For centuries, black cats have played a major role in folklore, superstition and mythology. In particular, in the Middle Ages they were believed to be witches’ familiars, and some people even believed them to be witches incarnate. Many old superstitions about black cats exist to this day, including the widely known superstition of a black cat crossing your path bringing bad luck.
I can’t understand why black cats have this bad rap. I personally see nothing in their nature that says “reincarnated witch” or “bringer of bad luck.” I see their hearts being just as loving as any differently colored cat.
I have had two black cats in my life. One was named Licorice and has passed on. Currently, I have a cat named Celia who is 7 years old and has been with me for 6 of those years. Celia loves to purr and show off her belly. She’ll even watches other animals on TV. I’ve known other cats to take an interested in TV as have dogs. Celia will wait for me to come home and zip right up as soon as I walk in She loves to rev her little cat engine and race around the house. She will even notice when I’m upset or sad and do her thing to calm me down and make me smile. I don’t care if Celia walks in front of me, behind me or at my side. She never brings me bad luck. Now, she can be a tripping hazard, but so can any other cat!
Just as many people need to get rid of their misconceptions about black cats and dogs, so too is it with vampires. Why should vampires in television, movies, and books only be about such things as having no soul or being very evil. Or their having feelings that are misunderstood so they go around being mopey and sullen. Or that they only care about drinking blood and having great sex.
I do not believe a vampire story should be relegated to these core themes that show up again and again. When the vampires were still human, I would imagine their lives were just as complicated as our own. So why should it change once they become vampires?
I have been a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Wire, and Sports Night, to name a few shows, I have returned to watch again and again for their characters having complexity. Yes, there was one underlying story line thread but there was also the interactions of each character with others and what he or she did in response or in reaction to them. There was never show after show after show about just one aspect of the program. Yes it was a big part of the show, but Buffy didn’t always slay vampires. There were other characters she interacted with where he or she was the center of the story line not her. The Wire was not only about drug selling and the poor of Baltimore. The show delved into the lives of the police outside of the squad room, the lives of the drug dealers away from the drugs, the politics of Baltimore, and the education system. Here again a program that layered the stories. Even Sports Night a comedy about two male sports casters didn’t just stick to retelling over and over again their friendship. The show allowed these two characters to have interactions with other characters and do other things besides, be with each other.
When I was writing Switching Stations, Switching Stories, I wanted a main story line but I also wanted to tell other stories to give each character layers to who he and she are. I wanted to push myself to honor the programs I love for their multifaceted qualities by giving the characters in my own book the same feel. Yes, there are times when all of us choose to watch or read something with a single story line, but ask yourself this – I have done this myself? Do I really need every time to be the same or should I instead choose a book with story layers to jazz my imagination? I hope you, like I, will say no to the ho hum, release your inner rebel, grab and read the second type of book. Your imagination will thank you!