Friday, September 4, 2009


I'm reading 'Dracula' again. Bram Stoker, 1897.
My first time was 1963. I'd lay in bed after finishing homework, dog walk, etc. and read about 10-15 pages every night. I remember the precious feeling of terror I'd get mixed with the sure knowledge that it was just a story and I was safe. All the same, I had crucifixes and rosaries placed around my can't be too careful.
I'd read 10-15 pages and follow the characters as they battled the Evil Count. My scalp would tingle. My heart would race. It was my first intimate experience with the joys of literature that would stay with me my whole life. Marvelous!
One night I jumped into bed and opened the book. I read 2 particularly wonderful chapters. Van Helsing and his intrepid comrades were in Transylvania closing in on the Count. Mina and Van Helsing were sitting by a fire, hungry vampires threatening them in the dark, protected only by a thin line of crushed Catholic communion wafer. The 3 evil women couldn't cross the line of broken wafer. It was nerve-wracking. I turned the light off completely satisfied with my level of terror.
Later that night I woke paralyzed by fear. There, at my window, stood the figure of the Count at least 6 feet tall, probably more. I couldn't move, couldn't scream, barely breathe. My very existence was in jeopardy: Would he turn me into a vampire, or just feed off me for days on end? Or would he make me his agent to take care of paying the rent and making bank withdrawals?
I didn't want to be a vampire. I certainly didn't want to be a food source. No. I wanted to be his man. Renfield.
It turned out that the Count was actually my blue school blazer hanging from the curtain rod to dry after getting wet in the rain earlier.
So, now, 2009, I'm reading 'Dracula' again. I lay in bed and read about 10-15 pages and experience again that wonderful feeling of terror tempered by the knowledge that I'm perfectly safe. 46 years later I'm replaying that fabulous drama, but instead of closing the book and turning of the lights, I fall asleep with Sophie nestled next to my hip...both of us snoring loud enough to wake the dead.

1 comment:

  1. what a way to end it! i remember when you gave me that book when i was a youthridden fool and unable to grasp the power. i think ill try again as the autumn sets in...