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We All Want To Go To Heaven

22 Sep Posted by in Jewelle Gomez | Comments Off on We All Want To Go To Heaven
We All Want To Go To Heaven

“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”

That song, whether you go w/the Albert King or the Loretta Lynn version, is one of my favorite aphorisms.  Twenty years after publication of my vampire novel, THE GILDA STORIES, it’s still in print and readers still ask me for more stories. Vampires are proliferating on the big screen, the small screen and book shelves like proverbial bunnies.  Now that Anne Rice has reconverted—from Christianity to not—we might even see a re-emergence of her sweeping vampire chronicles!  Don’t be alarmed—-all the vampires seem to be media bound and not wandering free in the night.

What is it about vampires?  Even the treacle treatment they received in the Twilight film series doesn’t put mortals off!  I’d never imagined that young people would be so eager to offer up their life blood just to obtain eternally firm abs or perky breasts. That was what made “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” work so perfectly. Teenagers (even pimply ones) can hardly imagine that good health and beauty aren’t their natural birthright…forever…so why do they need vampires?

In truth I would think it’s folks my age who’d clamor for Vampire Bill or my personal ‘True Blood’ favorite, Pam, to bestow a sip of that elixir.  The closer I get to that inevitable glimpse of the Grim Reaper’s face I’m less frightened by the idea of donating a little blood to the undead…undead being the operative word.

In creating a new, feminist/lesbian vampire mythology I’m more comfortable imagining joining the creatures of the night—mine have a social conscience.  Still I have some philosophical questions to be answered such as: If you could live forever would you want your brother (cousin, sister, etc) to do so as well.  Or did he torment you so vilely as an adolescent that you’d gleefully watch him age from the vantage point of eternal youth?  What do you do about short-sighted mortals causing pollution today when you know you’ll have to be mopping up their toxicity when you’re 300 years old?  Hard to maintain your patience!

More and more it seems to me that if we all either pretended we are going to live for a millennium or at least acted like we are friends with the people who’d be living in the next century we might treat each other and the earth better. But I see a lot of things from Gilda’s vantage point.

As we come into that major San Francisco holiday, Halloween, I’m gearing up for thinking about these metaphysical/philosophical questions.  I want to be ready should any vampires appear on my horizon…other than more Gilda stories, of course. I’d rewrite the lyrics just a little: Nobody wants to die but we are all in charge of creating heaven.

Jewelle Gomez is the author of 7 books including the lesbian vampire classic novel, The Gilda Stories.  Her new play about James Baldwin will be produced in September 2011. Follow her on Twitter: VampyreVamp.  Or her website:

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