Religion and Ramblings

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Religion and Ramblings of a Vampire Maman

Oh ye of little faith… or a lot. I don’t care either way.

In my daughter’s high school about a quarter of the kids are Mormon. Another quarter are Catholic. The next quarter go to the big Presbyterian Church. A handful go to the Jewish synagogue, a few go to the other big box holy roller church, and the rest are just kind of on their own, or nothing. There are a lot more nothings than atheists. Then there are the tiny groups who are Muslim and Buddhists and other faiths.

According to my child the Mormon kids don’t try to convert the 3/4 who are Catholic or Presbyterian. They go for the others.

I bring this up because last night we saw The Book of Mormon. It was great. If you have a chance go see it.

I need to write a disclaimer that we love our Mormon friends and respect their choices. We are not haters. We don’t care about your faith of choice as long as it works for you and you aren’t hurting anyone (including yourself). Nuff said.

OK there are a few exceptions of weird ass groups that have no more business calling themselves a religion. As we passed one of their buildings downtown last night one of my companions said, “the are so evil.”

Your religion is your own, just keep it out of the schools and out of politics. That is why we’re in America. Don’t forget it.

And then there are the Vampires. At the high school there are exactly a dozen right now. For kicks and grins thrown in the four Werewolf kids at the school. This school has a huge population of paranormal types. We tend to try to stick together. It just makes things easier for the kids to have someone like themselves in their classes. Hey, it isn’t like they’re going to talk to the other kids about their unique biology and spiritual issues.

I was talking to my friend Marla who occasionally helps me with this blog. She explained some of the inspiration for her latest book Exceptional Liars.

I had a conversation with a friend about some of the families at the church we went to when we were growing up. It was one of the big churches everyone belonged to. It was one, and still is, one of the hubs of the community. My parents weren’t all that involved, which was fine with me.

But there were families where church and religion was the center of the universe. Their priorities were: 1. church/god, 2. Marriage, 3. Dad’s job, 4. Church society, 5. Children. Unfortunately five seemed to be a distant number. These parents bragged about how God and marriage came before everything else. Even as a teenager I knew that was wrong.

Their children were usually popular, good in school, involved with church activities, and they were the first to sneak off to smoke pot or make out in the back of a car. They knew more about sex, drugs and not getting caught at anything than other teenagers. When the kids were caught misbehaving punishment was swift, often including banishment. Obedience to God, church and parents was paramount. Fortunately for most of these kid they never did get caught. 

My book started out with a weak main character. She was sensitive and naive, but that wasn’t any fun. Why not make her the kind of nasty, clannish, resentful, sneaky kid that came out of these families in real life.

I added narcissistic parents, incestuous and violent siblings, an abusive Christian marriage counselor husband, a serial killer, a couple of slick and twisted layers, a crazy former DEA agent, the abused roller skating ex-husband of a pop-star, a hit man turned divorce lawyer, a guitar maker, and the bisexual wife of a senator who just wanted to be left alone.

Religion is scattered throughout the book, but it isn’t a religious book. But the characters, at least two of them, do what works for them.”

 

I like books with religious references. I think it adds mystery and interest to books if it isn’t preachy or “Sunday schoolish,” or overly sentimental with a forced unrealistic message. Religion and faith also adds conflict and interest for the characters. Two of my favorites are The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco and The Di Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Both stories wound religion into mystery and intrigue. It was fun to figure out the clues and see the conflicting views of the characters.

Movies have comedic, romantic, and chilling takes on the subject. My favorites (and most highly recommended are Elmer Gantry, The Devil’s Disciple (the play or the movie), Night of the Hunter, and Heaven Knows Mr. Allison.

In my line of work, I know those who have come face-to-face with Lucky (the Devil) and had run ins with both angels and demons.

I know Vampires who fight with their own inner demons about the state of their souls and their own jacked up immortality. They sit quietly, in the backs of churches, or quietly walk in cemeteries looking for comfort, or answers to questions that have gone unanswered for centuries. Sometimes they’re just looking for a bit of redemption. Or sometimes they just go for the music.

Vampires rarely pray, not knowing who might be on the other end waiting, or listening in. We’re always on the outside when it comes to religion. But most of us are content in knowing our own hearts, even if those hearts don’t beat as often or as loud as those of the rest of the population.

We are spiritual because we live among the spirits, good or bad.

And as you already know, Vampires are big on holidays. We do love our holidays.

As a parent I teach my children to be good and good to others. There is no use in judging those who are not like us, if they’re good people. We all must find our own peace. Some will never find peace even though they spend half of their life inside of a cathedral surrounded by icons and commandments.

I find my peace in the woods. When I’m in an art museum I see the power of what it means to be alive, even in a Vampire sort of way.

As Matthew (6.6) said, “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray.”

I’m not religious but I now my verses. I take what I need and leave the rest, like most Vampires, at least those who think about these things.

Anyway, I’m starting to ramble.

Peace be with you. Wishing you beauty and joy, and the cool quiet of the shadows.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Exceptional Liars will be free on Amazon through March 20. CLICK here for the link. If you like it leave a nice review.

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Story Telling and Retelling Your Story

Today is the first day of the rest of the week. Officially it was Sunday but that doesn’t count because everyone is home on Sunday.

So what does this have to do with Vampiring and Parenting? Absolutely nothing, except it is a school day, and we’re still Vampires (at least I am.)

I’ve taken some time out to write and finish up a book. Of course my brain suddenly filled with rust and sand. I have about 10 -20 pages to do some final touches on and I’m done.

This book has nothing to do with Vampires or this blog. There is no fantasy or paranormal creatures in it. No Werewolves lurk in the pages under a full moon.

It starts like this:

 

All of us Hobbs kids were exceptional liars,  except my brother Jordan who was a liar by default by his refusal to tell either lies or the truth. There were seven of us. Jordan was the youngest and had no discernible personality or identifying character traits except for his unusual refusal to talk, unless it was to speak about his love of the Lord and his belief that our brother Steve, now deceased, would soon come back as an avenging angel.

 

The book goes on for another 300-400 pages. I’ll let you know when I’m done.

I hear rumors of cooler weather, which means something under 90F. I’m not holding my breath. Really, I’m not holding my breath.

In the book there are parts where the characters think back to the past. Not much, but they do from time to time. OK only the main character does because it is written in first person.

I mention that because today, while I was doing busy work and driving I was thinking about things that happened a long time ago. All of the dusty drawers in my brain were being pried open by some unknown force.

What was odd was that I suddenly saw people not from my younger inexperienced self but as I am now. How odd to look back with a rational view of things without the drama or emotion. When one looks at experiences without emotional attachment is like seeing a whole different movie. It really is.

Now you’re wondering what my story is but that is another blog post. Just read the other story and let me know if you’d read that book.

In the meantime I have to get creative.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Vampire’s Guide to Grammar and Other Writing Rules: Part One

Every time you use two spaces after a period a fairy dies.

There is a REASON for that. We no longer type on old typewriters. The computers have lovely typographical features that fix the space according to the font. Don’t screw it up. One space. It is easy to break that old habit. DO IT. Break that bad habit. Stop killing fairies.

I wish we’d had computers back in the 19th century. We didn’t even have typewriters when I started out. Anyway…

I wish we’d had spell check back then. My spelling skills are much better than they used to be. Unfortunately as my readers know I still make a lot of mistakes. That is mainly due to my short attention span and general laziness. Hey, at least I’m honest about it.

Rules Everyone Needs to Know

Your: Your cat is climbing up my leg.

You’re: You’re climbing up my leg. Cut it out.

There: There is a car blocking my driveway. Where? Over there in my driveway.

Their: Their car is blocking my driveway.

They’re: They’re pushing your car over the cliff because it was blocking the driveway.

Two: I have two fangs.

Too: Me too.

To: I’m going to bite you.

To: I’m going to the castle.

Who and Whom

Who did you bite tonight?

I sucked blood from a man whom had once been in love with me.

Whom does have a sort of formal sound to it. A tricky word to use for most folks. It is also tricky to explain.

Who is used as a subjective pronoun. Whom is and objective pronoun. Confused? Me too. Don’t worry. Just move on to the next item.

The “I” and “Me” rule.

Incorrect: Me and the Vlad are going to the party.

Incorrect: Vlad and Me are going to the party.

Correct: Vlad and I are going to the party.”

ALWAYS treat the person you are bringing to the party as your guest. That means that they get to go first.

Here is a trick I use. Remove Vlad and go to the party alone. So what would you say?

Me is going to the party.

or

I am going to the party.

See where I’m going on this?

From Mandy White:

One part of the I/me rule that a lot of people get mixed up on is when it appears at the end of the sentence.

Example: 
“The party was for Vlad and I.” (incorrect) As you said, the guest goes first, but when you remove Vlad, it no longer makes sense.

The correct way would be: “The party was for Vlad and me.”

Now, this may not look right to a lot of people. I remember my mother constantly correcting me; that it was always supposed to be, ‘I’. “Vlad and I’ seems to sound better to me. But, when you eliminate Vlad from the sentence, it no longer makes sense.

_________________________

There is a good reason I’m not an English teacher. I have to look up the rules all the time. It is also a good thing I have friends who know the answers to these important questions.

Hey, thanks Mandy White for ALL of your reminders.

Write well, not good.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Unfortunate Business Note: Due to a large influx of SPAM and weird SPAM-like comments I’ve changed the settings for comments. You have to be logged into your WP account. Please be patient. This is temporary. If you don’t have a WordPress account please feel free to visit my Facebook page and leave a comment, love note or suggestion there. Thanks, JTK

Allegorical Thoughts and Blogging

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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.

You can tell your story…

My brother Max told me about a guy named S. Harry Zade who had to tell stories. He was good, Harry was. A master at the art of telling his story. If you aren’t following his blog you should be.

http://thenarrativeimperative.com/2014/01/11/intersections-chapter-94-the-terrifying-and-fascinating-mystery/

So I checked it out and found that Max had a guest post telling HIS story. Maybe I am a good influence. Huh. Interesting. Click here or go to the link below for all the dirt, I mean Max’s story.

http://thenarrativeimperative.com/2014/01/15/guest-contribution-from-max-todd/

Thank you to The Narrative Imperative and the good folks at the Epiphany Cafe for sharing Max’s story.

We all have stories but some of us are story tellers.

I always see blog posts and articles and Facebook and other “things” and people asking “Why do you write?”

I don’t know. I really can’t answer that. Why do we do anything that we do? Because we just do.

We tell stories. We live them. We experience them, in our minds or in the physical world or both. And some, with the ability, share those stories.

Sometimes we just make stuff up. Sometimes we tell the truth. And sometimes we make something up and it is the truth and truer than real life. You never know.

Hey, don’t look at me funny, you were the one who decided to visit the Vampire Parenting Blog today. 

Stories are like sex and food and wine and driving fast and being calm and like the ocean waves crashing on the shore and like a monkey chewing on a cigar and talking in an English accent. They can be anything and everything – and sooner or later someone will tell your story. Of course unless you tell it first. Or let someone else tell it for you. Either way… it’s ok.

For more on Max go to:

There is more than this… just do a search.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Musings on Reading in the Dark and Audio Fantasies

I’m compiling my Spring/Summer reading lists – this included books (paper and otherwise), indie authors, big name authors, blogs, poets and anything in words that you might want to read on a quiet evening with a book, Nook, Kindle, or Laptop or better yet, have someone with a really good voice read it out loud to you.

I’ve been thinking about creating some audio stories (and you can hear my real voice). I’ve also had discussions with my kids about who I’d get to read my stories. There is a guy who goes by the name of William Control who has a great voice that would be awesome for my more Gothic themes. Who would you have read your stories? No, really. Let’s share our audio reading fantasies. Audio books and Radio are two great loves of mine.

The sound of  a voice is a powerful thing. Some voices transport us.

Then there are the others. You know the type. Politicians who drone on and on (who votes for them?). The grown woman with the high sing-song child like voice that just makes me want to smack her (my Vampire shortness comes out). The list goes on, but you know, there are great voice coaches out there for those who are “voice challenged.”

One of the best things that ever happened to me was when my brother Andrew (the one I haven’t written much about) told me to take my high 11-year-old voice down a octave.

“Nobody will ever take your seriously. You sound like a baby.” He told me this with a smirk and a scowl on his 20-year-old face. He never had much patience with his younger siblings but he always made a good point to pass on his judgmental wisdom. The thing is, as a child I found him intimidating, but now I thank him for his watchful ear and eye.

Out of five children in my parent’s brood of young Victorian Vampires my brother Andrew was he most serious and mysterious, but then again, he makes a fine Vampire. And he has a great voice. His voice can make politicians bow to their knees, corsets come untied and make babies stop crying for weeks.

So I lowered my voice. Not that I can make anybody do anything, but I can read aloud like the most accomplished of actors or radio announcers. Then suddenly the sound of Wolfman Jack comes to mind…OMG…every time his name is mentioned my husband HAS to tell everyone about the movie Motel Hell (the worst movie ever made – ok, it ties with Roller Boogie as the worst movie ever made.)

My American kids tell me that everything sounds better with an English accent. We have a long list of relatives with wonderful musical Southern accents (the Louisiana Vampires – almost another subspecies). Accents make things interesting as long as it is real. There is nothing worse than someone trying to do one of those fake “rich folk” accents or a bad accent of any kind.

So back to stories…I’m writing stories (along with my random blog posts) and finishing up books and telling stories and reading.

The nights are dry and the wind has died down so I can sit on my deck at night with the cats and read. I might look out beyond the deck and spy the glowing eyes of a raccoon or a bobcat. I might see a bat or hear something stir in the tree tops. I might be visited by a ghost but I don’t even want to think of that right now (he is still on my shit list.)

I’m compiling my list for warm weather reading. “THE” by Nathan Tackett is first on the list. My copy should arrive in the mail soon. The rest of the list will come shortly.

Let me know what you’ll be reading or listening to this summer. Oh I forgot – great audio books for car trips! I have to start thinking about that as well.

So anyway, happy Friday to all and I hope all of your reading is good!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

reading at night