Creativity Bloodsuckers – “Die Vampire, Die!”

It’s a white Halloween here in Westhampton, MA where I’m visiting my family….not that far from the Mt. Holyoke campus. Fifteen inches of snow fell overnight on Saturday – power’s out all around us, but somehow, we got lucky up here on my sister’s side of the mountain. Here’s the view, so if it’s warm and snow-free where you are, go ahead, enjoy the schadenfreude.

For many of us in the U.S. though, Halloween doesn’t usually bring to mind snow — we think of pumpkins, cider, doughnuts, candy, and of course, costumes. The scary ghouls and goblins fill the streets (not sure how that’s working tonight out here with no power in much of the area, but hey, we’ll figure it out) and for me, I’ve been thinking about vampires. Not your traditional Dracula, or Anne Rice version, or any of those Twilight deals — no, no, there are far more dangerous vampires to a creative soul’s existence.

In September, I attended title of show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A terrific show with a terrific cast, featuring a terrific kid I’ve known since he was around twelve and shared the stage often with one of my sons. There’s a number in that show called “Die Vampire, Die,” which talks about the bloodsuckers that can kill creative impulses, if we let them. First, a clip from a different production of the show. Be advised, the language in the clip will not be appealing to all. Below the clip, I’ll paste in some of the lyrics that are helpful to remember – to banish those vampires that swarm and swirl and suck the life out of our ability to create, but again, only IF WE LET THEM.

There are so many vampires, inside, outside, and nationwide,
it helps to recognize them with this vampire hunting guide!
Listen closely,
a vampire is any person or thought or feeling
that stands between you and your creative self expression,
but they can assume many seductive forms.
Here’s a few of them!
…..First up are your pigmy vampires.
They’ll swarm around you head like gnats and say things like:
Your teeth need whitening
You went to state school?
You sound weird
Shakespeare, Sondheim, Sedaris
Did it before you and better than you,……

Brothers and sisters, next up is the air freshener vampire,
she might look like your mama, or your old fat-ass, fat aunt Fanny.
She smells something unpleasant in what you’re creating…..

The air freshener vampire doesn’t want you to write about
bad language, blood, or blow jobs
She wants you to clean it up and clean it out.
Which will leave your work toothless, gutless, and crotchless
but, you’ll be left with two tight paragraphs,
All kittens that your grandma would be so proud of…..

The last vampire is the mother of all vampires and that is the vampire of despair.
It’ll wake you up at 4am to say things like:
Who do you think you’re kidding?
You look like a fool.
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough

from Title of Show, music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen

Happy #writing all. What are the vampires you have to banish to keep the work going???