Sunday, August 9, 2015

Vampire Kisses Chapter 2

The official welcome sign to my town should read, "Welcome to Dullsville—bigger than a cave, but small enough to feel claustrophobic!"

Then Gawthe Sue should feel right at home there - it's larger than her brain, and far wider than her mind. Of course, her ego is easily the size of Philly, so I doubt THAT would fit.

A population of 8,000 look-a-likes,

… rather than people who show their awesome individuality by dressing, looking and acting just like her.

a weather forecast that's perfectly miserable all year round—sunny—

Because a gawthe cannot thrive except in the blackest midnight darkness, or a gloomy overcast day at the very LEAST.

Also, this place must be in the heart of Nevada because I cannot think of any more temperate areas that are sunny 365 days per year, 366 on leap years. Or does Gawthe Sue automatically consider all weather that is not night-black and full of random lightning strikes to be "sunny"?

fenced in cookie-cutter houses, and sprawling farmland—that's Dullsville.

So basically it's an average little American town… so I can see why Gawthe Sue would hate it, since she fancies herself to be unique and different... just like every other speshul snowflake out there. Then again, I doubt she'd be satisfied in any actual city on earth, because it would mostly be filled by normal people with JOBS and non-gawthe clothes, rather than a giant spooky castle drenched in eternal night, bats and Hot Topic posters.

I think the town has it backward. How can land that grows corn and wheat be worth less than land filled with sand traps?

Whoooooaaaaaa… Gawthe Girl is deeeeeeeeeeeep and smaaaaaaaart. She like totally doesn't buy into the crap that the rest of the town does, for she is GOTH and UNIQUE and they're just a bunch of sheep. WORSHIP HER.

The hundred-year-old courthouse sits on the town square. I haven't gotten into enough trouble to be dragged there—yet.

… because she's a bad iconoclastic break-the-rules type! Of course, this statement sounds much more impressive until you realize that the heroine basically follows all the rules all the time, and just mouths off at people… which means that almost everybody else in the town is better qualified to be a "rule-breaking bad girl" than she is. Including some of the boys.

Seriously, get back to me when she's sniffing cocaine off an endangered bat's wings and dancing naked on the highway before she spray-paints a cop's car. That would be a decent start.

I wish our house could lie on the railroad tracks, on wheels, and carry us out of town, but we're on the right side near the country club. Dullsville.

And since her entire personality is defined by trying to be as "different" as possible (and thus being the same as every other teenage "rebel"), she will react like every other teenage rebel and whine about being near "conventional" people… who probably have deliciously scandalous seedy secret lives, unlike her.

Can you imagine all the disgusting, illegal and immoral things those country club people are doing? I can. I could write a soap opera about what I imagine them doing... and it would be way more interesting than Gawthe Sue.

The only exciting place is an abandoned mansion an exiled baroness built on top of Benson Hill, where she died in isolation.

I'm sure this is intended to be super-duper significant, since obviously there wouldn't be an abandoned mansion in the middle of nowhere unless it was intended for vampiric occupation. FORESHADOWING…. dun dun dun!

Of course, I don't know why said abandoned mansion hasn't been torn down for something more profitable, since abandoned buildings tend to fall apart in relatively short order. Or why it wasn't previously renovated and sold to someone rich - why would you just leave a big mansion on top of a hill to rot when you can SELL IT FOR MONEY?

I have only one friend in Dullsville—a farm girl, Becky Miller, who is more unpopular than I am.

So in other words, the only way the pathetic sullen loser could get a single friend was by finding someone even more pathetic and loserish than she is, and taking pity on her so she can lord it over someone else. Truly, this is a friendship bards will sing of.

Sitting on the school steps waiting for my mom to pick me up (late as usual) now that she was trying to be a Corporate Cathy,

Obviously her mom should never have gotten a real job - she should just have stayed home all day, watching old Hammer Horror movies and stuffing herself on Hostess crap. The implication is that her mom would swoop in right on the dot in a hippie van if she hadn't SNEER SNEER gotten a NORMAL job.

Oh, and "corporate Cathy"? That sounds like a sneer from someone who's sixty with the maturity of thirteen.

I noticed an impish girl cowering at the bottom of the steps, crying like a baby. She didn't have any friends, since she was shy and lived on the east side of the tracks. She was one of the few farm girls in our school and sat two rows behind me in class.

Apparently Ellen Schneider doesn't know what "impish" means, because it generally means mischievous and devilishly gleeful. You can't really look or act that way while "crying like a baby."

And it seems unlikely that there are only a few "farm girls" in the school, if Dullsville is surrounded by farmland - yo, Schneider, farm kids no longer stay on the farm to do chores for their hayseed parents all day. This is the fucking 21st century.

"What's wrong?" I asked, feeling sorry for her.
"My mom forgot me!" she hollered, her hands covering her pathetic, wet face.

Evidently she doesn't feel too sorry for her, because talking about her "pathetic wet face" sounds like the sort of thing you reserve for people you're mocking.

Anyway, this dishrag of a character sits there howling about how her mom is never this late and generally acting like an unusually weepy five year old, all so Gawthe Sue can be sensible and reassuring.

No one had ever invited me to their house before. I wasn't shy like Becky but I was just as unpopular.

Wow, I wonder why. Could it be her scintillating personality? Her intellect? Her kind nonjudgemental nature?

I was always late for school because I overslept, I wore sunglasses in class, and I had opinions, all atypical in Dullsville.

  1. Overslept and late for school - most teens do that. It's normal.
  2. Wore sunglasses in class - more stupid than edgy, since it would impair your vision and make it hard to see what you're supposed to be learning.
  3. Had opinions - I have yet to notice an actual opinion from Gawthe Sue. Whines and complaints don't equal valid opinions that are worth listening to. Get back to me when you're getting involved in world politics.

Sorry, but none of those are enough to cause even a ripple in an actual rural small town. Having actually lived in a region more homogeneous and remote than the one Schneider describes, I can tell you that there are plenty of people like that and NOBODY GIVES A DAMN. But then, if nobody gave a damn, Gawthe Sue couldn't be edgy and speshul. So I suppose she has to interpret people's dislike of her constant "I'm so gawthe you're all boring stupid intolerant meanies I like vampires hate school I'm edgy super speshul gawthe" whining as being a dislike of her oh-so-opinionated nature.

Becky had a backyard as big as Transylvania

I suspect Schneider doesn't have the faintest idea how big Transylvania is. And Gawthe Sue would be deeply disappointed in Transylvania anyway, since it's a beautiful rustic region with exquisite landscapes, culture, castles, and loads of history… and no, most of it has nothing to do with vampires or spooky stuff at ALL. Even the castle Bram Stoker used for Castle Dracula is not at all dark and gloomy.

I mean, look at it!

It's lovely! It's sunny, has a red roof, surrounded by gorgeous greenery, and looks like the sort of place where celebrities have their wedding receptions.

eat all the fresh apples a growling third-grade stomach could hold.

I'm shocked she didn't insist that she'd only eat blackberries, since they are the color of death and night and GOTHINESS. Apples are so… red and cheerful! EW!

I was the only kid in our class who didn't beat her up, exclude her, or call her names, and I even kicked anyone who tried.

Cue transparent attempt to make the self-absorbed, snotty Sue seem like a good person by rescuing a sad-sack character who will then be pathetically grateful to her forevermore. Also called the Anita Blake Maneuver, except in this book it doesn't involve sex.

She was my three-dimensional shadow. I was her best friend and her bodyguard. And still am.

So basically Becky is GawtheSue's subservient little lackey, primarily because she presumably won't question anything GawtheSue says. I'm shocked GawtheSue didn't demand that she wear all-black and feign an interest in the undead… but then again, that would diminish GawtheSue's speshul uniqueness.

When I wasn't playing with Becky, I spent my time applying black lipstick and nail polish,

Yes, obviously this is a worthwhile hobby - putting on makeup. Man, does it get any more cliche than that?

And then she and her friends visit New Orleans, and you can guess precisely what GawtheSue is obsessed with. Yes, this was back when Anne Rice still lived there and wrote decent vampire books instead of those crappy angel thrillers, wasn't whining about religion, or bitching and whining about people writing honest reviews on goodreads and while everyone rolls their eyes like she's their crazy aunt who never shuts the fuck up and embarrasses them in restaurants.

I vant to suck your crazy!

I knew where I was going: I wanted to visit the house of Anne Rice's birth, the historical homes she had restored, and the mansion she now called home.

At what age does creepy fannishness comes across as stalking? I could understand visiting her mansion (which she no longer lives at, by the way), but to visit every house she ever lived in? CREEEEPYYYYY...

I stood mesmerized outside its iron gate, a Gothic mega-mansion,

Actually, it's a Greek Revival mansion with Italian influences. Nothing could be LESS gothic without having fluffy bunnies on the roof.

I could sense ravens flying overhead, even though there probably weren't any.

…. so our repulsive heroine is now hallucinating. Apparently we are supposed to be swooning with her.

Several girls who looked just like me stood across the street, taking pictures. I wanted to rush over and say, "Be my friends. We can tour the cemeteries together!"

And then they'd laugh and tell the delusional little freak to get a life, because actual friendship is based on something other than wearing black nail polish.

It was the first time in my life I felt like I belonged.

… just like every other emo teenager alive when they see somebody or someplace waaaaaaayyy cooler than they are.

I was in the city where they stack coffins on top of one another so you can see them, instead of burying them deep within the earth.

Hate to shatter your illusions, Schreiber, but there are many old cities with visible crypts - Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and so on. I have actually sat on one facing Edgar Allen Poe's grave. Beat that.

There were college guys with two-toned spiky blond hair.

And that is SO rare and SUCH a sign of hipster coolness! NOBODY would ever do that unless they were truly cool! Except, you know half the annoying has-been former teen stars in existence.

Funky people were everywhere, except on Bourbon Street, where the tourists looked like they'd flown in from Dullsville.

Because of course New Orleans is entirely populated by WEIRD PEOPLE. There aren't any people who have real JOBS or wear NORMAL clothes… no! They all look like Hot Topic shoppers! They are all just like GawtheSue! Sounds like what hell would be like for actual cool people.

And then Anne Rice actually turns up on the spot, causing GawtheSue to have a gothic orgasm on the spot. Apparently she lives under the delusion that Rice is and has always been as much of a pathetic Hot Topic poser as she is, and thus has to constantly reemphasize her Super Vampirey Self at all times.

She glowed like a movie star, a Gothic angel, a heavenly creature. Her long black hair flowed over her shoulders and glistened; she wore a golden headband, a long, flowing silky skirt, and a fabulous vampirish, dark cloak.

I can only assume that Ellen Schreiber and her Gawthe Sue wept tears of blood and tore apart bats with their plastic vampire teeth when Anne Rice gabe up writing about vampires for good... I mean, for ten years. Oh, and she lives in California. I can just imagine Gawthe Sue cutting herself to express the pain of her idol deserting all the poser goths everywhere, and daring to be such a comformist by… doing what she wants regardless of what others think! THE NERVE!

So Gawthe Sue's mom tries to get the whole thing over with, so she can whisk her daughter home and make her change her underwear. Anne Rice signs a post-it note, takes a picture with Gawthe Sue, smiles at her, and gets the hell out of there. One presumes she's consulting with a lawyer to ask if you can get a restraining order on a preteen.

Why didn't I tell her I loved her books? Why didn't I tell her how much she meant to me? That I thought she had a handle on things like no one else did?

So she writes about vampires, therefore she has a "handle on things like no one else did?" I like some of Anne Rice's books, dislike some (Violin), and consider Queen of the Damned to be a horror classic. But I don't think her books are a reflection of How Things Truly Are, or that they reflect a true understanding of the world. Most people don't, if they have the slightest grip on reality.

In fact, recent years have shown that in fact, Anne Rice has pretty much a handle on NOTHING. She and reality divorced several years ago, and have not spoken to each other since. The fact that she thinks every negative review on amazon is an evil, calculated assault on Artistry EVERYWHERE shows that.

Gawthe Sue then runs around screaming and forcing her dad and brother to pantomime the entire encounter. She must have a really tolerant family, because neither of them tells her to shut up and quit bugging them.

Who cared about a stupid aquarium, the French Quarter, blues bands, and Mardi Gras beads when I'd just seen a vampire angel?

In other words, Gawthe Sue is a culture-free philistine who doesn't give a damn if the rest of her family wants to see stuff. The trip is all about HER and her mission to stalk Anne Rice! Everybody else, the rich culture of New Orleans and everything non-gothy can just go to hell.

And then OH HORRORZ her photo of herself and Anne Rice doesn't come out! Time for us to lie around moaning in emo woe.

... could it be possible that the combination of the two vampire-lovers couldn't be captured on film?

More likely that Gawthe Sue's astronomical ego blocked the camera lens.

Or rather it was just a reminder that she was a brilliant bestselling writer, and I was a screamy, dreamy child going through a dark phase.

That is probably the first accurate statement that Schreiber/GawtheSue has made in the entire novel thus far. It'll probably be the last, too.

Or maybe it was that my mom was a lousy photographer.

Maybe mommy didn't want to reward such a bratty kid who ruined the vacation for the rest of them.

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