From “Being Blue” – Transformation Stories

Our narrator in Being Blue is a time-traveling vampire. His story is told in three voices: 40-year-old Blue living in Switzerland in 1816, 22-year-old Blue living in Kansas in 2002, and the journal entries that make up the journey stories. -Kasie

Transformation stories for vampires are about defining what kind of vampire we will become. Will we kill only for revenge seeking out pedophiles and rapists and enacting vigilante justice? Humans call that shit karma but really it’s a vampire.

Will we live like merciful angels delivering the suffering from this world into the next? Making the lonely feel loved and the cast-offs feel wanted and then at the exquisite moment in which they feel the very best they ever will preserving them like taxidermists.

Will we avoid killing altogether and drink from blood bags or animals to satisfy our requirements? Will we pretend to be disciplined though we know the blood is only part of the kill and that we’re denying our nature?

Transformation stories occur when we suddenly have something to lose.

There comes a time in a vampire’s life when he’s gotten control of his senses, figured out the best ways to feed and exist, and then he has a vision. That vision is of the life he could be leading.

For me, the vision came when I met Sara. Suddenly I saw myself as a man with a companion. A mate. Another creature just like me with whom I could share my interminable existence. We could experience all of this life together.

When I saw the future for Sara and I, the story I imagined did not include time-traveling at all. I had no idea I was capable of such a thing. My vision was our home with Dahlia and Maryanne, perhaps Drift and Lila. My vision was the porch swing and my room upstairs, reading books and swimming in the reservoir.

It was limited, admittedly, and it didn’t take into account the competing desires of the people around me.

Sara had begun mercy killing. She’d go to the truck stop and find a runaway selling herself for enough to buy a burger. Sara would befriend the girl, rescue her, hold her, and cradle her, and then, when the girl once again felt safe and loved, Sara would deliver her from this world.

The killing was wearing her out, though. It was an unsustainable deception she’d started when Lila made her go back to the club. Sara hated the exposure of being on stage and when she felt raw and ruined by it, she went to the truck stop to find someone who had it worse.

I would have liked for Sara to come to me with those wounds. But she did not trust me to help her. She was ashamed of herself and so she hid that side from me.

My vision of our life together was only a fa├žade for Sara. She hardly believed it even as we inhabited it. Sara kept waiting to be changed.

Some thoughts on Transformation

What struck me about the transformation theme for the first three books is the effort that went into transforming.

  • Jenna had to change the porn industry.
  • Stephen had to write prolifically, submit without fear, and revise every story that got rejected.
  • Colin had to create a new vision of himself. He was not the prodigy who failed to launch, destined to be Katherines’ reject. He had talent, he had a story, and he had potential.

All three of these people came to a realization about themselves in the stories we read. They all decided they could no go on the way they’d been going. Something had to change.

All art is about a willingness to be changed.

Either the artist is purging something, building something, or exposing something that changes him/her. Or the audience seeks to gain, to explore, or to understand something. The transaction should change them both.

So when Jenna, Stephen, and Colin meet for the first time, will each recognize the transformation in the other?

Jenna might see Colin and think, “He’s stopped taking himself so seriously. He sees the future as wide open. I like this guy.”

Stephen might ask Jenna, “What’s next? You’re an ambitious woman. Surely you have some other scheme cooking.”

Or Colin may wonder if Stephen has considered retiring all together.

When we recognize in ourselves that we cannot go on as we have — maybe we’ve been unhealthy or irresponsible or inconsiderate or simply bored — we can make small adjustments or we can transform.

I like to say I’m a continuous self-improvement junky. What now to make me healthier? Well read? Conversational? How can I get smarter? Stronger? Faster?

I don’t have the beginnings Jenna had to overcome, the being-raised-by-a-single-mom thing that shaped Stephen, or the expectations of being a child prodigy. I have a relatively benign background without roots of distrust or danger.

My transformation(s) have always been toward my vision of my own life: How I want to live, how I want to be thought of, how I want to enjoy the moments I have with the people around me as long as they’re around. Whenever I think I’ve been treading water (not making progress in any particular direction) I try to find a new path that may bring art and change back into my life.

– Kasie