Yesterday’s not-for-work stuff included watching At Home at the End of the World, the movie version of Michael Cunningham’s novel, and reading Michael Schiefelbein’s Vampire Vow. Both the dvd and the book I checked out from the Quatrefoil Library. I think I will spend my entire winter break watching and reading stuff from their collection. I also checked out Willyce Kim’s Dead Heat (I didn’t know she had written this sequel to Dancer Dawkins and the California Kid) and Matthew Stadler’s Landscape: Memory (I love his Allan Stein).
At Home at the End of the World was a very sad but beautiful movie. The Bobby character is so refreshing to see. I know people who have aspects of his personality — the intense innocence, openness to love, and utterly caring attitude towards people. But what I think is so great about this character is his lack of guilt and lack of awareness of social disapproval. I wish people could be more like him this way. Like his openness to his best friend’s gropes. His offering his friend’s mother a joint when she catches them smoking. His actions diffuse those moments of possible disapproval in the best possible way — by refusing to interact with people and a world in a way that frowns upon loving relationships.
Vampire Vow, on the other hand, was a fun little read that was naughty yet ultimately pious. I thought the best part of it is that it’s written by a man who studied to be a priest, became an English professor, taught at a Catholic university in Tennessee, then went on to be a minister. Plus, the story is about this Roman soldier Victor who becomes a vampire because of his unrequited love for Jesus. Seriously! It’s an awesome story. Victor goes on his two millenia rampage because Jesus, though in love with him, too, rejects him for God instead. And in the second millenia, Victor preys specifically on Jesus’s followers in monasteries. There are scenes where he pushes up monks’ habits and “enters” them. Is it wrong that this tickles me so? But the story does ultimately create a world in which Christianity is about true faith, and though the story doesn’t condemn Victor outright, it also sets him up for a final redemption somewhere down the line. (So far there are three vampire books by Schiefelbein — I’ll probably read the other two in the next month: Vampire Thrall and Blood Brothers — and as much as Victor challenges the order of goodness, he does so in a way that is like theological inquiry, testing the limits of the Christian faith and thereby strengthening it.)