Retelling Lore and Updating Mythologies

This morning I found a dead bat in my house. It was a teeny tiny little thing – a little brown myotis. At first I thought it was a leaf. I was sad to see this tiny nocturnal creature  on the floor of one of the bedrooms, with it’s wings close to it’s body, all alone.

Mind you, it wasn’t a Vampire. It was just a bat. A precious and tiny little beneficial flying mammal that eats bugs. It made me sad to see it dead and alone.

This made me think of common lore, that is of Vampires and bats. Most of us prefer the night but we aren’t shape shifters. Mind you, we can make you think we are but that is your own fault.

Lore is spread through stories once told around the fire at night, and now told in movies, books, and television. Stories and mythologies evolve as our world and culture evolves. What is popular becomes belief. What is unpopular becomes forgotten.

I took the dog for a walk and started to think of the reworking of lore and mythologies, especially in weird times like now. Even the stories of atomic creatures such as Godzilla and giant insects come out of the advent of atomic bombs. Mothman first appeared in West Virginia folklore, in the Point Pleasant area from November 12, 1966, to December 15, 1967. In fact some people claim to still see him from time to time. So much of Space Alien lore and a boom in Science Fiction, also takes place in the 1950’s – 60’s, at the time of the space race,  though it goes back to as long as people have been looking up at the stars.

A writing friend of mine asked about rewriting mythologies. I say DO IT. I love it when authors take old stories and rewrite them.

One of my favorite things to do it to take a modern look at old characters. In my story Sam Judge I rewrote the story of Samson and Delilah in a post apocalyptic setting. Holy shit, I wrote it a few months before our current Covid-19 pandemic started. It was for the new WPaD Anthology Goin’ Extinct Too! Apocalypse A-Go-Go. 

Sam Judge was a retelling of the biblical story from the point of view of Lilah. Once you get rid of all of the sexist bull shit it just becomes a story of a guy with a lot of power and a powerful family, and a woman trying to do her job.

I wonder about a lot of old stories. Take David and Goliath. David was a guy who threw a rock at the big bully Goliath who was a GIANT. David became the King because that is how people picked leaders back then. My take is that David was about average height or maybe on the shorter end of average  like 5″6′. I’m going by what is average today, not five thousand years ago. Goliath was tall but not a giant. Maybe about 6’11” or even 7′ like a basket ball player. Goliath could have been the same height of Goliath who was obviously the epitome of the school yard bully. David kicked Goliath’s ass. It could have been with rocks. It could have been with words. The point of this story is that David’s crew had to spin the story to make it look more spectacular. They had to make David look bigger than life so they made Goliath into a 15″6′ giant and made David into just a regular guy which he wasn’t. The spin doctors were going for the lowest common denominators with their mostly agrarian and illiterate constituents. See where I’m going with this.

Another favorite story of mine and of my readers is Ode to a Greek God. I take the god Hermes and update the readers on what he is doing now in his home in San Francisco.  His son Pan is settled down. Hermes is evaluating his life and still getting into trouble with women. It is a new world where mortal humans tend to be a little more savy and demanding. I might even continue that story one day or update the new mythology.

For centuries people have been fascinated by the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table stories. Was Arthur even real? What about the Holy Grail. There are stories within stories within stories. Everyone from John Steinbeck to Stephen Spielberg had their own wonderful takes on the lore of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. Of course Monty Python did it better than anyone.

I also had my own take on the story of Arthur, Merlin and the Camelot Crew with my Druce and Morcant stories. In Off To See The Wizard the two friends started with a trip to meet Merlin. I’m still writing their stories. By the way Druce is a Warlock, and Morcant is a Selkie. That makes for even more lore.

And speaking of Selikes please read the wonderful new story by emerging author Adelia Hoff called The Fisherman. She did a beautiful job taking the predatory and mean nature out of an old tale.

Be it Bible stories, Greek Gods, Vampires, Selkies, Mermaids, Wizards, Ghosts, old legends, or what ever lore you’re writing just remember that it is your story to tell. YOUR STORY.

Someone started the lore and mythologies we currently retell over and over and over. Why not start your own.

And if you just want to read you have plenty of material. I’ll make a list in my next book blog post.

In the meantime keep your mind open. Keep your heart open. Keep your imagination running. Wear a mask. Talk with your kids. Check in on those who might need extra help. Stay safe.

And tell me what your favorite stories of myths, lore, or retellings of old tales are. I’d love to hear.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Call and Response

At 4:00 a.m. in the pre-dawn morning

the owls sing their songs

like a call and response in their oak forest cathedral.

A tiny bat speeds across the sky in front of

my bedroom window.

The cat sits on the window sill

watching beside me.

In a few hours

I’ll be at the museum,

sort of my own cathedral.

Yet, the woods are also mine.

A place of others.

The creatures of the night.

Those who do not create beauty,

but are beauty.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Night Musings

It is almost 2:00 a.m. and as usual I am the only one awake on my street. The dog is growling under her breath at the sliding glass door after hearing the coyotes howl behind the house. Earlier there was a bat flying around inside. Yes, this is the second time it has happened in the past two weeks. Yes, we need to get a screen on my daughter’s bedroom window. No, Vampires do not turn into bats, so the wee flying mammal was NOT a Vampire.

The moon is in a perfect half. At the end of the week I’ll be driving up to Oregon with a friend to see the solar eclipse. There will be a gathering of old friends. It should be interesting. I hear my Werewolf friends are planning some pretty big solar eclipse events, but I won’t be anywhere near them.

It is quiet since the coyotes left, with no sounds outside at all. Not a bird, or a dog, or a car, or even the running of a fan. Nights are finally getting cool again. Even that didn’t bring out any lone birds or other late night creatures.

Just half a moon. Somebody must have shared the other half with a friend.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Dear Juliette: Hairy Dating Issues

Dear Juliette – Ask A Vampire – Advice for Everyone!

Dear Juliette (Ask A Vampire) is a regular Thursday feature on Vampiremaman.com

These are real questions from real readers. If you need advice or just have an interesting question send it to: juliettevampiremom@gmail.com

 

true love with heart small

Dear Juliette,

Is it appropriate for Vampires to date Werewolves?

~ Hairy Situation

 

Dear Hairy,

Not really but it happens. Just figuring out the lifestyle issues can be daunting. You know, the whole full moon thing, the hair clogging up the bathtub drain, the fleas, the dirt, and all of those peeing contests.

Then again there is that whole hot forbidden love thing that can be a lot of fun.

Like I said it is just impractical. And if you want to have kids, forget it. It won’t happen.

All joking aside, if you are considering dating a Werewolf, Regular Human, or even a Vampire of a different kind, there will always be those who are going to get in your face about it. Those close to you may be reacting negatively out of practical reasons, or even their own past histories. Those who don’t know you will react out of bigotry, ignorance, and hate.

Who you love is your business. If it is true love you’ll work it out.

~ Juliette

 

vswirl2

Dear Juliette,

Where did the idea come from that vampire turn into bats? What kind of magic is included with a real vampire?

~ Flying High

 

Dear Flying,

Blame Mr. Bram Stoker for that one, at least in popular culture. Dracula didn’t just transform himself into a bat, he could also change himself into a wolf. When you’re writing fiction a Vampire can do just about anything.

Over the centuries there have been quiet a few stories of creatures with leathery wings that claw, fangs that bite, and who haunt and kill humans. They aren’t especially Vampires but a variety of demons, fallen angels, shape shifters, time warping dinosaurs, and other freaks of paranormal nature.

So what can Vampires do along the paranormal lines of thinking? And this isn’t magic or rocket science. It just is what it is.

  • We can suck your blood right out of your body.
  • We can kill you, and then bring you back to life.
  • We can steal your soul, but we won’t keep it, so you will likely never get it back.
  • We can make you think we’ve changed our shape.
  • We can make your forget.
  • We can give you nightmares that will last for years.
  • We can give you sweet dreams and make you feel content.
  • We can make you feel warm and fuzzy.
  • We can make you not fall in love with us.
  • We heal quickly and live for centuries.
  • We do not appear to age.
  • We rarely succumb to illness.
  • We can make you believe you’ve been in love with us, and made love to one of us, even if you haven’t.
  • We can be invisible, or at least make you not see us. We call it hiding in the shadows.
  • We can see in the dark.
  • We’re pretty no-nonsense.
  • We like bats but we don’t turn into them.
  • We can haunt you.
  • We can heal you.
  • We can be your best friend, or your worst nightmare. That is up to you. Well, sometimes.

This is the short list. I really don’t feel completely comfortable going into all of the attributes of Vampires. Of course talents vary from Vampire to Vampire. But thanks for asking.

~ Juliette

 

crowletter

 

Do you have a hot question? A cold one? Then Ask Juliette.

Dear Juliette (Ask A Vampire) is a regular Thursday feature on Vampiremaman.com

These are real questions from real readers. If you need advice or just have an interesting question send it to: juliettevampiremom@gmail.com

 

 

 

Ask Juliette: Teen driving, night driving, wildlife, physics, and Dr. Who

Dear Juliette – Ask A Vampire
Advice for Everyone

Dear Juliette (Ask A Vampire) is a regular Thursday feature on Vampiremaman.com

These are real questions from real readers. If you need advice or just have an interesting question send it to: juliettevampiremom@gmail.com

Dear Juliette,

Now that my teenage daughter has her driver’s license, she repeatedly fails to text me when she’s not coming home after school.  She is expected to do her chores at home before going anywhere after school. Again, I text her and asked where she was. “Sorry, at dance practice, but I did come home after school.”

“Why aren’t the dishes done?”

“Oh, well I went back to school to edit the video project before dance.”

Do we place restrictions on her for these breaches? What do you do when your kids don’t communicate or do what is expected?

~ Worried Mom

 

Dear Mom,

Boy does this bring back long lost memories of my irresponsible youth, long before phones.

As a mom of driving age teens I feel your concern. I also hear this same thing from a lot of parents I know. The kids go out, in a car, or bike, or on foot, and vanish as if we (the parents) have vanished.

I asked my own sixteen year old what she thought of this. She said, “take away the keys. Don’t put gas in the car. Tell her that next time there will be consequences. Put a GPS tracker on her phone.”

Then again, how many times have I asked this child to clean the cat box and ended up doing it myself.

Have a calm talk with your daughter. Stress that she has parents who work. Because you aren’t there all the time trust is even more important than ever. Tell her that you are concerned with her safety. Texting is easy. She NEEDS to let you know where she is going and what she is doing. Let her know that as long as she lets you know then going to practice or spending time with a friend is ok. No problem. If she wants you to trust her then she needs to let you know what she is up to. You let her know where you are. She needs to do the same. It is up to her.

As for the chores, again, you are working parents. You don’t have a maid. Everyone has to pitch in. It is part of being a family. Unless you’re cleaning up after Thanksgiving it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to do dishes, especially if you have a dishwasher.

Don’t yell. Be calm. And after you’re done go watch some funny stuff online like possum videos (see end of this post.)

~ Juliette

 

v_swirl

Dear Juliette,

I work graveyard shifts 6 days a week. Although my body has adjusted to a nocturnal schedule, I sometimes wonder if I might be better off as a vampire. What do you think?

Nocturnal Anyway

 

Dear Nocturnal Anyway,

If you are comfortable with the night life and don’t mind getting close to strangers I’d say go for it. I’ll get you in touch with my brother Max. He frequently up your way in British Columbia.  You’ll be glad to know that he is one of the best, with a high success rate (meaning you don’t completely die or become some disgusting ghoul and you keep your soul.)

I swear, the West Coast of North America from Alaska to the tip of Baja is the perfect place for Vampires.

And remember, Vampire girls kick ass!

~ Juliette

vampire girls

 

I received quite a few interesting questions this week. There was one I couldn’t figure out so I asked some friends in one of my private writing groups.

 

Dear Juliette,

Dr. Who Snack or Nightfriend?

~ Curious

 

Dear Curious,

First of all I want to thank my friends for your help. THANK YOU.

Whosonfirst

 

So the answer is (and I hope this answers your question):

I don’t watch Dr. Who. I think I saw one episode about 40 years ago.  So I had to do some research on the subject.

Dr. Who Snack or Nightfriend?

It would have to be a Nightfriend. As many of you know I don’t have many kind words about time travelers, or aliens, or Time Lords. I’m a Vampire. Time travelers of any kind are usually sneaky liars of the lowest order, not to mention extremely annoying. I speak from personal experience.

So yes, I’d rather have a one night stand with a hot stranger than do the nasty with Dr. Who.

I can’t imagine having sex with a middle aged man in a phone booth. Imagine if he threw his back out or popped a knee. That wouldn’t be fun at all no matter how sexy the guy is.

If I HAD to pick a Dr. Who to have a tryst with it would be Peter Davidson or Paul McGann. That is just based on what I saw on the Wikipedia page. Like I said, I don’t watch Dr. Who or know much about it. I gotta to admit I’ve had a thing for Peter Davidson from when he did “All Creatures Great and Small.”

I’m happily married to a handsome Vampire so I don’t think much about, you know,. other male things. But thanks for the question.

Snacks for everyone!

~ Juliette.

vswirl2

 

Dear Juliette,

Is it true that vampire squirrels and possums exist, or are animal vampires merely a legend?

~ Evil Squirrel

Vampire Possum says, "Do it!"

Dear Evil Squirrel,

This question had me thinking of a question of my own. What if there were squirrels and possums who turned into humans when the moon was full? Keep in mind that squirrels are one of the smarter animals out there, possums not so much. But how smart does a possum need to be? They’ve existed almost since the days of dinosaurs, which is a lot longer than the Roman Empire, the USSR, and The Bay City Rollers. Never underestimate a primitive mammal for cuteness, great fur, big teeth, and lasting power.

But getting back to the Vampire question… Sadly it is only a legend, at least in the human sense of Vampires. Animals are often thought to be Vampires or other paranormal creatures due to rabies. It is a nasty disease that causes scary, violent and extremely dangerous behavior.

Listen to this true story about a Zombie Raccoon (Click here or cut and paste the URL below.) It will scare the jeebers out of you: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/319/and-the-call-was-coming-from-the-basement

For more information about paranormal creatures that are like Vampires and Vampire like creatures, check out the blog of Mari Wells. She is one of the best sources out there for this kind of stuff. mariwells.wordpress.com

I know you are THE Evil Squirrel, but for everyone else – for more on squirrel and possum behavior check out evilsquirrelsnest.com 

 

fruit bat cutie

 

Dear Juliette,

If a Vampire turns into a bat, how heavy is the bat?

~ Mike

 

Dear Mike,

Is that a Fruit bat or a Kitti’s hog-nosed bat? I’m going to assume you mean a Vampire bat. They’re nasty little rabies carrying things. But for example, let’s go with the common Little Brown Myotis bats that live in my neighborhood. These are small bats that can live up to 34 years.

So if a 175 pound male Vampire turns into a bat that normally weighs half an ounce…

I could wax poetically about Higgs Boson and Pym fields but the truth of the matter is that Vampires really don’t turn into bats. We can make you think we turn into bats. We can make you think just about anything. But no, we’re not shape shifters.

We also don’t sparkle unless we get drunk and put too much glitter lotion on (the kind sold at Bath and Bodyworks during the holidays), or knock over the Christmas tree when we’re naked. I took down the Christmas tree at my house over a week ago and I’m still finding glitter all over the place.

If we did turn into bats they’d be big ass scary bats. It would be like when Werewolves change from humans to wolves, or when Selkies turn from humans into seals. The form would change but the size would remain relatively the same.

~ Juliette

traditional vampire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musings on a Change for Today

There is a certain amount of guilt one feels when you realize that your children are much better people than you will ever be. Then you realize that your parents are much better people than you are, but that is alright because you don’t have to agree with them on anything, ever, because they aren’t you.

This evening I rescued one of my cats from the evils of the basement where he’d been locked all day long. He seemed a bit frantic and crazy, but I knew he wasn’t under the house drinking up all the wine, so at least that was good news.

He’d gone under the house when the painters had come to put up scaffolding. They closed the basement door, underneath the deck, when they did the power washing. Oscar the cat of course, had hidden himself behind the door.

My house is tall, at least three stories. It is a two story home built on a hill. The walls are tall. The roof is extreme. Right now my house looks haunted, which it is not. Sure I have regular visits from ghosts but my house is not haunted. Anyway, it is being painted for the first time in twenty nine years.

I look up at the tall walls and it seems overwhelming, but less so than the walls I keep trying to climb and falling off of. Or the walls that are in my way, topped with razor wire, mad dogs, fiery hoops, and buckets of acid.

Today I finished the last page of a novel.

Today I embarrassed my child. But I was right. But I was wrong. I was being the mother wolf, when I should have been the mother Vampire and just quietly vanished.

Today the sun went down early. I went out to the deck and watched the bats fly overhead in a rare show. Since the drought they don’t come around as often. Maybe the recent rain has made them want to stretch their newly hydrated wings.

Tonight I’ll plan for tomorrow. I will watch the mist come over the lake as the occasional bird wakes and cries out in the night.

Tonight I will embrace the cold darkness. I will celebrate the coming of the cool air and the damp mornings. I will feel and ache in my bones and savor the taste of whatever I make come my way.

It is time for something new.

Something better.

A change of season.

And a change of heart.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman