There is a school of thought that teaches us that time is not real, but merely a man-made construct, a non-existent illusion. I have given this matter a bit of thought as I am quite fond of outside the box thinking, especially when it comes to my writing, but I just can’t bring myself to agree with it. We live on a planet that rotates on its axis and around the sun and each rotation is inevitably divisible into units of time the most obvious of which is the 24 hour day. Even if time were not partitioned in the even segments we have broken it up in, it would still very much exist within the framework of life on earth. Even if men were not cognisant beings with the ability to forage, hunt, farm, engineer, and thus progress with every day they have been on this planet, time would still exist and time would still pass. From the time of, and in no particular order, the formation of the planet, Pangaea, evolution, the Dinosaurs and whatever else, time has still passed. It took a certain amount of time for the continents to shift, it took a certain amount of time for sponges to turn into lizards, it took a certain amount of time for man to go from cave to businessman and in a certain amount of time the sun will run out of light, fuel or whatever the sun runs on and life as we know it on this planet will cease to exist (all that is of course in a very idealistic view of the future, where the actions of mankind in no way go on to expedite aforementioned cessation of life). So where I’m going with this rant, is that time exists, in a real and pragmatic way, time exists as it has always done. If the earth were hypothetically to stop spinning and just froze on the spot of its axis would time stop? I don’t know, because this is wading into scientific waters I am unfamiliar with, but I can hazard a guess at no. Tempus Fugit and that is a universal truth.
What I’m trying to say in very broad terms, however successfully remains to be seen, is that time exists, and it is the constant by which all humans measure their life on earth. We wake up, wash our faces, get dressed and go out to work every day and we break up this day in 24 equal parts which are constantly changing in a rotational fashion. Philosophically speaking (again) we are never in the same spot of longer than a millisecond as in its smallest denominations time passes faster than we are even capable of perceiving, and sooner or later death will come for us all. From the day we are born we march towards an unknown date of death, in fact I have always believed that people are in a state of permanent denial and un-manifested depression because we all know we have to die one day. Life is beautiful for the most part, if you ignore the pained and anguished bits, so why would you want to leave, right? When we are young we think that death is so far away that it does not feature into our thoughts but very quickly we learn that life is unbelievably short and things need to be accomplished, stat! By our late twenties to thirties we realise that though still young there are a lot of things that are important to us which need to be achieved (work, love, marriage, kids, travelling, divorce-that-what-was-I-thinking-idiot, regretted tattoos) in order for us to experience happiness before that dreaded moment of death. It is during this time that we realise or are told that a life well lived is important and that the best state to be in at the time of death is one of no regrets, provided one has lived it to its fullest.
On a side note, (though I feel this post could be filled with them if I’m not careful) the no-regrets-thing is not a tenet I subscribe to personally, as that would imply one has either lived perfectly, (really who does that?) or that they have learned nothing from their mistakes along the way, but generally speaking, whether we do this or not, i.e. live well and fully, is a whole other matter perhaps to be dedicated to another blog post, for I fear I’m losing my train of thought. Bear with me, it was late when I started this.
Which brings me to the reason I began this sorry excuse for a blog post in the first place, and inevitably the subject of my book-Vampires. Vampires are the eternal beings of folklore and myth with the ambiguous origins and which for the most part are comprised of two or three basic principles (variations notwithstanding); they are eternal, immortal/undead, unable to abide the sun and survive purely by the consumption of human blood. Of all bodily fluids blood is the most intriguing and valuable. It oxygenates our organs, it nourishes, cleans, protects and holds the secrets of everything that makes us who we are, it is our biological essence and it has mystical properties too (speaking from a literary perspective always).
Vampires have fascinated people ever since they were put on paper, whether that was in the time of Bram Stoker, when superstition was more integrated into the fabric of life or whether that was yesterday in this age of science and logical explanations for everything. Vampires have certain innate qualities that both constantly terrify and captivate us. Few supernatural beings are as flexible with their abilities or have held our imaginations as much as Vampires do. Admittedly today we subscribe to a softer vampire, particularly in books and stories aimed at young adults, but Vampires continue to entertain us through the media of books, movies, graphic novels and songs.
I believe that somewhere in the heart of each and every Vampire fan and Vampire author lays one fundamental question: “Would I give up my humanity in order to live for ever?” There is a bartering that takes places whenever a Vampire is “born” where for the price of immortality they are forced to shed their humanity and relinquish all life as they know it in order to become immortal, and inadvertently they almost always become sub-human, cruel beings who are bored of their endless predatory existences. Through Vampire lore we are forced to consider our quality of life in relation to the price of immortality. Time is such a precious a commodity for us that we inadvertently ask ourselves, would I sacrifice so much in order to never die and have all the time in world?
There is a duality in Vampire fiction where one is forced to contemplate eternal life versus humanity and if one were to distance themselves from the genre they would reach the conclusion that age equals wisdom, maturity and forgiveness but for the interest of story we do not allow these creatures to live well or to thrive or even be happy with their new found “blessing”. Who has heard of or wants to see a happy Vampire afterall? Vampires are by nature anti-heroes, they are tormented by their pasts and murderous natures and oddly enough by a spiritual void they cannot fill. What happens to the Vampiric Soul when they are destroyed? Where does it go? Do they even have souls? Childish trifles you might exclaim, but food for thought all the same, for a good story needs to examine all angles of logic even in a supernatural setting in order to bring on suspension of disbelief in the reader.