My 2 cents on Dracula by Ryan Mecum
On each Halloween
I dress as Count Dracula.
I’ve heard he does, too.
- from VAMPIRE HAIKU
"The doctor here will bear me out that on occasion I tried to kill him for the purpose of
strengthening my vital powers by the assimilation with my own body of life through the
medium of his blood - relying, of course, upon the scriptural phrase, 'for the blood of
life!' though indeed, the vendor of a certain nostrum has vulgarized the truism to the very
point of contempt." –Renfield!
Confession: Although I’ve enjoyed vampire fiction for most of my life, I had little
interest in reading Bram Stoker’s DRACULA. This was mainly because I felt like pop
culture had already fed me the whole story already. Why read DRACULA when I have
already devoured dozens of stories that took Stoker’s idea and made it better? Isn’t
DRACULA just a boring and outdated version of SALEM’S LOT? Didn’t Anne Rice
make write a contemporary version with INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE? I’ve already
devoured her VAMPIRE CHRONICLES and sat through the Pitt Cruise movie numerous
times, why read a long, boring version of the same thing?
Once I started writing VAMPIRE HAIKU, I was having lunch with a friend of mine
named Peter Raber, who was excited about my book and made numerous references to
how it could be like DRACULA. I admitted to have had never read the book, and he
looked like he was about to punch me. I threw out my flimsy argument about how it
was outdated and unnecessary, and he looked like he was about to cry. He told me that
I didn’t know what I was missing, and if I was planning on writing a vampire story I had
to read DRACULA. His guilt trip worked, and on the way home I decided to pick up the
Sorry Pete, for being so naive and stupid. DRACULA was absolutely so insane and
wonderful. Renfield’s soliloquies while feasting on insects! The Demeter captain’s
log! Mina’s neck in the moonlight! Transylvanian gypsies! Gothic confrontations in
cemeteries! Van Helsing not described as looking anything like Hugh Jackman but
more like a sweet grandfather! The narration devices! Dracula’s moustache! This book
If you have yet to read this book and feel like you don’t need to because you mostly
know the story, please learn from my mistakes. There is a reason why vampires are
still relevant in our culture, and it isn’t because they can symbolize celibacy or AIDS
or homosexuality or anything else our contemporary vampire authors hint as to why
they think vampires still matter. Vampire books still sell because Bram Stoker created
a monster that is so scary and so fascinating that thousands of vampire stories later we
have yet to fully mine the genius of his creation. My silly book of vampire poetry would
not exist without DRACULA, and I am indebted to my friend Pete for helping me see the
error of my ways. Some of you might now know who Renfield is, and that is a travesty.
If you enjoy vampire fiction, pay your dues and bow before the thrown of the Count.
*Note from the Bite Club staff: If you haven't had the chance to read Ryan's poetry then you are definitely missing out! His haiku are funny and highly entertaining. My husband bought me a copy of Vampire Haiku last year and we both had a blast reading it. What are you waiting for? Check out his website here.
There's still time to enter Ryan's Werewolf Haiku contest. Enter through Wednesday!