Monday, December 24, 2012

Vampires and Christmas

It's Christmas Eve, and I want to share with you my favorite book memory. I don't know about you guys, but I was obsessed with vampires as a teenager. Anne Rice, especially. With the exception of my grandmother, I was the only one in my family to love books. I could walk around in a bookstore for hours and never buy a thing. If you're reading this, you're probably right there with me.

I was a freshman in high school and a friend of mine had loaned me a tattered copy of Interview With a Vampire before the winter break. I kept it at school b/c I had half a dozen dogs and a brother who liked to steal my stuff and hide it. It was the only way to keep the precious copy mostly whole. 

Every spare second between classes, during lunch, and before drama practice I inhaled that book. I loved it. The pages were falling out, and was pieced together with loving care. I could see why. It was an amazing story.

 I couldn't leave it that way, so I went to my high school librarians and we pieced the book back together. It wasn't as good as new, but we worked as hard as we could. When I gave it back to her, she was amazed that I'd put the book back together for her. It was her only paperback copy (she had a hardback at home). Oh how jealous I was of those with hardback books...LOL. 

It was a poor holiday that year. Dad was between jobs and Mom was a hero at keeping us fed and distracted. I was always at school and my brother was in his own happy world. Books were precious to me b/c they were a luxury item for purchase in my family. With winter break upon us, I'd read through my entire book collection in no time, and the library was too far for me to walk. 

Christmas Eve rolls up and I'm putting the finishing touches on a painting for my mom (last minute Christmas Present) when there was a tap at my window. I peeked out and there was my friend standing there, waving at me. I grabbed my jacket and ran outside. She lived about five miles down the road and her mom had brought her to my door with a last minute gift of her own...

New paperback copies of Interview With a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned. The stack was wrapped in a lovely red velvet ribbon and a vampire book mark was tucked neatly inside. My heart did a dance of joy. 

Her mom was impressed at how I'd tried to restore the paperback copy, that she and my friend had decided to buy me the first three for Christmas.

With tears in my eyes I threw my arms around their necks and blubbered thanks. Then told them to wait so I could run inside and grab some cookies for them to take home. 

They left shortly afterward with my friend teasing me that I had to wait until Christmas to open my present. I took those books and placed them on the desk in my room. Still wrapped in the ribbon, waiting until Christmas. I hurried to finish my mom's painting (she loved it, btw) and then laid on the bed staring at those three books. It was well past midnight before I fell asleep. 

The next day we all opened our presents. I'd received some lovely drama masks for my wall and some new art supplies. Fantastic! My brother got action figures and cars. My mom loved the painting and my dad enjoyed his handcrafted gifts from the kids. All through the morning my mind kept wandering back to the neat stack of books on my desk. 

I waited until the football game started and Mom was busy talking to everyone on the phone. My basset hound and I went into the bedroom and I grabbed the books. With shaking hands I untied the ribbon and opened the first book. How awesome it was to read the book without worrying over losing pages. LOL. 

I finished them in no time. And then I read them again. And again. 

Since I became an adult, I've created a vampire tradition. I hunt bookstores (and now online retailers) for a new-to-me author of vampire fiction. I'll buy the book if it intrigues me. If it's tangible, I wrap it in a pretty red ribbon to keep my hands off it. If it's an ebook, I have to swear off reading until Christmas so I won't cheat. LOL. Christmas day rolls around and I spend the morning and afternoon with the family. The night, however, is reserved for vampires and dark fantasy. 

I've got a vampire novel waiting on my desk for Christmas...and one more in ebook reader. ;) It's going to be a great Christmas! 

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