had never reached out. It wasn’t polite. Plus we were Vampires so we were always cautious when dealing with people of the warm-blooded variety.

It is always easy to look the other way. That is the beauty of children is that they don’t. They look. Children LOOK and listen. They also learn from what they see – much more than any grown up can imagine. It is sad that so many people forget those feelings they had as children and the memories of an unexperienced mind.

I drove by that house yesterday. It had been beautifully restored. Looking through it in the rain made me think of cozy reading in a window seat. It also reminded me of that night and the young woman who’d been nailed to the floor.

There are all sorts of nails both physically and mentally that people use to hurt others.

I don’t know what else to say. She married my future husband’s younger uncle. We are still in touch with a few of their descendants. They’re cool about having Vampires in the family. We’re cool. No puns intended.

If you know someone who might be in an abusive relationship please reach out. Vampires are rare, so you can’t always count on us to be there to help.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Emily

 

 

 

___________________________

Jealousy is not a healthy or normal part of any relationship. A jealous partner isn’t doing out of love – he/she is doing it for control. I recommend “The Jealousy Game” by Mandy White, for all parents and teens and anyone (of any age) who might be at risk for staying in unhealthy relationships.

Yes, tell all of your human friends NOT to get involved with emotional vampires (for THEY are the evil ones).

The download is FREE on Amazon so that everyone who needs this book can have a copy. Share it please. CLICK HERE for the free download page.

http://www.amazon.com/Jealousy-Game-Jealous-Relationships-Dangerous-ebook/dp/B004RUZPZ4/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453584021&sr=1-10&keywords=Mandy+White

It is also free on Smashwords.
The Jealousy Game, an Ebook by Mandy White

www.smashwords.com

 

It Was a Dark Stormy Night – Kids, Vampires and Thoughts On Life

darkstormynight

If you’re a parent don’t assume anything about people without children. They aren’t like the Baroness in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or the Witch in Hansel and Gretel.

Note: My husband Teddy always has a point to make about that Witch. What would you do if a couple of little urchins come to your home and start tearing it apart and eating it? It wouldn’t go down well.

It was a dark stormy night last night even in my drought stricken universe (California.) The captain and his crew…just kidding.

The kids were discussing the fact that Presidents (as of the United States of America) have speechwriters. My teens are of the opinion that if you can’t write your own speech you aren’t qualified for the job. Presidents have always asked for advice but blame it on Harding for having the first guy hired for the job.

The rain was pounding on the roof. There was a knock on the door. But wait…who could it be?

On my front porch stood my  brother Max and his partners Pierce and Mehitabel. They’re not just friends. They’re the Vampires who hunt Vampire Hunters. They’re the Vampires who hunt rogue Vampires. They’re the Vampires who kick ass and make no excuses, no regrets, no turning back on any situation.

Of course we said they could crash at our place for a day after a messy job taking care of some rather unsavory characters both human and non-human. It is what they do.

Pierce was the first to come down after cleaning up. He is one of those tall lanky guys with mismatched features and long hair that is attractive in spite of himself. He always has a smile and a story. When Garrett was born Pierce was one of the first to meet the newest member of our community. From then on he always treated the young ones, all of them, as members of the community on equal standing. He loves to tell them stories, teach them things, explain how the world works. In turn the kids make jokes with him that they wouldn’t dare make with other friends. When my daughter was in 6th grade she told him to pick her up from school in his van and yell “Hey little girl want some candy?” Among his charms, Pierce is a bit OCD (he’ll be the first to admit it) so he’ll straighten things out, straighten up crooked pictures and fix odds and ends around the house that we keep meaning to get to.  Of course everyone likes to mention his liberal use of four letter words. That is the Pierce we know and love.

Mehitabel came down a little later like a shadow drifting down the stairs. It was the first time she’d been over to our loud house. She is quiet, at least since she doesn’t know us well. Max and Pierce have known her for years.

I handed her a goblet of mulled wine and blood with nice aromatic spices. I mentioned the noise from Pierce and the kids (not to mention the cats who were screaming for food and attention.)

She smiled at me. “I like it. You know, getting in my family fix.”

As Vampires we’re generally polite and always keep our filters in place. We never ask anyone why they do or do not have children or how many and why or why not. We just accept it. If someone wants to share information then we let them. No rude questions about why one does not look like their child or why they’re alone with no mate. Our lives are our own and we give everyone credit for making their own choices. We let people deal with their lives without having to deal with rudeness. Life can be difficult enough without having to answer for everything.

Of course we’re curious. Of course we want to give advice (which we do when it is needed) but we don’t act like children. And we teach our children not to act like that – we teach them to use their filters and think before they say things. Sort of like the five second time delay on programs like the Oscars. We always try to keep our own time delays in mind.

Max, my alpha Vampire brother soon came down to join us. His arm was bandaged and bruises ran up his neck. Now that is something I had to ask about.

It was the usual grim tale of Vampire Hunters going after the wrong people, Werewolves to be exact. Nerdy Werewolves at that. Going from a couple of Geeks to a couple of Golden Retrievers so to speak doesn’t always help when you have six guys with guns and silver bullets after you. Yes, even Werewolves are sometimes rescue dogs (a little Vampire humor there folks.)

We discovered that Mehitabel never went to school as a child. Pierce had gone to a boarding school that was attended by a dozen other Vampire boys. Garrett and Clara told them eye opening tales from school this week. A teacher was fired for sleeping with a student. A group of students were suspended for calling a teacher a whore and taunting her until she was in tears (I think they should have been expelled.) Some Seniors had to retake a class they’d done poorly in as freshmen even thought they’d already been accepted into good Universities – long story about the insanity at school. Like I’ve said, they go to one of the better schools. It surprised even our hardened Vampire friends who thought they’d seen it all.

We talked about movies and what Vampires would be at the Oscars. We talked about TV and music and more music. The kids showed everyone funny YouTube videos. I told everyone a bit about my writing and art. It was just nice.

Eventually I had to send the kids to bed and the rest of us stayed up and talked more. Then one by one as the wee hours of them morning came close to sunrise my guests went up to bed. We can sleep a lot here since we turned the large attic into a couple of guest rooms and a sitting room.

After too few hours I was up to make coffee then wake my children for another day at school (which isn’t as bad as it sounds, really.) I let Teddy sleep knowing he had a long day ahead.

Pierce was in the kitchen drinking Zen tea and reading Bad Monkey.

“I downloaded and read your WPaD anthologies. I love them,” he told me. I love a man with good taste in literature. We talked books for a bit and it was time to roust my zombies, I mean teens out of bed.

I could hear Oscar the cat scratching to get out of the room where Max usually slept. My brother was asleep curled around Mehitabel who slumbered only as a bone tired Vampire can. He says he could never have a romantic relationship with her but he can’t stay away from her. She is always there for him, not just on a physical level but there is something almost mystical about their connection. One day he’ll lose her to someone else, but she’ll always think of him. They’re so stupid, especially Max.

They’d make pretty little Vampire babies together but I’d never tell either one of them that. Vampire babies are rare as it is so I’m not one to hold my breath over it.

When you’re older you don’t care who has kids or who doesn’t. It isn’t a contest or a prize. As a parent and someone who blogs about parenting I get so tired of the “kid vs kidless” debate. Sure there are a few fucktards on either side of the fence who act like trolls either way, but hey, there is no fence. We’re all friends – big and small, old and young, kids and adults. Behave well, be nice, be considerate, be understanding and all will be well. We’re all Vampires (or whatever you are.)

Have a good weekend everyone, and hug your kids, or any kids you like (even if they’re grown.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

moth

Click here for about the WPaD books. And more on writing.

Allegorical Thoughts and Blogging

blogging-cat-meme

Allegorical Thoughts and Blogging

I was going to write a post explaining that my blog is written as an allegorical expression of life through the idea of Modern Vampires…

But that would be way too much work and well, not exactly the truth. I’d like to say this is an allegory because I love that word.

Say it out loud, clear and somewhat slowly: Allegory

Sounds nice doesn’t it?

Say it again.

And then there are all of those wonderful classic paintings of allegorical stories.

An allegorical painting about time. Pretty cool.

An allegorical painting about time. Pretty cool.

A pretty allegorical tale about a girl and a bird. The bird of course had "another" meaning. But then again aren't most birds we know like that?

A pretty allegorical tale about a girl and a bird. The bird of course had “another” meaning. But then again aren’t most birds we know like that?

Name your own moral allegory. I like this one.

Name your own moral allegory. I like this one.

My favorite classic “allegory story” is Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I came upon it by accident when I was young (nobody told me to read it). I love it. You should read it. Sort of creepy too (a lot creepy.)

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Someone was asking me about my blog and if I get paid for it and why I do it. I hate it when they ask those questions. I guess I should explain what this is all about (my blog) but I really can’t and I really don’t want to. So here we are.

But I will explain because… well just because. This is sort of a vent, a rant, a musing and a love letter to my fellow bloggers and those who actually like my blog.

I blog about parenting and modern life through the eyes of a Modern Vampire mom. I also cover other subjects that have nothing to do with Vampires or parenting.

I blog about everything.

For example:

  • We had a house full of teens tonight playing will Just Dance. It was fun. They’d been talking all night. Streaks of blue and pink were in their hair.
  • I’m bribing small animals with food to stay in view of my window and in my yard. By small animals I mean squirrels and birds. I am not leaving food for the coyotes. They can fend for themselves. I don’t want them in my yard. For the raccoons and possums – you guys can have whatever gets accidentally left out on the deck at night. Just stop knocking over the patio furniture.
  • I check in on ancient folks who need extra help. Sure they’re Vampires but… whatever.
  • And I had lunch on Friday with a charming and somewhat handsome science professor.  I only took a little over a half pint of blood but it was worth it.
  • Then there was this ghost…
  • And roller skating…
  • Poetry, music and Werewolves (but not always together)
  • And what we think of stuff my teens hear in the news.
Even Vampires have feelings.

Even Vampires have feelings.

Then they start to get personal with their questions…

I don’t tell about my blog stats or how many followers I have anymore than I’ll tell you how many men I’ve slept with. You can look it up if you must know (my WP followers, not the other thing.)

The word “Vampire” in most of my posts automatically repels most people and excludes my blog from the mainstream. I can write the most profound post in the universe (actually I have) but as long as I use the word “Vampire” my fan base will be low (not quite in the millions.) Their loss, not mine.

If I wanted to do something else (not this blog) then I would have started another blog. Easy as that.

People starting out with blogging frequently ask me questions about the fine art we’re involved with. I tell them just to write. Don’t worry about rules. Don’t worry about anything.

Tell your thoughts, your stories, your poetry, your jokes, your music, your scientific passions, your political rants, your parenting stories and elder stories and your Zombie, Werewolf, hot sexy men and of course Vampire stories.

I want to hear from all of the cats, dogs, horses, cooks and collectors of odd bits of weird information that most of the world misses. I want your collective thoughts and ideas about love and romance and life. I want to hear it all, no rules, no preconceived notions and no holding back. I want to see and read all of it. Yes. Just do it and you’ll learn along the way.

If it is your blog then it is your voice and your rules. Pick your subject, change it, turn it around, twist the ending, make a bad joke, make it sad or happy or stupid. It is yours to do with what you want.

Blogging isn’t trying to make a Thanksgiving dinner that suits both traditional turkey and sausage/oyster dressing friends AND your vegan friends. It is about doing what you want. It is your feast to share as you wish. And if somebody doesn’t like what you’re serving then that isn’t your problem.

For those who write blogs that are a little different, or even a lot different – thank you for your point of view and for making me laugh and think and ponder. I’m astounded by the amount of creativity and wit and heart and soul I find in your words, art and photography.

My parting thoughts to my blogging/writing/creative friends is that you should write for YOU.  Just for yourself. It is who and what YOU are, not what somebody else wants. That is the beauty of blogging.

For my readers – I LOVE YOU.

Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Just another note… the most popular post on this blog is about writing love letters. Nice.