For the last 15 years, I have written for a number of business and trade publications. I have covered a wide range of topics from the newest exhibitions at museums to the doggie poop pickup business to vampires who have found an entrepreneurial voice because of the Twilight books and movie series. Sometimes I get bored by the subject matter and sometimes I am completely drawn in by the interview. I have to be honest and say that the fascination with vampires is the one topic that astonishes me most. Granted, I am still bewildered by people who pay others to pick up their dog’s poop, but their laziness has nothing over the vampire groupies that exist in our world today.
What amazes me about the whole vampire movement is that it encompasses relatively normal people from all walks of life. I interviewed one woman who gave up a career in social work and moved herself and her five children to the small town of Forks, Washington because that is where the Twilight action takes place. Yep, she left her husband behind at his job temporarily, and she opened up a store dedicated to Twilight. Now, she has a restaurant and lounge there as well. Some people may laugh, but this woman has brought life – maybe eternal life – to the logging town that died when the environmental protests over the Spotted Owl came into existence. The funny thing is that she did not take this on because she possessed some creative idea about making money. She did this because she wanted to live the life that exists in the Twilight books.
To be honest, I admire this woman. She had a dream and she incorporated her passion into that dream and made a nice living doing so. However, I conducted one other vampire interview which my editor and I decided to omit from the article because it was too bizarre for print in a trade magazine. Once again, I talked to a woman (Luckily, a phone interview) who also became obsessed with the Twilight series. However, she also had a long-standing love affair with Bram Stoker’s Dracula as well. And like my Forks, Washington lady, she had opened a store out on the west coast, but her store was dedicated to the entire concept of vampirism. While she carried the typical vampire memorabilia and merchandise, she offered a unique service to customers: She gave lessons to fellow vampire aficionados on how to drink blood. So, when she dropped this little bombshell, my professionalism went out the window and what flew in was total fear. I began to stammer,
“You d-d-d-drink blood? Human blood?”
“Of course, it gives me life for all time.”
“Uh huh. And you have others who drink b-blood with you?”
“Why, yes! You should come see in person what we do and how we live our lives.”
“That would be nice, but I am 3,000 miles away and I am a pretty big believer in keeping as much blood in my body as possible. It’s sort of a rule with me.”
You know, I think she was a tad insulted by a last comment, and I could not end that interview fast enough. I just knew that something evil may be afoot here, and I did not feel the need to delve into whatever it was. It’s not that I believe in all this vampire nonsense, but I do watch the Discovery and History channels a great deal, and the one thing I have learned from their paranormal shows is that crap happens to people who mess with the unknown.
When I finally was able to end this conversation, she gave me a gracious thank you and offered to send a few words to her Almighty on my behalf. All my mind could think was I bet her Almighty lives a little further south than most everyone else’s Almighty. I have to admit this woman creeped me out. I bent over backwards to be polite because I wasn’t sure if I was now on her vampire radar. Hey, I am a journalist but usually not an investigative journalist, so I didn’t think it necessary to endanger my life and soul for a trade magazine? Okay, it would be different if it was a national magazine or newspaper, but a trade?
After I hung up the phone, I took off to a nearby new age store that features Native American cleansing tools. I brought a sage smudging stick and then proceeded to cleanse my house. Do you know that sage smells a lot like pot? After the smudging, I did feel a lot better. My husband said I was high. Anyway, laugh at me if you must, but I was committed to making sure that the vampire lady and her bloody friends did not pave a path to my home.
This experience has taught me many things about my life as a freelance writer. Among the lessons: Never think any writing job is boring or beneath you; no matter how mundane a story is, find something of interest in it; and never judge any business harshly. You may not understand the reason for the existence of the dog poop picker upper business, but you can be pretty sure that nobody in that office is going to try and turn you into a creature of the night.
photo by Patricia