Sunday, June 8, 2014

...a long work week and a reflection of what I've learned from vampires...

Because this is a new blog, I’m trying to post more frequently than I normally might. I’ve been a research blogger for over a decade but this is my first personal post. I’m still determining how much or how little to share of my personal life.

time to kick back and relax
Nevertheless, last week was exhausting so near the end of the week I just didn’t have it in me to write much… or think of much honestly. I was finishing up a 3-week intensive summer school course on Vampires in Literature and Film. It’s a general studies course I developed at my university to basically teach that vampires in literature and film and never *just* about the vampire. I often say that I have the best job ever—a university professor of English who gets to teach about all that I loved and have carried with me since I was about 15 years old. I get overwhelmed by how lucky I feel. I did the work, earned the education- yes but obtaining a tenured university professor position is still a little bit like finding a unicorn. Okay, maybe it isn’t that difficult but I sometimes exaggerate.

At the end of class, my students who are just awesome brought in fang-bite cupcakes and even a magical blood pitcher which they knew was completely ridiculous but that I loved. It was one of those shake the pitcher and it appears that it is a full pitcher of blood and then when you pour (whatever beverage you choose) it appears as though half the blood has been poured out. They offered these as a thank you gift for all that I’ve taught them over the course of the semester.

Naturally, I started thinking about what vampires have taught me over the years. Here is the beginning of my list:

  1. Be hospitable! ("Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring!" Dracula chapter 2)
  2. We will always be a little bit afraid of what we don’t know. Give others a chance especially when they’re different. ("We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things." Dracula chapter 2)
  3. Just because something doesn’t seem scary in the traditional sense, it still can be haunting. (Case in point, Nosferatu)  
  4. While it is beneficial in some ways to be optimistic, the sun doesn’t always come up tomorrow so you better be prepared. (30 Days of Night)
  5. When they’re gone, you’re still going to think fondly and miss those friends who are just down right awful for you and completing unhealthy. (Carmilla)


  1. Oh, you really do have a dream job!! Immersing yourself in the subject-matter you love... and getting paid for it! *happy sigh*

    The gifts from your students are so sweet. I have never seen a magical blood pitcher, but I'm assuming it's like those doll baby bottles that look like they're emptying when they're inverted? Sounds brilliant, regardless! :D

  2. Happy sigh indeed!

    The blood pitcher is exactly like those baby bottles but you shake the pitcher vigorously before you add liquid. It was ridiculously funny and I loved it.

  3. That is SO awesome! You sound like a great teacher, wish you'd been one of mine! Of course, that could have been a bit awkward, as I'm older than you... ;-)

    1. Awww, thanks! Actually, I've had several students in my courses who were/are older than I am. Age is just a number (although I tell my students that I feel bad for those who are still in their 20's and that the 30's... and hopefully now the 40's... is where it's at!

  4. Well, when I started college and took English courses I was barely 17, and I'm 52 now, so I think you might be just a BIT too young for that! But I went back to school when I was 38, and for the first year I was probably the oldest student in several classes, and definitely older than at least three of my instructors. Who cared, they taught me what I needed to know!