The world is a Vampire.
But me? I’d make a bad vampire. I used to think being a vampire would be great, even before Twilight and Ann Rice’s Interview. It wasn’t the killing people or wearing black that drew me to the idea, but rather the gift of living forever. That was the hook for me. The idea of being around to witness things and exist longer than others. To be the voyeur; to take things in. To develop a deeper understanding of the world.
This is my superpower of choice. Remember that question we asked each other are kids? What would you have as a superpower? Invisibility? The ability to fly? Invincibility? I’d always choose immortality. I liked the idea of being around for a long time. Not because I feared death, but rather because I didn’t want to miss out on life. What else is there? What kind of things would I know if I lived for hundreds of years? What am I missing?
I suppose this is what drew me to be therapist. The idea of talking to other people and learning their stories. It was a way to live beyond my own life. To see how others lived and saw the world. While it wasn’t life eternal, it did give me a wider and deeper perspective. It let me see the world far beyond my personal vantage point. And sure, I liked helping other people, but that was just a side benefit. The main event was becoming the drug addicted mother. Spending nights in the psychiatric hospital with racing, terrifying thoughts. Juggling a mind filled with demons. Swimming with anger, rage and hate. Cowering from the world; lost, small and weak. I was their stories.
This is why I wrote fiction. It let me live briefly outside of myself and play with my characters like Mark Twain did in The Mysterious Stranger. I’d watch my creations run about in stories. I’d play god (little g intentional) and live beyond my own limitations; beyond my experiences.
I remember attending the Universal Unitarian church in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They asked the visitors to stand and share why they were there. I remember saying I was “seeking truth.” Some people laughed at this. Not in a mean way, more they thought it was a joke. Maybe some resorted with my answer. Truth Seekers. Maybe this explains my craving to live forever, to be the therapist, to be the writer. They were all ways to seek truth. To understand and explore.
Last night I was walking in Memphis (my feet ten feet off of Beale, if you please) and I had this moment. This great experience of wandering a new place, a place full of unique people with distinctive stories. I usually love this. These experiences. But last night there was this larger sense of sadness and loneliness. And I thought to myself, “I wouldn’t make a good vampire, not really.” I don’t think I’d do well living forever. How would the loneliness be worth it when juxtaposed against the experience and perspective? More simply stated, would I be lonely? Is there a cost for a truth seeker? No rest for a questing hero.
I thought more deeply about the experiences we have. Do the experiences we have acquire lose a deeper meaning without the context of others. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Does writing have an extrinsic meaning or is it only meaningful when there is an audience? Hell, even these very words in this blog, do they only have significance when they are seen by others? Is there meaning regardless of audience?
I don’t know that I’ve found some deeper revelation here beyond my first thought–living forever has lost some of its luster for me. Maybe the same way being a therapist has lost some of its draw. As I grow older, I see things more deeply and have a different context for significance of experience. Things are more meaningful with me when they are shared. Maybe that is a universal truth, maybe it is just something for me to learn. I’m not sure.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep looking.