Thursday, April 9, 2009

Funeral Blues

Stop All the Clocks, Cut off the Telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let airplanes circle moaning overhead,
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

-W.H. Auden

I have recently experienced a loss. Don’t worry. It was nothing serious. It’s just my Masters Thesis Project died last week, and I took it rather hard.

I realize it’s a bit overdramatic to post the above eulogy, but I never was one for subtly, was I?

Perhaps I should explain. I’ve been banking on a certain thesis topic for the last year—an extensive folkloric mapping of the Vampire Myth in the 20th century America. Absurd, es las verdad?

I couldn’t help it. It’s been a lifelong fascination. I remember reading Stoker’s Dracula and a “History of” book about werewolves when I was ten, and I just knew occult fiction would be a longtime interest for me. When I was twelve, the film Interview with the Vampire premiered, and I could not imagine a more euphoric prospect than a movie involving Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Antonio Banderas mixed with a vampire theme. I finally read Anne Rice’s novel in high school, but at the time it proved totally unreadable. Let’s face it, when you’re fifteen you can’t really grasp the concept that becoming an immortal might turn out to be a magnificently disappointing experience. That…and I’m pretty sure that Brad Pit’s character in the story was gay, or at the very least bisexual.

But I digress. Where was I?

More recently, I’ve become enthralled with DVD versions of Buffy and Angel, and although I’d hate to admit it, I’ve even read all of the Twilight (AKA Twit-light) novels. My interest reached a high point early last year, and after a lot of searching and pondering, I felt ready to explore the topic thoroughly in a Masters Thesis paper this summer.

Alas, it was not to be. Last week on Monday, I was notified by the Program Director the project wouldn’t fly. Not because it wasn’t literarily sound, but because we couldn’t get a professor with the proper expertise to chair the project. The rejection was brutal. I argued with the Director for two hours about who we could use. In the end, it was to no avail. Slowly but surely, my thesis was staked.

In my process of mourning, I’ve pulled all of my vampire shrines down. You might think this was a small project, but you’d be wrong. At work I had a shrine that displayed 25 Buffy comic book covers, and at home I had a Buffy shrine on my book shelf and wall. I pulled it down. I was just too disheartened to look at them anymore. These characters which have occupied my every thought for the last year are now going into storage to make room for a different topic: The American Cowboy: A Cultural Symbol’s Reflection of the 20th Century American Dream.

This was an acceptable topic, and I’m sure in a month I will think so too.

But tonight I want to wallow in my loss. I want to say good-bye to Bram, Buffy, Willow, Angel, Spike, Xander, Oz, Anya, Andrew, Tara, Anne, Stephanie, Knight, Louis Point Du Lac, Lestat, Edward, Bella, and all of the other Vampire creatures I’ve grown to love. “The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; /Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; /Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood. /For nothing now can ever come to any good.”

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