Even amongst people who don’t believe vampires exist outside of entertaining fictions, I’ve sensed some hostility against bizarrely particular representations of vampires. They could be urbanites, melanized, and rough-and-tumble like Blade. Oh, no, they must be aristocratic, out of time, pale, foppish, and dangerously seductive like Dracula. They definitely do not sparkle in the sun like Edward Cullen.
“They definitely” nothing. Vampire is just a word.
What’s in a word? I propose that whoever writes the word “vampire” only needs one other reader to agree to the writer’s meaning. If that includes sparkles, then that too is what the word includes in the moment of that exchange, to the participants of that exchange. That’s how words work. Even if we trace the word history back to some ancient Slavic word meaning “to pierce” we can move forward in time and outwards in some other plane to find representations of vampires who simply enter a room and everybody else in there with them begins to feel exhausted for no reason, or they lose memories, or lose some other sort of personal power.
When it comes to meanings, especially the meaning of “vampire”, I kept my agreements to reality and the agreements to fiction very far from each other.
In reality: I’ll get back to this.
In community: Amateur practitioners in psi phenomena would frequently speak up about vampires. That is, first grant psi as a conserved quantity related to life and/or a feeling of well-being, also grant human people adept at manipulating psi, and finally grant the latter can rob the former from people who don’t do that sort of thing (not even to preserve what psi they have.) Refer to this act as vampirism.
People who identified as vampyres or vampires (I mention “identified as” because that aspect is the focus, not because I would impose an opinion that they are “really” something else) or those who spoke up for them, defined vampirism as a predisposition more than an action. Real vamps couldn’t metabolize the life force and mental nourishment of psi that didn’t come from other people. Other people who gave it, wouldn’t miss it. Most other people didn’t need other people’s psi, and those who took it anyway (those described in the immediate preceding paragraph,) in a way that was too harmful to go unnoticed, were not vampires but leeches.
Note the importance of that distinction. When I ask what’s in a word, I definitely wouldn’t contest the idea that words mean things.
III. Modern Folklore
In fiction: Blade is the best vampire of all time ever, I will fight you on this.
Oh, pardon me. In my fiction: Vampires are an entirely other kind of being, as different from humans as a bat differs from its dream of a mosquito. I created a human character who became influenced and aberrated by such alien monstrosities, but who herself embodied a sort of tragically romantic glamour in pining after the sunlight of her fully human days.
That story went nowhere, thank the stars. It would never be as compellingly twisted as Let the Right One In, and could even have been worse developed than Twilight. Presently, I have a novella in the works that involves a psi vamp-leech, hopefully leaving it ambiguous enough about whether this character truly needs to feed but is also vindictive about it because this particular character has been so deprived, or whether the need is a sympathetic lie hiding nothing but unrelated vindictiveness. Despite having once believed it, even despite my probably believing it again one day, this psi-vampirisim just feels like something I included because I found it somewhere and decided it was cool, and because it fit the story both thematically and logically.
I use fiction to explore the spiritual, but some fiction is just fiction.
IIII. How Do You Roman Count
In reality: You know what? Never mind.
In Faery: Vampires are an entirely other kind of being, as different from humans as a bat differs from its dream of a mosquito. How did this happen?