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.
Zooming in on my protagonist, Tyler, Strix is about divorce. In terms of vampires, you have an event that leaves a person as this half-dead shadow of themselves tormented by the pain they have inflicted on others while faced with an eternity of lamenting their past and living on as just a memory to the people who once loved them. Divorce.
Writing this book was not easy. As I close in on the final edits and prepare to market the thing, I’ve been looking back at old writing, and early versions of the story, and I have seen how shallow it once was. Now, it is a story with a message. But the price for the little self-actualization I have and the ability to create something that I can consider “art” was not a price I ever wanted to pay.
But, to leave things on a less hopeless note, I feel that discovery of ourselves is something that will occur. The only decision we have is how far we want to kick the can down the road. About those relationships we’ve all lost and the people we’ve loved and hurt, no matter how rosy the glasses we want to put on when sifting through the rubble of our pasts, the fact remains that the negative habits and illnesses within ourselves still ended that which we coveted. That destruction allows us to rebuild. In the wake of my personal nightmare, I did away with much of my ego, and I shed that antiquated masculinity that so many of us have bred into our skulls. It pains me that I, as this more complete, more healthy man, can’t go back and retcon the events that wrote this book, but now, I can face tomorrow with hard lessons learned and more prepared to realize happiness than ever before.
You are loved,
3/5/2021 06:06:31 pm
Without your lived experience, Strix wouldn't have a message. You've come so far! Sure we could've been better prepared for reality by the people who were supposed to teach us those things, but now your ability to look back and assess the past has led to great opportunities. I bet your message will resonate with a lot of people, and I think that as a writer that's the best you can hope for!
3/7/2021 06:29:40 pm
Strix really does pull you in. You can feel the emotions and experience behind what you are writing. Can't wait for it to be finished!(:
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