Ryan Baron North
Strix: What's it about?
One of the frustrating parts of writing a novel about vampires is that when you tell someone you are writing a vampire novel, they assume you are writing a genre title around dark sexy things having sex with other dark sexy things. And for my novel Strix, that is not the case.
For vampires, you originally had your Draculas, your Ruthvens, and your Carmillas, and the stories tackled a fear of reverse colonization for Europeans, and it confronted the concept that a person could lose salvation—lose their ticket to heaven—by no fault of their own. Even if you did everything right, a vampire could steal paradise from you.
These fears don’t mesh with the modern day. Vampires in Strix are a commentary on the ethno-nationalism of self that we experience in modern society, specifically when we are grasping at our pasts. The vampires are a metaphor for the actual possibility that in the desperate search for self-actualization we hurt the people we love. Vampires, for me, are the fear that we may cross a line in our lives that leaves us trapped reliving, in our heads, the “golden years.” And that memory most likely never existed the way it is remembered.
Coming of Age
Writing these posts, I feel like Kurt Russell in The Thing talking into his little microphone. Instead of a body-snatching alien, I’m talking about…I dunno’…societal implications.
I was talking to a friend the other day about Prom. Most of my memory from before half a decade ago is pretty hazy, and I’m not really a fan of nostalgia, but the discussion got us talking about expectations. As I said, I don’t remember much from before, but I do remember that every night between the ages of 14 and about 25, I would be struck by anxiety. It happened because I was so scared that I would miss something. Not just something, but I would miss the moment—the one that would transition me from a boy into a man.
Let me explain…