Yes, I know. I’ve been a long time in edit mode. And I’m still plowing through it. The story is good. Actually, I think it’s great, but as I’ve said before, I’ve been showing it to some people in a writing group. Initially they were supportive, even a little over the top. But then the contentiousness started. Some people think it has two much religion. Some think I’m too hard on the church. Heated arguments ensued. I’ve not tried to portray anyone in any way that wasn’t just simply a part of the story. I’ve seen it all, and I think it’s just realistic and understandable that people would react this way under the circumstances. You have to keep in mind that we’re talking about vampires and people who see divine creatures, so it’s not as if everyone is someone down the street. These people are pushed to the edge. Anyway, everyone has an angle and an opinion about what I’ve written.
David just laughed when he heard what’s happening. People react to good writing, he said. The fact that people have chosen sides and get mad about it is the best news ever.
But I don’t like it. Scares me
There’s another issue. Won’t get into it too deep because of spoilers, but some people think I’ve taken a position in the abortion debate. What happened is simply what happened in the story, and I didn’t even consider the abortion issued at all. But turns out, if someone has a controversial pregnancy you can’t avoid the abortion debate. Anyway, two sides again, and everyone either thinks I’m for or against, and they are all mad at each other and me, and I’m sitting there keeping my mouth shut and thinking everyone hates my guts.
Again, David Kennedy says this is more good news. But some people are cold toward me afterward, and again it’s both sides of the argument.
I’m not a pagan, and this is the other thing. If you write a story with Prometheus in it, are you a pagan? And then you get into the argument of Christianity and neopaganism. I didn’t even know people were arguing about this stuff. Apparently some people are trying to bring back the old gods. You know, Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Athena. All that stuff. “It’s just a story,” I tell them. But when I say it, I know it’s not true. It’s not just a story. I’ve spent almost three years writing my novel. And sometimes I want to argue too.
Again, David says all this is good news. The fact that my publisher wants it is what keeps me going.
So yes, the story is finished, and we’re still editing. I just got it back from the copy editor, and he trashed it. Which, again, David said is a good thing. The story editor moved some things around, but she went pretty easy on it. But the copy editor, who looks at grammar, word choice, any kind of errors, typos. I have a bunch on each page. And then when I make corrections, I make more mistakes, and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever get it to looking like anything. David was surprised at this also. Every time you put a word on the page, it’s possible to have made three or four mistakes. I thought my English was better than that, plus Dragos did the translation, and it is amazing.
Everyone says this is normal, but I felt bad about it. My publisher, sometimes I wonder why he took it. When they first saw it, it wasn’t complete by a long ways, but the acquisitions editor said she fell in love with the story. I talked to her about it. Told her I was sorry, that I thought I had done a better job than that. She keep saying to not worry; it’s going to be alright. This is what it takes to get a novel in shape to publish.
I still have all these other issues. Haven’t talked to my mother. She still doesn’t know I’m here in Edinburgh. I have talked to Gail. Of course, she knows David, and she found out I was here. She was mad at him and me for not letting her know, but I didn’t want word to get out that I’m here because of my mother. I worry at night about what I’m going to say to her when she finds out I’ve been here a while. Maybe she’ll be glad I didn’t let her know…?
And then there’s David and me. His job is demanding, and I don’t get to see enough of him. He’s gone a lot. I don’t like being by myself. When I get down, I go to see his mother. She’s still a little cold toward me. I help with anything I can just to be around her. I try to tell her about my problems, but I think I’m just a burden. You’d think I’d learn life’s not easy. And I get worried about what would happen if David dumped me. Alone in a strange country. I get homesick for Romania.
I’ve been tweeting about it, but just in case you missed it, you should go here to see the entire cover of my new novel “Carpathian Vampire.” We’re moving along toward publication but don’t have a firm date quite yet. We’ll be doing preorders for a couple of weeks. Hang with me.
I’ve been working hard on the edits to Carpathian Vampire. Really a tough job, but it’s exciting to see that my editor didn’t chop it to pieces. Anyway, I’m going through the edits and making the changes.
I’ve been wondering what was happening to the cover illustration, and then all of a sudden, here it is. It’s obviously not finished, but this is what they consider a concept, and they wanted to see if I approved. Oh! Yes! Yes! Yes! I didn’t imagine anything this gorgeous. I had just talked to the art director about what I wanted. And I wanted something sophisticated, not some hot girly thing for a cover. The illustrator scanned the story, and talked to me a little. I mentioned a gazebo plays a part in it, and described it a little, and of course, he knows that it’s a vampire book and should have a little atmosphere. That was a while ago.
Today he said that he’d let me see it, if I’d not be too disappointed because it has its problems. So he sent me a jpg. But this is beyond my wildest dreams. I love it. I just simply love it! So I had to share. And, yes, I can see that he still has some work to do, but I couldn’t ask for anything better. And it has my name on it. Imagine!
I’ve been derelict, and I deserve all the bad thoughts you’ve had for me during these months I’ve neglected my blog. I have no defense for myself other than to say that life had overcome me, and although I thought a lot about you, and felt considerable guilt, I just couldn’t get around to it. Spent a little down time sick after Christmas. Thought I was never going to get well. I guess it’s all the new bugs here in Edinburgh.
Anyway, a little news.
I’ve finished Carpathian Vampire. I mean really finished this time. I’ve written all the chapters that remained, and I had to write more than I thought. I ended up with fifty when I thought I would only have forty-four or so. Anyway, it’s finished. Yes, but the editing continues. I’ve been through those last chapters a couple of times, and I’m finally pleased with the way it ended. Never would have thought what happened would happen when I first started writing it. Now I’m rereading it from the beginning to see how it holds together, but I’ll soon have to pass it off to my publisher. I’m hoping they won’t chop it to pieces. They’ve promised that they won’t do anything to it that I don’t agree with, so I’m pretty excited about what it’ll look like in the end.
In the meantime, I’m writing a blurb, and working on a couple of maps that I believe will make it more interesting. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: Maps for a vampire story? But I have some unusual settings that have to do with the vampire world and don’t want my readers to get confused. Anyway, I love maps. Publishers aren’t crazy about them because they mean more work. That’s the way it goes.
Plus, I’m also thinking about cover illustrations. I don’t want some embarrassing fangs and cleavage or a heartthrob thing, or an over-the-top vampire look. I want something classy. My publisher has an illustrator I’m working with, but I can’t make up my mind. I would like to have my protagonist, Alexandra, on the cover, but I hesitate having someone, a picture of an actual human being, portray her. I’m thinking more of what they call an artist’s rendering of her. This is scary stuff because what if I don’t like what I see? Yes, I’m a worry wart.
David Kennedy and I are now off on our own. We spent a few weeks with his family but then found a little place to rent, and although his family is amazingly nice, it’s great to be off to ourselves. It’s scary David being off at work all day, and me being on my own here in Edinburgh. With all that’s going on, I am taking a class this fall at the University of Edinburgh. Plus, and this is what’s really exciting, David got me in touch with some other writers, and we meet a couple of times a month. I fed them a couple of chapters of Carpathian Vampire, and they are really excited about it. But I was too far along to let them see all of it. Mostly I’m just getting used to being in a writing group and sharing ideas about writing. They’re jealous that I’ve found a publisher. It’s a really small publishing house, but they are interested in developing new authors, and they don’t have much of a marketing budget, but I’ll just be glad to see something I’ve written in print. It won’t come out in hardback, just paperback and digital, but sometimes I just pace the floor wondering what it’ll be like to have something out there in the real world. Of course, I’ve got my little book of short stories, but that’s just digital. I can’t wait to see what a real paperback book looks like with my name on it.
I went through a terrible time missing Romania. It was more difficult getting used to actually living in a foreign country than I thought it would be. I’d like to speak a little Romanian from time to time with someone beside David. He’s not a native speaker and only does it to pacify me.
And now for my mother. She still doesn’t know I’m here. I keep thinking I’ll tell her, but just can’t bring myself to do it. I would like to see my little brother and this new baby. It has to be here, but I’m reluctant to check. I’m just afraid she’ll commandeer me to babysit and other stuff, and I won’t do that. Right now I feel like Edinburgh belongs to me, and when I bring her into the picture, I know it’ll be like I live in her city. Plus I’m not ready for her to meet David. I don’t want her to make a judgment about him. I don’t want her to have an opinion. I’m always afraid I’ll run into her when I’m out and about, but Edinburgh is a large city. Still, it’s a small world.
I’ll try to do better about keeping up with my blog, but I’m learning to not make promises. Hang with me, and I’ll try to do better. Yes, I know, promises, promises.
Yes, yes. I know, I know. I’ve waited too long to post. Again. I have my reasons, but that’s too much to go into right now. First of all, let me say that David and I did go see my father at Codlea prison at Christmas. Of course, that was almost three months ago, just before we left for Edinburgh. He was not doing so well because he couldn’t get outside much. The winter months are the hardest for a man who likes to be outside all the time. But he’s doing better now that the weather is beginning to warm up a little, if his emails, sparse and infrequent as they are, are any indication. He’s back gardening again. Perhaps ‘gardening’ isn’t quite the right word, yet farming is too expansive for what he does: planting, weeding, and care-taking vegetables. They’re prepping the ground for planting that’s coming soon.
Anyway, he was both sad and pleased to hear that I was leaving with David. And he likes David far more than he should someone who has stolen his daughter and is taking her away to another country. Those two, I tell you. It’s as if they’ve conspired against me. Or perhaps it’s that they’ve conspired for me. I get choked up thinking about it. Of course, I have to keep in mind that I was living with Gypsies before I met David. So there.
The long trip to Scotland in the dead of winter, was cold and a little scary. Not as much fun as last time, but then I didn’t get to flirt. Strange how the boys seem to sink into the background when you’re with someone. No, I’m not going into how I negotiated the passport thing. Let’s just say that my father has more connections than I deserve, and that getting one that is actually legit was much easier than I thought. And I did have to have one this time. And no, I’m not going to make public how I got into Scotland the time before, because putting it up on the web wouldn’t be the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Just realize that my mother’s husband has a few connections also. And by the way, my mother still doesn’t know I’m here in Edinburgh. I hardly even think about her, I’ve been so busy.
It turns out, David also has a family. Who would have thought? And this is where the scary part starts. David had given up his apartment in Edinburgh, and we went to spend a few days with his family so he would have time to find another one. Apparently, he hadn’t prepared them for me. His mother, a rather middle-aged good-looking woman with quick eyes and a severe disposition, took David into a back room, and they didn’t come out for an hour. This was in the middle of the day when only the women were home: his mother and two sisters, both older than me. His mother left me with the girls while she took David in the back room and really gave him a going over. Seems they have more religion in their family than I’d imagined. Lots of shouting and exclamations from the mother. I sat staring at the walls with the two sisters, who didn’t have a lot to say either. We were all listening closely to what was going on in the back room, but couldn’t make much out of it. Or at least, I couldn’t.
It was an uncomfortable eternity, an hour of uneasiness, and then all at once the sisters started laughing. At what I couldn’t say, and jabbering so fast that I couldn’t make out what they said. Of course, I didn’t know that they were talking in code, and something called Pig Latin, which is beyond me. I found out that they learned it from an American girl they new while they were in secondary school. Anyway, they’d heard something from the back room that broke the ice.
And then the strangest thing. The two girls came over to me, each one took a hand and they kissed me on the cheek as if I was some long lost member of the family and started asking about Romania, and what city I was from. I wondered what they’d heard from the back room. They were on their cell phones, telling the world, that “Little David” was back and brought a girl with him. Well, first of all, David isn’t that little, a lot taller than me, and he’s not the baby they keep making him out to be.
The sisters took me into the kitchen, and what a place that is, let me tell you, and started making tea, and then it was coffee, snacks, cookies, some of this and some of that. I heard the girls talking later, after David and his mother came out. It was something about love, about who could actually love their nerdy little brother, and that I must have a heart of gold.
Anyway, David’s mother came out, but she still wouldn’t look me in the eyes. and she welcomed me. I could tell she was worried about what David’s father would say about the situation. And then the rest of the family descended on the house like a bunch of locusts.
David has three more brothers, two of them married with kids. He’s the baby of the family and everyone is protective of him. If the mother was skeptical of me, and the sisters uncertain, the brothers were like saints of goodness and joy, and their wives and kids gather about me like I was a Christmas present they forgot to pass out. And by the way, the unmarried one is studying for the priesthood. Everyone kept trying to do something for me, just anything to get to be around me, and asking questions a kilometer a minute. I felt like the prize pig at a housewarming. I was afraid they were going to eat me. The situation was out of control. They kept trying to get a peek of me without staring. But they seemed so happy that I couldn’t help but feel a little more comfortable than I have in quite a while. Being with the Gypsies as an outsider is never much of a welcoming experience.
And then the father came home, a tall, almost gigantic man, must be six-feet five, with a shock of dark hair that would make you tremble, and a close-cropped beard that makes him scare the wits out of you. Big gruff voice. I shrunk back into the corner of the room, and wished I could disappear. Mrs. Kennedy grabbed her husband as soon as he came in the door and before he could access the situation, but I could tell that he knew something was up, and then he saw David. He jumped into the middle of David, accused him of running off to a foreign country without telling them, and being gone so long, months, with little or no word from him. I thought he was going to kill David on the spot, and no telling what he would do to me. Torture probably.
But then he grabbed David and hugged him till I thought the blood would surely squirt out his eyes and ears. Then he laughed big. “God, it’s good to have you home, Son,” he said. “Home, safe and sound.” That was when the mother shoved the father into the back room, and I heard her going into him about what David had done, bring a girl into their home all the way from Romania. I could still tell she wasn’t pleased. I started to grab my suitcase and head for the door. But then I heard him laughing. Him laughing and her scolding. You’d think she was going to give him a whipping.
Suddenly the door burst opened. “Where is this Luminita,” he said, big smile on his face. I knew I couldn’t live up to that smile, that he’d be disappointed to see this little frumpy Romanian girl who’d lived with Gypsies, a derelict whose father was stuck away in prison for life for murdering a man. I couldn’t live up to that smile. David was right behind him, and he came over to me, put his arm around my waist and said,”Father, here’s the smartest, sweetest, most lovable girl in the world. And not only that, she likes me.”
“Well, welcome into our home,” said that tall stick figure of a man. I saw then that his hair wasn’t as black as I thought, that his hair and beard were both trimmed in gray. He didn’t shake my hand when I offered it. He grabbed me and my body just disappeared in a hug. I thought my eyeballs were going to pop out. He pushed me back to look at me. “Thank you,” he said, “for taking care of my son while he was in your country. Traveling is good for a young man, and the love they find on the road lasts a lifetime. ”
Romanians aren’t very big on hugging strangers. I didn’t know what to do. I just knew that I couldn’t possibly live up to all this. I cried. I don’t do that very often. I cried and hid my face in David’s chest. And I guess everyone thought I was a crazy person.
And then Rachel, David’s oldest sister, pulled her father away. “Leave her alone, Papa,” she said. “Can’t you see we’ve all scared her to death?”
We all ate dinner together that evening, and things quieted down a bit, but I could tell that the entire family was relieved to have David home. He seemed to be the most special one in the family. It was like the prodigal son come home. I helped a little in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner, but I was lost, and disoriented from traveling. David kept looking at me, and I wondered what he was thinking. The house felt empty and lonely after the brothers and their families left. The sisters left too, and they put David and me a back bedroom. I cuddled up to David, and he held me a long time.
“This is going to work,” he said. “I’m so pleased to have you with me. I know you’re scared, and all this seems strange, but tomorrow is a new day, and we’ll start it off together.”
I was scared. Darkness is a strange world in Edinburgh. It didn’t seem like the same place I’d seen the year before when I came to visit my mother. This was a strange alien world. I just couldn’t see how I could live up to it.
That’s enough for now. More in my next post. Much more, and you won’t have to wait so long this time. I promise.
I finally told David [Kennedy]. We hadn’t spoken all day. We’d quit discussing anything about the two of us. We’d been out shopping for hours. Hadn’t bought a thing. No intention of buying anything. We looked at clothes for a while, men’s clothes at first, where I’d point to things that I wanted David to wear, shoes I wished we could buy for him. And then we came to the underclothes. We just laughed and walked on. Somehow we’d made up our minds, without even discussing it, to not speak a word to each other. We weren’t mad or even irritated. It’s just that we talk so much that somehow we decided separately but together not to speak a word.
Then we went shopping for clothes for me. Not to buy, you understand, just looking at clothes. Mostly really girly stuff, which I just don’t wear. We were shopping and not buying. I even tried on a couple of one piece dresses. One long, sleek outfit that I just loved, and one skirt and blouse. When I tried on the tight dress, David grabbed his chest like he was having a heartattack. Got to admit, I surprised myself a little in the mirror.
Then we went to the market, bought an expensive fish and some vegetables, an inexpensive bottle of wine. When we got home, we did everything together, cleaning the fish and cutting up the vegetables. I fixed a sauce. Olive oil, a little garlic. We ate in the dark with a single candle burning. We hadn’t spoken a word to each other all day. Sitting across the table from him, I loved him so much it hurt. Finally I spoke.
“I’m not marrying you,” I said.
I don’t know why I said it like that. It was like a shield I put up to protect myself from him. I could see the hurt in his face, the devastated look that instantly descended upon him. I just couldn’t marry him, not yet.
“But I’ll go with you to Edinburgh. If you still want me to,” I said.
I knew he’d hate me for that, and probably wouldn’t even want me to go with him. But his mouth turned into a smirk, and he laughed out loud. It was the happiest I’d ever seen him. But he wasn’t anywhere near as happy as I was to see him so thrilled, and then I could feel the excitement rise up inside me that I was gong to Scotland with him. And somehow, it just felt right.
“We have to go see your father again before we leave,” he told me, like it was an order. He’s like that about my father. He keeps talking about him like he’s some big bank executive or shop owner. As if he’s someone important instead of a convict locked away for life.
[Note: I realize rereading the paragraph above that I didn’t tell you about David meeting my father. We went to Codlea together. I’d finally sent him an email telling him about David. I also told him about Drina passing. He didn’t know about her either. He is beginning to get the idea that he can’t keep up with me. Anyway, David and I went to see him. Couldn’t believe how happy he was that I have someone to take care of me. Made me mad that he didn’t believe I can take care of myself, but that’s a father for you. He and David talked most of the time, and just sat watching. Men.]
We cleaned up after dinner. It was getting late. After we’d washed the dishes and dried them, we put our arms around each other, still standing there in the kitchen next to the gas stove, and we just held each other for the longest time. Just being in each other’s arms in the flickering light of that one candle.
We had somehow gone beyond love. This was a quiet place that didn’t hurt anymore. Love hurts. This was a strange place without pain, desire, or craving each other. We were just together because we belonged together. It was just the way were were, the way we fit into the world. Instead of a boy and a girl in love, we were a couple. And right then I trusted him with my life, because he had given me his.
People talk about burning love and being soul mates, true love. This had nothing to do with that. I don’t hurt anymore. I don’t have anymore questions. It just happened inside me all at once, and it wasn’t a decision I made. I didn’t change. I didn’t even have to think about what to say, how to put it, if I should say it. The words just fell out on the table. It was something that happened to me, and I realized it had happened to David when we first met. That’s why everything was so easy for him. We’re just together now. No question.
I don’t feel like I’m leaving Romania. Before, I’d felt like I was giving it up, but now I feel like I’m just leaving for a while. I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I will. I’m not losing anything. I’m just stepping forward into my life.
I’ve not posted on my blog for quite a while. I just couldn’t face it. Whenever I started to write about it, I started crying so hard that I couldn’t finish. Drina has died. A month or so ago, after I went to her clan chief, the doctor came to see her, and after running some test, he diagnosed her with cancer. Just as David thought, she was very ill. It had spread throughout her body, so they could do nothing. I went to visit her, but she said, very pragmatically, that I should go. I was of no further use to her. She acted as if our relationship was purely a business one, and now that she was dying, we had nothing more to say to each other. For the first time, her clan of Roma gathered around her, stayed with her and took care of her. Since I have David with me all the time now, they wouldn’t have anything to do with me. I left, but returned a week later to learn that she’d already died, and that they’d buried her. So here I sit on this crate trying to come to terms with something I’ve never had to deal with before.
Drina has been like a mother to me. I guess she just felt like she was my boss, but I lived with her for two years. I slept in her wagon during all those months, what time I didn’t spend with Dragos. She was the only family I had, what with my father off in Codlea prison and my mother off in Edinburgh married to that new husband of hers.
This has put a special strain on my relationship with David. He’s been very supportive and takes care of me like he’s responsible for me. With Drina gone, I’ve started seeing our relationship in a new light. I don’t like the way I’m so dependent on him. He wants me to go back to Edinburgh with him. But I don’t want to leave with my father here in Codlea. I’d feel like I’d be abandoning him.
But the worst part of this is that I don’t know how much of the way I feel about him, and I do love him, is because I see him as a connection to my mother. I met him this past year when I was there visiting her. Now that I’ve lost Drina, I need my mother so much. I cry about her several times a day, Drina not my mother. And now this need to see my mother is all mixed up in my feelings for David and him living in Edinburgh and wanting me to go back there with him. And this is the really scary part. Just a couple of days ago, he said that we should start thinking about marriage. He didn’t propose because he knows how delicate and emotional my life is right now, and he doesn’t want to put me on the spot. He says this is a situation that we should work through together.
When he said the word “marriage” it sent so many feelings ricocheting through me that I don’t know how I will ever get them sorted out. He’s all tied up in my desire to be close to my mother. I do love him and can’t stand to be away from him, but I was on my own for almost four years, making my own way in the world, making my own decisions, only considering myself, and now I’m considering tying myself to another person, being responsible for and responsible to another person. And how much do I really know about him? How much does he really know about me? We’re so physical. We’re always together. He always has his arm around me, and I have my arm around him. It’s as if we’ve physically grown together. It’s just sickening. With Dragos, we just used each other’s bodies now and then. With David, it’s as if he’s the batteries that keep my life supplied with energy. I keep sucking my strength from him. He won’t go anywhere without me. He won’t even go on the Internet without me. How hopeless is that?
David does work. He’s always working this coding job for this software company back in Edinburgh. He says that they want him back there at the beginning of the new year. He wants us (everything’s always us) to spend Christmas with my father at the prison and leave from there for Edinburgh the next day. “No pressure,” he says. “Lots of time to think this through before we have to act.”
But I can tell how excited he gets when he thinks I might go with him. And I can feel the gloom descending over him when I say something against it.
I’m just like him. I can feel the thrill of being in Edinburgh with him. But it scares the shit out of me, and at the same time. And when I think about not going, think about seeing him off at the train station, my heart just stops, and I get such a painful feeling in my chest that I can’t bear. Love is such torture.
And what would I do in Edinburgh anyway? David says I can go to college. But I didn’t even finish school here in Romania. How could I go to university in Edinburgh? David says I can pass equivalency tests, take a few classes and pass equivalency tests, and be going to university in no time. And how will I pay for it? “We pay for it,” he says. “How will we pay for it?” He says that I can get a job. Me? A Romanian girl with no education and the only experience working for an old Gypsy fortuneteller?
And living in the same town with my mother wouldn’t be the best thing in the world. I’m drawn to her, but then she’s the one who ran off to Scottland. Granted, it was after I ran away from home, but she and I didn’t get along. David says that Edinburgh is a big city. I don’t have to see her. He says that she doesn’t even have to know that I’m living there. But how could I do that? She’s like a magnet that pulls all my electrical brain waves to her. And how about my little brother? How about that sleazy husband of hers? He’ll have both of them in jail.
So what about this vampire novel I’m writing? Of course, I could never expect to make any real money from sales once I finish it and it’s published. David says that most authors have a day job. I don’t believe I could live without writing. So here I’d be writing, working, and going to university. Plus, he’d be working and going to university. This is insane. All that and a new country with a different language, and different customs. How do I know that I’d even like living in Scotland after I’ve been there for a few months. Or a few year years? Could I get trapped there and never make it back to Romania?
“So yes,” David says, when I bring things like this up. “You can divorce me and go back to Romania.” He’s mad at me when he says things like that.
And I’m mad too. “You haven’t even asked me to marry you,” I say back.
“Would you say yes, if I asked?”
I just glare at him. I don’t have an answer. Life is just too complicated.
These past two years that I’ve been with Drina, I’ve slept on a backpacker’s mat, a thin air mattress. I’ve had an old cloth sleeping bag that I crawled into. My Roma picked this stuff up for me. In the summer, we frequently slept out in the open. Mosquitoes were sometimes a problem, and then I slept inside her wagon even in spite of the heat. I made my boyfriend then, Dragos, buy me some underclothes, and I wouldn’t let him get me those stupid thong panties either. The Roma girls sometimes wear them, but not me. I wear pants and a blouse. Some would wear men’s shirts, but I didn’t do that either. Drina had me wear a Gypsy dress when we worked together telling fortunes, but on the road, I liked to distinguish myself from my clan.
Now, since I’ve been with David, things have changed. I’m trending toward stylish things. And I hate it. I’ve never been one for heels, but now I like a little elevation. Not too much, but a little height seems to fit me. I have more confidence, and I like looking down on people. I think I’m going to be a horrible person when I grow up. And I am feeling grown up, or more so. I want to tell people what to do, and David is my quickest mark. And the sucker does it. Whatever I ask. I hate him for it. You know? I do it to make him mad, but he just won’t take the bait. What good is a relationship if you can’t fight a little? I certainly didn’t have this problem with Dragos.
I send my father emails at the prison. He always writes back. I don’t tell him everything. He doesn’t have much computer time, but eventually he always answers. I haven’t told him about David. I keep thinking maybe I should. I’ll write a little about David, and then I delete it. How can a girl tell her father that she’s in love? That’s just gross, and he doesn’t even know the guy. He’d want me to bring David to Codlea so he could meet him. What could be wrong with that? Well, somehow it seems to have implications.
I recently found that I needed a new group of vampires, vampire warriors to be exact, to make one part of my story work. I’m not completely sure how I found out that they existed, but this is what I remember of the process.
I had a scene where my heroine talks with her friends about a fight they are about to have with another group of vampires, one where a lot of them are going to die. I knew the fight would happen, but nothing I did made the way it was going to happen seem plausible. Plus I couldn’t make the scene as scary and dramatic as I knew it was. It was as if I hadn’t found the reality of the story yet. They were indoors, the sun had set, and it was raining outside, a real cloud burst. I knew they were afraid, but I didn’t know what of.
And then I heard a knock at the door, their door not mine. And then I knew who it was. It was help, only it wouldn’t be perceived as such at first, and it was first contact with a group of vampires called Silent Scythe. It took a lot of probing to learn that their name is Silent Scythe, but once I did, I realized that these are a secret society of vampires who patrol the edges of vampire existence policing and eliminating those who commit atrocities, either against other vampires or against the civilian population. They are neither police nor military, but they act somewhat like both.
I’ve created a website for Silent Scythe where I’ll be posting more information about the organization as I learn about it.
Vampires are immortal and really difficult to kill. Atrocities cannot go unpunished, and here we’re talking about the real extremes of bad behavior. Vampires are by their very nature not very good people. They are parasites. They feed off humans. So we’re talking extreme behavior patters that even vampires consider totally unacceptable. Silent Scythe eliminates them. They also confine some to fully understand who they are before they act, but generally they deal with only those where questions of guilt and whether they should be eliminated don’t arise. They don’t deal with borderline moral questions. They cull the worst of the worst. Plus, it’s not as if they aren’t already dead.
Anyway, this is the new group of vampires who come to my heroine. I also wondered why she hadn’t heard about them before, and then I realized that she had. She had stumbled onto two vampires having a conversation earlier on, but never found out who it was her friend was talking to. And I realized that that friend wasn’t who my heroin thought she was either. All very illuminating and exciting.
More and more I’m learning that writing fiction isn’t about making stuff up. It’s about discovery, allowing the story to spontaneously generate itself. Sure I plan ahead. I realize that the central conflict is what the story is about, but all I have to do is concentrate on it, hold it in my mind and watch the action take place. Discovery. It’s like walking into a dark room and bumping into things. You keep stumbling about, and pretty soon you know everything in there, including who might be hiding in a corner to jump you.
I wasn’t as close to being finished with my novel as I thought. Essentially, I have some missing scenes, and actually some missing characters. My David Kennedy, yes that’s his last name, Kennedy, has been asking questions about some scenes. They were obvious omissions, but somehow they’d escaped me. David is really good about not writing my novel for me. He just asks questions that any good reader would ask, and the deficiencies become obvious. Now I’m really excited about a couple of new scenes I get to write, scenes that will bring my characters together and provide insight into their natures, who they are together. This is so exciting.
On the home front. My father says he’s okay at Codlea, but I know that he must be hating himself for being back inside having once been out. Anyway, they have him on a work detail and he’s okay with that. The other thing is that now he actually has been assigned a lawyer that can sort through how he got released but was then re-incarcerated. He’s also been to see the brother of the man my father killed along with the sister, and it looks like they may be able to work out another release in the not too distant future. Still a few years, but not the decades he was in for before. They are also working with the prosecutor, the man who actually got my father convicted in the first place, and he seems to have changed his tune a little also.
Drina’s health is still failing. I worry about her. Yesterday, she didn’t need for me to work because she didn’t open her business. I asked her if I could do anything for her. If she needed anything. She had me go to the farmacie buy her some pain medication. She said she just wanted to sleep. I went to the voievod, the leader of her clan, and he said he would contact their doctor. They have one that comes around once every two weeks or so, but will come when needed.
David and I have started fighting. Yes, I knew it was going to happen, and I was dreading it, but now here it is. He does too much for me, and I find it condescending. I wanted to do the cooking last night, but he wanted to too. I told him no, that it was my turn. He said he had something special he wanted to fix for me, and I told him I didn’t want to eat it. We argued for a half hour. Finally, he looked at me and smiled.
“What’s that about?” I asked.
“We’re fighting,” he said.
“I know,” I said. “And now you’re laughing at me, and it’s horrible.”
“No! I’m laughing at us. We’re fighting, and I still love you,” he said.
“You’re being an asshole and a shithead.” I start the bad language thing when I get mad. I can’t help it.
“That’s not fair,” he said. “Name calling is off limits.”
“Then you’d have the advantage, cause that’s the way I express myself.”
“Okay, you can cook,” he said.
“But I don’t want to anymore. I might poison you.”
“I’ll watch you.” And the he took a step toward me. He was still smiling.
I felt so stupid, but I grabbed him and hugged him anyway.
One of my teachers the last year I went to school talked to us about different kinds of love. Parental love. Sexual love. Infatuation. But the one that impressed me the most was something she called unconditional love. She said that parents generally have it for their children. I think my father felt that way about me, but I’m not so sure about my mother anymore. My teacher also said that it can occur in relationships but that it generally takes years to fully develop. I’ve been wondering if that’s what’s happening to David and me. Or is it infatuation?
That night after we fought when we were in bed together, I asked David about it. If he thought that we could ever care for each other that way. He didn’t answer. He just held me close and buried his face in my hair. I’ve never had anyone hold me in their arms that long.
I’ve heard from other girls that talk like that too soon can end a relationship. I catch David watching me. And I watch him a lot when he’s not aware. I try to see him like he’s a wild animal just being his natural self. I wish I could have watched him before we came to know each other. Who is he? Why does a man from another country love me? Why am I so wrapped up in him?
Yes, I’ve been away for a long while, but now I’m back and with a lot of news. First, my father is still in Codlea Prison. He sends me an email every evening. He’s quite proficient now with a computer, but he still writes mostly about the crops he’s caring for. They’ve had fruit and vegetables all summer, and the field crops are ready for the harvest. They send most of it out for sale to the local community, but much of it is consumed there at the prison.
Now for the real news. David from Edinburgh has been here with me for the past month. I told him not to come, but he did anyway. When he first arrived, I didn’t know what to think of him. He was a stranger. After all, we’d only known each other for a couple of days while I was in Edinburgh visiting my mother. Yes, we’d exchanged emails and chatted from time to time, but someone staring you in the face is so totally different. But then we started warming toward each other and got cuddly a lot sooner than I expected.
I still spend several hours a day with Drina, but most of my time is spent with David. He’s rented a small flat in a small community here in the Carpathian Mountains, exactly where I can’t say because of my own situation with the authorities and also because my band of Roma have become increasingly suspicious of what is said about them online.
David and I spend most of our time translating and editing my vampire novel. I tell you, it’s like we’re married. I go off to work during the day and come home to him in the evenings, and he has a home-cooked meal ready for me. The guy is a saint. He’s reworked most of Dragos’ translation to make it sound more European. I don’t expect large sales, but I do want it to have a proper translation. David also talks to me about vampire mythology. The backstory is at least as important as the novel. We’re also working a revision of my short stories. Most of the mythology shows up in them. I’m also writing a new short story now and then. David and I have fallen into my vampire world, and it seems more real than do our own lives. We talk of my characters all the time, and when we’re out and about, we talk about which of my characters would like this or that, and how they would deal with simple life situations. We even took a trip up to Sinaia and walked the streets my characters walk. I’d already been to them on Google Maps Street View, but being there still made a big impression.
And, yes, I’m in love with David. I have difficulty dragging myself away from him in the mornings, and I’m so anxious to get back home to him in the evenings that I’m just his pitiful little puppy. I can’t help myself. On days I don’t have to work, we lounge around in bed for much of the day talking of books we’ve read or searching the internet together. We both have laptops, so we sit shoulder-to-shoulder and do our own thing but keep a close eye on what the other is doing. We read all the time we’re not writing. Mostly we pull books off Gutenberg, or we pull free books off Smashwords or some other website that has free books from self-published authors. We stay away from anything about vampires because we don’t want to contaminate my vampire world with ideas from other authors.
I’ve never known anyone who laughs as much as David. Everything is a joke to him, except that at the same time, he’s deadly serious. He says that life is much too important to take seriously. I worry all the time about what I’m going to do when he leaves. I cling to him like a lost puppy. He’s threatening not to return to Edinburgh for his classes this fall. Or at least he was threatening. He actually did it. He’s here until Christmas now.
You’d think it’d make me happy with him staying, and I couldn’t bear to see him go, but when he said he was staying, I cried for an hour. Cried with my arms around his neck like a leach, clinging to him with a deathgrip. I’m not sure what was wrong with me, but I believe it was because my life is so wrapped up in him now that I can’t even begin to understand what I’ll be like by Christmas. I’ve never felt so vulnerable. I could make it again in the world without him, but my heart has given itself up to him to such an extent that I don’t know who’d I’d be without him anymore.
The really scary thing is that he says he feels the same way about me. He says that, “It’s just you and me against the world, Babe.” It breaks my heart every time he says it because it’s so true. I’m wrapped up in his arms all night long or cuddled up against him. I have to be touching his him or him me every minute or I can’t bear it. It’s just disgusting, but that’s just the way it is.
Drina doesn’t much care for David, or at least she says she doesn’t, but David likes her a lot. He makes her laugh, and it’s like she hates him for it. Drina has never been much on laughing, and it’s like it cracks her soul and bleeds every time he makes her laugh. The other thing she doesn’t like is that he helps her. Sometimes he’ll go to work with me, and he pesters her nonstop. He’s always helping her, and having ideas for how he can setup her carriage so she can get around better with her bad leg. David worries about her. Says she’s not as well as she should be. I’ve never taken that much notice of her overall health. She’s like a force of nature, but I can see that he’s right. He’s got me worrying about her too. The main thing Drina doesn’t like about David is that he takes me away from her. I don’t spend nights with her anymore, and she’s lonely. She won’t say it, but she is. She’s afraid he’s going to take me away, far away back to Edinburgh with him. I break out in a cold sweat when she says that. I don’t know how much longer I can stand all this happiness. Love, a place to stay, food on the table. What’s life about when you don’t have to struggle?
The thing that allowed David to come to Romania and stay a while is that he has a job writing computer code for a software company in Edinburgh. They send him specifications, he writes the code and sends it too them. They check it out, troubleshoot it, and then they send him another project. He’s on conference calls with them online constantly. He makes amazing money doing that. He’s a natural coder, taught himself through free online classes and a couple courses he took at the University of Edinburgh. He’s even got me coding a little. Everything seems to come so easy with him, and yet he says that he’s not that smart. Sometimes I just sit and stare at him while he’s working. He’s so focused. He drops into his coding world, and as long as I’m cuddled up against him, he can go at it for hours. He loses concentration if I’m not close. We’re a couple of strange people. Like I said, it’s disgusting.
So where am I with Carpathian Vampire? I was away from it for a while, which was good because it gave me a little perspective. I’m striving for consistency and fleshing out some scenes a little. I have more problems toward the end because they’ve not seen much revision. I’ve hacked away at the first chapters ever since I wrote them. I’m always coming up with things people say at certain times and finding better ways to stage a scene. Still, I’ve got to quit dorking with it, or I’ll never finish.
I hear Dragos has gone back to his old girlfriend. Good for him. He had a confrontation with David when he first arrived, and I had to separate them. I don’t need another man or two in my life behind bars. David could get deported. I believe we’re all cool now.
Gail back in Edinburgh says that my mother is having problems with her new husband. Seems they’ve been having legal problems. He’s been arrested a couple of times, but always manages to make bail. My mother can sure pick em.
So….. they did take Papa back to Codlea Prison. He sent me an email telling me not to divulge my location because he’d heard they were looking for me too, some sort of an accessory thing. I’m wondering if he’s told me the whole story. What’s he done now?
As luck would have it, the Roma are on the road again, so I feel somewhat safe. It’s been raining off and on, and that’s the pits when traveling. At least the weather fits my mood. Drina is being nicer than usual. Guess she figures I’m with her for good. She’s been sick lately anyway. She’s particularly good at telling fortunes when she’s sick, something about the mind stepping aside and letting the future filter through.
David has written again. Still thinking of coming to see me. I keep telling him. You’d think he’d never kissed a girl before. He wants to read the rest of Carpathian Vampire now that I’ve finished it. I keep saying that it’s just a rough draft. And I keep thinking of Edinburgh. I’m missing my mother now that my father’s back in prison.
Yes, it’s been a while since my last post, but several things have happened. First the bad news. My father found a part-time job. Well, that’s not the bad part. It was a good job in an office, something a little different for him, and he was really excited about it. But then two days ago, the police came to see him. The brother of the man he killed had been to see them over Papa being released and claimed that his sister, who had testified for my father to get him released, was mentally incompetent. Apparently she had had some problems a few years ago and been institutionalized for a short while. Anyway, it was enough for them to come get Papa and put him behind bars again. For now, he’s still in Bucharest, but there’s talk of shipping him off to Codlea. Codlea doesn’t want him because they have too many prisoners anyway, so Papa’s staying upbeat. He told me even if they do send him back, it won’t be so bad. He’d missed the gardening he did while in there before, and it’s planting season right now. He sounded convincing, but I know he’s brokenhearted. I cried all night when I found out, and I hated my mother for being off in Scotland with a new husband and not here to help him. I got a lot of sympathy from the Roma, particularly Drina. The Roma, they know about the police and prison thing.
Time for feeling good, but still no time for celebration, not yet. I finally finished the first draft of Carpathian Vampire. Yea!! It ended much differently than I thought because I realized that the last two chapters are actually the first two chapters of Volume Two. I have been through the novel again editing it on my computer, but then, on the advice of my publisher, I printed it out, and now I’m going through it again, ink pen in hand. Amazing how different editing on paper is as opposed to editing on a computer screen. Now I’m bogged down in a couple of areas that don’t seem quite right. Have some work to do. I had to get over the “this is all crap” syndrome, but my publisher had warned me about that. I haven’t plotted Volume Two yet. I just have a good beginning with ominous implications, but no ideas where it’s going. I have inklings of my character’s future from the short stories I published in Tales of the Carpathian Vampire, but it’ll just have to ferment so that I can find where it wants to go. And it does seem to have a direction of its own. That’s the way with this story, it seems to have a life of its own, and I just have to search to find it. It’s not as if I have to make it up. I hate to see trauma in my characters’ lives, but it’s their story, I’m just telling it.
I took my last few chapters to Dragos, my translator, and he’s all pissed off about me writing in English now. He says it works best when I write in Romanian and let him worry the English, that my sentences are more complex, but I’m developing my own preferences for the way to say things. It was David in Edinburgh who gave me the confidence. I spent a couple of nights with Dragos while we worked on the translation, but I can feel us growing apart. He’s still jealous of David and has a tendency to sulk. Get over it, I tell him.
I have been communicating with David a little more. He’s thinking of coming to see me, but I keep telling him that he doesn’t know what he’s up against. It’s not as if I have my own home and car or anything. He keeps saying that he’s self-sufficient. Men. What they won’t do to see a girl.
Spring is here, summer is coming, and the Roma are on the move. We’re packing up and getting ready to leave this communal house we’ve been wintering in here in Bucharest. Can’t happen soon enough for me. Landlord’s complaining about more people here than he rented to, so he wants us all out. I’ve been trying to talk them into going north to Sinaia where Carpathian Vampire is set. Would be nice to see the place again. Might lose a little of its mystique though. Lots of tourists for the Roma to scrounge for coins, maybe a little folding money, and whatever else might find its way into their possession. I could use a new computer.
Always have Papa in the back of my mind. And here I am feeling like a fugitive again myself.
Yes, I’ve had difficulty writing lately. My father being released from prison has sent me for a loop, like I’m in downtown Sinaia and can’t get off the circle. It’s changed my emotional landscape from feeling free to again feeling dependent and guilty about not being with him. He writes me an email every evening, and I answer. I feel guilty for living with the Roma now. I never felt that before because it was my life, and I could do whatever I wanted with it.
I’ve finished another chapter of Carpathian Vampire. I’m going to have a couple more chapters than I thought, not because I’ve added anything, but because some scenes have become chapters themselves. I’ll have 42 chapters, maybe more. I may actually split some of my earlier chapters into two. I’ve tried to maintain chapters because of my game plan, but I feel that I can only go so far in trying to maintain the structure I initially intended. The story has to be what it is, eventually. And now that I’m getting close to the end, it’s having its way with me. So be it.
I’ve seen Dragos again. Gave him the new chapter for translation, although to be honest, I’ve come to trust my English a lot more than I could in the past, and I don’t trust him as much. My little trip to Edinburgh lit a fire under me about English, and now I have more confidence in it. I’ve started arguing with Dragos about phrasing. It’s funny the way we argue. It’s as if we’re an old married couple growing tired of each other. I still enjoy being with him, and he’s seriously jealous about David. But this loss of freedom thing has started to weigh on me, and caused me to feel remote from Dragos and my novel.
I’m having difficulty getting into my novel the way I used to. For a while, I thought I was losing interest in it, but now I really believe sharing it with Gail and David has partially taken my story out of the fictional world. Sharing it with them, I can feel their intrusion. David has asked to see more, and I don’t want to show it to him. I know he reads post here on this blog, so perhaps he’ll understand. Perhaps when I’m finished. This is my story, and I don’t want anyone to get their hands on it until I’m finished. Everyone has an opinion. I want my vampire girl all to myself. I’m practically lez for her, I love her so much. Dragos has never been interested in my novel. He translates but doesn’t try to tell me where to take the story. He has no interest in my characters. That’s the way it’s always been.
My father doesn’t have a job yet. He’s staying with friends that he used to work with. He worries about me. Family is so sticky. Except for my mother. I ask Gail about her now and then, but she works all the time. Little Roger is growing and doing cute things, and I miss seeing him. Funny how little people get under your skin. He’s really sticky. I remember his little kisses.
I’ve been listening to this new music that’s sweeping Europe now, a girl named Lana Del Rey. She kicked Adele out of number one while I was there in Edinburgh. I can’t get her music out of my head. Some of her lyrics scare me though, “We were born to die.” Some of the relationships she talks about remind me of mine. She’s reading my heart.
I have a Facebook page, but Roma are funny about pictures, or can be. Particularly Drina. I feel like that too. I want to be incognito. Twitter is also a little touchy for me. You talk to people, and then you have a connection. Even on twitter, I’m always looking for ways to disconnect.
Now back to my next chapter.
It’s been a while since I posted, again. I’ve not been feeling right since I got back from Edinburgh. So much has happened that I don’t know if I can remember everything, much less tell it. That and I’ve been worried about my father. I’ve not been writing either. My novel is suffering something terrible. But now things have changed, and I’m not sure if for the better or worse. My father is out of prison. I’d given him my email address when I saw him last, never suspecting he’d use it because he can’t, or couldn’t, use a computer, but he found someone there at the prison who emailed me that he’d be getting out. The pastor and nun had a big impact on my father’s prison term, probably more the nun than the pastor. She went to the prison in Codlea took the sister of the man my father killed with her. The authorities were looking for any excuse possible to let people out of prison because it costs a lot of money to keep someone behind bars. He’s been paroled. His murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter, and his prison term reduced to time served, so now he’s a free man. It just doesn’t seem possible.
Is it wrong to fear your own father? I’ve been on my own for several years now, and the thought of being back with him sounded amazingly good, but the actuality of it is frightening.
I worry about losing my freedom.
I met Papa at the train station. My Roma clan goes there almost every day, so I didn’t have any trouble getting there. I was so excited, I didn’t know what to do. Roma spend a lot of time at train stations, so I knew my way around. I couldn’t wait to see him, all free in the outside world. I had visions of our family being together, of Mama coming back home, and somehow it just being the three of us, as it used to be. I knew that wasn’t a possibility, at least I knew it somewhere deep inside, but I had my fantasies.
And then he stepped off the train. He was dressed in nice street clothes, cheap suit and tie, but they’d set him up for the outside world. When he saw me, he smiled through sadness. And my dreams of us being together, of us being a family shattered like was seeing him through a glass window. The illusion vanished. He hugged me and we cried together for a while. He wanted us to get a taxi and go to a place where we could rent an apartment, but I took him into the coffee shop, and we set down opposite each other. And then I told him what had to be. I told him about Mama being off in Edinburgh, her new husband and baby. I could see the devastation start to sink in, and then I wondered if I should have waited to tell him. But I realized that I had to start this off based on reality, not the illusion of what we wanted it to be. I’d learned a lot about people and the ways of the world in the years since he went off to prison and I ran away away from my mother. He said that he’d suspected something like that had happened because when she quit writing. He’d told her to find someone else, that he’d messed up his life, and that she should find another one for herself. Life takes a turn, and there’s no going back, he said.
He hated it when I told him that I was staying with the Roma, and that I knew how to make my way in the world, and that he didn’t need me to be hanging around his neck like an albatross. I told him that he’d be free to make his own way without worrying about me. Perhaps later, after he had a job and a place to live, we could talk the situation over again.
I felt that I should do more for him. I’d planned to. I had all these plans about me searching the internet and finding a job for him, but as soon as I saw him, I realized he was a man far beyond my puny teenage capabilities. My Papa is not an idiot. He’d always provided for us, and he’d even made it in prison. Never in any trouble. Before we parted, he told me that he had to get me away from those Roma. Sit tight, ChaCha, he said. I’ll come for you when I get established. I wrote down my email address for him. He’d learned a lot about the internet in prison since I saw him not long ago, and he gave me his new email address. But he had friends that he’d already contacted, and he had a place to stay that night. It wasn’t such a sad goodbye. We’d be in constant contact.
When I got back to the Roma, Drina was shocked to see me. First I’d ever seen her smile.
“You back to stay, girl?” she asked.
“For a while,” I told her.
“Humph,” she said.
I’m the most reliable person she’s ever had stay with her, regardless of my excursions with Dragos. That’d be another thing if I stayed with Papa. No more Dragos. Didn’t even tell him.
Which reminds me. I’d not been writing with all this going on. Plus, I was sick for a while, but now I’m back. I’m on Chapter 34. It’s going slow. I’ve had to backtrack to clear up some inconsistencies in the storyline, but I’m charging ahead. My vampires are quite different from what anyone has read about before. Immortal and one of them partially divine, it’s really a mess to get worked out. I’ve just got to get this rough draft all down in my computer, and then I can start polishing it. I have this vampire dreamscape I’m dealing with. Didn’t realize how much trouble I was creating when I envisioned what went on inside the psyche of a vampire and how it might be different from that of a human. I get these visions of what it’s like for them. Don’t know where that’s coming from, but it’s become more interesting than I though it would. Working a lot with the vampire soul and what happens to it, and how it’s different for my protagonist because my little girl vampire is different from all the others. She has a touch of the divine. A divine vampire. Now that’s an oxymoron if there ever was one. I have this vampire story cooking all the time in the back of my mind no matter what I do. Particularly at night, I fantasize my story before I go to sleep and if I wake during the night. That’s where I get my real creativity, at night. It’s as if I’m part vampire. Plus, how can I know so much about a fantasy world? It seems more than made up, as if it’s always existed, and I just discovered it. At times it seems more real than the real world.
Anyway, I’ve gotten a lot of the real world worries behind me now, and I’m back to writing. Hopefully I can finish this rough draft and get started editing. I’m hoping to be at the end of the story in another two months. Only have six chapters to go.
Stay with me. I can’t wait for all of you to read it.
When I got back from Edinburgh, I talked to one of the boys who knows how to drive into taking me to a church here in Bucharest. The sister of the man my father killed goes there. I told the Roma boy not to wait on me. I waited out front in the snow until the congregation let out, and there she was coming out the church door. When she stopped to greet the pastor, I confronted her.
“Why are you here?” she asked.
“You know why,” I said. “My father.” I said that right in front of the pastor. She walked off and wouldn’t talk to me, but then I talked to her pastor. I told him that she lied at my father’s trial. “She’s in your congregation, and she lied and sent an innocent man to prison for life. Her lie is now your problem too.”
“No, it’s not,” he said.
“You’re in charge of her soul. That makes her your problem.”
Can’t say he liked it much, but he got in his car and went to talk to the woman. I waited four hours for him. I stood in the snow for two hours, and then a nun come out and asked me if I’d like some tea, so I went inside. She took me into a back room. The sound of a church with no one in it is so quiet. I felt like falling on my knees right there and asking God to help my father. The nun had a hotplate and some tea bags. A little goat milk. She received a call from the pastor, and he told her about me is the reason she brought me inside. I told her that the woman had lied abut my father. “Killing a man is a bad thing, even if it’s a accident,” she said. I started crying. I don’t cry a lot these days, but my mother is gone. I know I shouldn’t have run away from home, but I was mad at the world. Four years is a long time to be mad. But visiting my father in Codlea Prison, and then seeing how my mother had abandoned him changed me. It just hurt a lot seeing my mother with a new life and a new family. After the nun and I talked a while, then she gave me a book to reed. She said she had to fill out a financial report.
Finally the priest returned. He asked me if I had seen what happened. I said no, but my father’s not a liar. As a matter of fact he’s probably too honest. He knew he was as much to blame as the other man. What I heard was that the other man tried to use a shovel on my father, but my father took it away from him, but the man wouldn’t leave him alone. My father hit him with it. He felt bad about it, but there was nothing he could do.
The priest didn’t seem very impressed with my story. He said he’d s talk to the woman again. I told the priest that life is a long time to spend in prison for an accident.
The nun drove me to the Roma camp. She asked me why I stayed with a Godless people.
I told her because no Christians would take me, and I had to live somehow. We’d come to Bucharest a couple of years before from a town in the northeast corner of Romania. I hadn’t seen any of our family in years. Many of them had been killed under Communism. Wiped out almost our entire village.
It was getting dark when I arrived back at the house. Drina wouldn’t speak to me for a few minutes. I believe she doesn’t much want my father out of jail because that would mean that I’d leave her, and she’d have to find help somewhere else. I don’t hold out hope for anything happening. I just write my vampire novel, and let the world keep turning. I care more about my main character than I do about my own life. She’s a sweet innocent girl who has a lot on her plate too. I’m well into Chapter 34.
Sorry again for the long delay in posting. I’ve been a little depressed, and it’s hard for me to write anything in that state of mind.
On the train back from Edinburgh, I could feel myself changing. Perhaps I had changed while there and just noticed the difference as I got closer to home. I’m less attached to life in Romania. I feel more of an outsider here with the Roma. As expected, Drina was angry with me for being a few days late in returning, but then she was mad about me going in the first place. She needs me, my help with so many things, and my being gone so long cost her money that she’s going to withhold from the little she gives me in addition to my food and sleeping space.
My father is even more of a concern. I think of him all the time now. It’s been snowing here and really cold. This is not good. We’ve “rented” a large home on the outskirts of Bucharest. Five families live in it. The home must have been abandoned before we moved in. Really poor heating, but at least we have a little. The snow would be beautiful, if we weren’t so cold.
Most of the Roma speak a little English. Since returning from Edinburgh, I won’t speak anything else. I’m converting my identity. I no longer want to be Romanian. I make the Roma talk to me in English. Drina speaks English like an English woman, but she doesn’t like to speak it. Sometimes she won’t answer my English questions even in Roma, if I don’t speak in Roma.
These are the lean months for the Roma, at least for our little band. Not so many tourists outside of the ski resorts. And we’re not going there. They turn to stealing. For food they they get old discards from markets. The merchants know how desperate they are and try to sell it to them at high prices. We know one merchant who sets our his produce for us for free. There are a few good people in the world.
My concentration on English has improved my writing, even in this short time. I’ve always written in a combination of English and Romanian, but now I write just in English. Came back with a couple of English composition books Gail gave me. I have some questions when I next see Dragos. I’ve seen him a couple of times already since I’ve been back, but just overnight. He’s not too pleased with me. He was a little jealous of David in Edinburgh.
I finished some more chapters for my vampire novel. I’m on Chapter 32 now. Eight more to go. I wrote them all in English. Dragos was a little disappointed, I believe. “What do you need me for,” he asked. He’s not been possessive until now. He’s had some tough times too. I’ve patterned my character Mikhail after him. Except that I’m in love with my character and not Dragos. Mikhail is Russian. Dragos will never forgive me for saying that, but he knows it’s the truth. I believe Dragos has had another girlfriend besides me, and I think maybe she ran out on him. I think he really loved her, and now he’s afraid he’s going to lose me too. He won’t talk about it. Men are so funny.
I hear from Gail all the time now. She keeps me up to date on my mother, more than I’d like even. Hope she doesn’t read this. As David said, it’s the post-modern world. Or perhaps the post-post-modern world. David is ever on my mind.
So much for Christmas. I got a few presents, some badly needed clothes, and got eyed all over by my mother’s husband, again. My mother said goodbye to me on the front porch, didn’t even walk me to the car, and had Gail take me to the train station. So Gail and I didn’t go to the train station. She took me to her family home where she stays with her mother, father, and five brothers and sisters. She has her own bedroom but usually sleeps with one of her sisters, has a big double bed. So I slept with her. Made for an interesting night. Mostly we talked and read to each other. She told me about an idea she has for a novel, and we talked about how to plot it. She’s a lot smarter than I thought. Catches on really quick. She’s read a lot more than I have, mostly trashy romances, but I got her interested in serious literature, if you can call anything about vampires and the paranormal serious. Still, I believe you can put some pretty heavy ideas in any novel regardless of the genre.
Gail took me to the city underneath Edinburgh. The biggest part is gated, locked and off limits without a guide. We went to a place that’s not so well known. We got two boys she knows to go with us. Not a safe place for two girls alone. Mostly just a bunch of tunnels. Hardly enough room to turn around in. Dark is the word. Lots of homeless people. Talk about Roma smelling bad. And sick people, although it wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be. Some really scary places. Tunnels that just go off in the dark into nowhere. No one seems to know how big the subterranean city is. No longer inhabited, but you can tell that at one time it flourished.
The guys who took us were really nice about it. Gail didn’t say we’d be with them, you know, like on a date, but we were. The big one was sweet on her. And the little guy, named David, stuck close to me. He was a nice kid but didn’t say much. When we went up one of the tunnels and into the dark, I moved in close to David, and he put his arm around me. We talked and chuckled together. Gail turned out her cellphone light, so we could listen to the sounds of the dark, and I let David kiss me. Encouraged him a little. Oh, to be hugged again! On the way out, we stayed cuddled.
I stayed a couple more days. Drina is not going to be happy with me. I feel bad about that. She needs my help. But David was after me. He takes classes at the University of Edinburgh. He grades weren’t enough to get him admitted, but he can still take classes and hopes to get admitted for the fall. He took me for a walk around the University. He’s into science stuff and maths. That would be the life. I could never go there, but my little vampire character could. I was thinking of sending her to Oxford, but Edinburgh is much more interesting. David told me that that’s where Lord Byron’s physician went. His name was Polidori and he wrote the first vampire novel, short story really. I’ve never met anyone as polite and considerate as David. Dragos takes anything he wants, and David is always careful to not touch me anywhere private. It’s like Madonna said. I feel like a virgin when I’m around David. If he only knew, that’d be the end of that.
Before I left, Gail suggested that I stay and we get an apartment together. We can both find jobs, she said. We could write novels and chase boys. That almost took my my breath away. But in the end, I couldn’t bear leaving my father in Codlea prison and me not somewhere in Romania. So I’m on the train back home, and I miss Gail, but I really miss David. I used to think that I was in love with Dragos, and I don’t know that I’m in love with David, but when I leave Dragos, I don’t think a lot about him, just getting away from the Roma for a while with him.
The morning after we descended into the underground city, David called. Gail and I had planned an afternoon of shopping, window shopping for me, to see some of the sights of Edinburgh. I had in the back of my mind that I was only a few miles from my mother, and that I wasn’t with her. Sad. But then David called, and he wanted to show me something.
Gail said, “Go. He’s a nice boy. You need this.”
So I went with David, last name Kennedy, and he took me for a walk about the campus of the University of Edinburgh. He showed me his classrooms where he has some form of advanced maths that I know nothing about, and another where he has a class in quantum physics. He’s such a normal boy, and he’s no Einstein. He struggles, he says, but he makes it. He has to work to pay the bills, so he only goes part time. Turns out, he took the afternoon off work these last two days to be with me. Just an hour the first day, but a whole afternoon the second. Classes were out for the holidays, and the University was shutdown, but still a lot of students milling about. He told me about his work, just a small engineering firm where he does some filing and light computer work. The day before, I’d told him that I was writing a novel, and was a little ashamed that it was about vampires, but smiled and was interested. I told him about my Carpathian Vampire web blog, and over night, he’d gone there. He said that I have something different, that there’s something different about me. He said that it has to do with the quality of my ideas. That’s why he wanted to be with me. I’d thought he’d take me somewhere where we’d smooch a little and then he’d try to get into my pants, but he just wanted to be with me. He’d been to this blog also, of course, and read about my family, and even Dragos, which was really embarrassing. He said I should think about college, to not sell myself short. He told me about some literature classes he’d taken, and that he writes some too, but he doesn’t have the courage to post it online. He’s read the poetry of TS Eliot, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, Lord Byron.
David has never traveled. He asked me about Romania, as if it was an important place. He wanted to know more about the Roma. He even asked about my father. I don’t know what to think about him anymore. Seems that I fell into a world that wants me to be a part of it, a world I can’t have.
When I got back, Gail asked me what happened. “You look pale as a ghost,” she said.
And now I’m on the train back to Romania and my little band of Roma. Dragos will see this that I’ve posted, and he’ll have questions too, although he never asks me about other guys. My life is so scattered. I’m a mess. I told David that it was weird, him reading about me online and me posting about us. He mentioned something about the post-modern world, about us watching ourselves as we live our lives. We are the first generation to be in this position. He asked me why I don’t have a Facebook page. I can’t get David out of my mind. Bashful and sweet. Who would have thought I’d go for that? He came to the train station to see me off. Can you imagine? I told him to come see me in Romania. He smiled really big and laughed out loud. Brought tears to my eyes.
I’m asked sometimes why I don’t put pictures on my blog. And I realize after talking to David Kennedy that I’m only interested in the narrative of my life. It seems to exist somewhere in the mythical world. To provide pictures would bring it out of that world into the real world, and I don’t want that. My life is a myth, and in a sense, it exists only in cyberspace. Somehow, it’s more real there and only in narrative form. My life exists only in my words about it. No. No pictures. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, words that are out of control. Who is Luminita Laura? She’s a young woman novelist who only exists within her own words in cyberspace.
Sitting here on the train to nowhere, I got to thinking. My mother didn’t give me her email address.
Well, seems that I don’t post very often. Doesn’t mean that my life’s been boring. Got a little money from my estranged mother. Can’t say she was overly generous, not from the way she talks about her rich husband. But it was enough for the night train to see her for Christmas. A night train, a day train, and another night train. I hate going to the toilette in public utilities. Not that living with the Roma is any toilette picnic either when you we’re on the road so much. My clothes make me look like a Roma, which made for some unhappy travel experiences while in still in Romania. Living with them has also given me a bit of an attitude about people. Doesn’t bother me much when adults look away from me and don’t want me sitting next to them, but it does hurt when little kids make fun of me. People were nicer when I got into Germany and France. I wanted to stay in Paris. Just had a couple of hours between trains, but those people. I speak a little French, and the young men there are not shy. Got a chance to see the Louvre. Couldn’t afford to go inside, but got to see the glass pyramid out front and people watch. Lots of tourists, even this close to Christmas.
Cold crossing the English Channel. Can’t say I liked being on a ferry much. Just a little seasick, but enough to make me feel bad all day.
London was dreary, but what a joy to speak English with people who really know how to use it. English is such an impossible language. I hated it when I first had to take it in school. Eight years old, I was. But I later learned to love it, particularly when I got to read Shakespeare in the original. Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore art thou Romeo? I have an old paperback that I carry in my purse always. I’m still bashful about my English, no one seems to mind.
But here’s the problem with English, and I’d never have known if I hadn’t taken a trip. It’s like a different language in every country that speaks it. Met a couple of American men on the boat over, and it took a while for me to realize they were speaking English. Strangest thing. I’ve never cared much for American men, but they do love to flirt.
And then there’s the Scotish. Like I said, a different language.
My mother met me at the station. I don’t know how to say this. I wanted to be sophisticated and standoffish, but my arms had a completely different plan. They grabbed her without me know what they were going to do. I couldn’t get them to turn loose of her. My god, the woman is still young and attractive. Nice clothes and a little tasteful jewelry. A diamond ring that made my heart stop. And my little brother, half0brother, yes, but still my brother. He likes to give kisses. Quick blue eyes, and a smile that breaks my heart. Mother gave him to me like he was my job now. He’s still in diapers but runs around like he owns the place.
I don’t know what to call the man she’s living with. She didn’t want to talk about it, but I’m not as dumb as she think. They are married. I got to thinking. In a foreign country with my father in prison back in Romania, I’m fairly certain she’s managed a divorce somehow. They’re married, I just know it. She put me downstairs with the servant girl. Hurt my feelings a little, but it’s nice to sleep in a proper bed for a change. And a hot shower. I love the feel of hot steam in a bathroom. She dressed me out in some jeans that are a little too tight, but she smiled when she saw me in them. Been a while since I was out of a skirt. That’s all I wear with the Roma, skirts and petticoats. Roman are really into underclothes., even if they don’t get washed a lot. Anyway, tight jeans and a white blouse without a bra.
That evening I got to meet her husband. What else can I call him? A big bear of a man, a little gruff. Won’t look at me direct either. Always looking at the wrong part of my body too, I tell you. Smiles too easy for me to like him a lot.
Everything’s Christmas in Edinburgh. Love Christmas carols. Gail is the servant girl. I spent a lot of time with her. She’s kind of pretty, actually. Brown hair that she keeps in a bun in back, quick brown eyes. She’s a little chubby, but in a good way. Ted, my mother’s husband, cant keep his eyes off her. Mother had me help her fix dinner and do the dishes afterward. I’m learning my way around the house. Not that it’ll do me much good. I’m on my way back home the day after Christmas. Mother, Ted and Little Roger will be off to the south of France for the few days he has off work. He’s in shipping, somehow. Whatever that means. He’s a big burly man with a short black beard and heavy eyebrows. He’s not from Edinburgh either, but a little town up north in the Scottish highlands. Came into his money through hard work and a little blind luck. Sounds like drug money, if you ask me.
But here’s the exciting thing. I’m considering setting the second volume of Carpathian Vampire here in Edinbourgh. Gail, the servant girl, tells me that Edinburgh has an underground city complete with ghosts, werewolves and vampires. Actually has shops and businesses underground in an old city that has been forgotten. Most people who live here don’t even know about it. But Gail is really into that sort of thing. I told her that I’m writing a novel, and she got really excited. Wants me to tell her how to do it. She’s a big reader, lots of trashy stuff, but when I told her that I’m writing a vampire novel, she just the threw a fit. I tell you, the girl is incorrigible. She has a desktop computer that’s she’s on every spare minute. She’s a couple of years older than me but seems a lot younger.
I’m not getting to spend as much time with mother as I hoped. She’s busy with her work also. She does some work on the computer that she wouldn’t talk much about, and then she has to leave for a while to take care of things that she won’t talk about either. I’ve been here a couple of days, and yes it’s nice to see my mother and take care of little Roger, but I didn’t come here to be one of the help.
So where am I with Carpathian Vampire? Well, I’ve been working on all the last fifteen chapters. I have a lot of Chapter 26 written. But I’m having trouble working on a continuous narrative. I write scenes, and I write descriptions of narrative, but the actual narrative has eluded me. Just bits and pieces. The story is getting really complicated, much more so than I ever planned, and I have to work out all the details of this vampire world before I can finalize the narrative. Still, it’s exciting and I’m enjoying writing it. Just takes a while. In the meantime, I’m trying to enjoy Edinburgh, and seeing my mother and little Roger.
My mother had me when she was not yet twenty, much the same age I am now. I guess the way to say this is that she’s not yet forty and he’s not yet sixty. A little age difference, but then he’s well established professionally, and it looks good to have a young wife. If you ask me, she’s keeping pregnant to make sure he keeps her around. She let it slip that she’s pregnant again, so I’m going to have another sibling. I just keep thinking about my father off in Codlea Prison. “Don’t talk to me about him,” is the way she put it. Wouldn’t even call him by his name or mention him being my father. They never fought, don’t even remember them ever having an argument, so it’s difficult seeing her pushing back so hard. And here she is now with another man with a shady background in business. Well, birds of a feather. Guess she finds the same flock no matter where she goes.
“Think clothes,” is what I told Mother about Christmas presents. I have lots of Roma stuff, but I could use a few things when I run off from time to time with my little translator boyfriend. “Think underclothes too,” I told her. I might as well come away from here with something useful. The closer it gets to Christmas the more the carols sound sad.
I’m getting Gail to help me pick out a Christmas present for my mother. And then here’s her husband, and little Roger. I don’t know anything about my mother any more. What does it mean when your mother no longer has the same name you do? How can your mother not have your last name?
My problem with my vampire novel is that I have to create the vampire world. In my novel, the vampire world and the world of humans are quite distinctly different. My vampires have their own culture and the own history or mythology, if you prefer, that stretches back to primordial times. Not only do they have a culture separate from mankind’s, but they also have a psychic life that is more vibrant and important to them than is mankind’s. I have to build this modern day culture and also the mythology at the same time I’m wiring the story. This has slowed me considerably. I’ve been writing most of the time on the train coming to Edinburgh. What time I wasn’t flirting with boys. But older men like to flirt more than do young men. I’m thinking that young men don’t have the courage and know-how that older gentlemen do.
The one thing that writing this has made me think more about than I ever have is religion. Growing up an only child and going to church with my parents, I noticed that they didn’t seem to take it very serious. They said a lot of things in church that didn’t make much sense to me, but since I’ve been writing this vampire novel, seems like I should have paid more attention. Still, I’m trying to sort something out in my own mind about God. I’m not sure what I believe anymore, and here in Edinburgh, the whole religious thing seems so much more profound. This city seems to have an aura about it. It has a big hill right in the middle of town, and a cross on it that would stop a vampire’s heart, and make his blood run even colder. Makes you wonder what vampires do on Christmas. Probably not their favorite holiday. Crosses of lights everywhere they turn at night. Can’t be a pleasant experience. Since I’ve been writing this novel, I’ve noticed how apart I feel from mainstream Romanian life. I live outside it, living with the Roma. Is that why I’m writing about vampires? This story goes a lot deeper within me than I’ve realized.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, again. So I have quite a bit of news. First the good stuff. I’ve finished Chapters 22 and and 23 of Carpathian Vampire. Really good news because it’s been a struggle. I have my character in lots of trouble, and she’s both sad and pissed off. I’ve been having problems with these things called plot points. I laid them out according to a scheme I’ve been reading about for free on the Internet, and it’s worked beautifully, except that I also have a number of subplots which have to be plotted with their own plot points, and its all quite a juggling exercise. Plus I’ve been using the girl meets boy/girl, girl gets boy/girl, girl loses boy/girl, girl gets boy/girl back. Also a struggle, and I’m not sure I can ever get them back together again. Remember that this is vampires and regular people all messed up together, so things can get weird and tragic. Plus this is gothic, so all the good versus evil thing gets twisted, and who knows who is the real good guys. Every body likes to work their dirt. I am really surprised at how well knowing the underlying conflicts and conflict structure plots a novel. I’ve written a lot of stories when I was a kid, and they always turned out to be pretty funny, but this is coming up a little short on humor.
Second subject. I have a birthday coming up, the 19th. My last as a teenager. Next year I turn the big two zero. Not looking forward to that. It takes all the air out of being alive when you are no longer young. Growing up seems to me just about the dirtiest trick life can play on you, except of course being really sick is a bummer. Yes, I’ve had my share of problems as a teen-ager, but at least you get to laugh a lot. I’ve had a taste of being a grownup because I’ve had to make my own way in the world for a while now, but I don’t want to feel responsible all the time. I want to dump on people for a while yet.
Okay, the other news. I got a postcard in the mail. Eeeeek!! at first but then Noooo!! it wasn’t from my mother. It was in response to the card I sent to my mother. The address my father gave me was to the sister of the new man in my mother’s life. And this really sucks because she’s still married to my father who’s tucked away in Codlea Prison for life.
But here’s the hard part. I have a new half brother. And get this, the kids is already two years old. The man my mother is sleeping with (they are not married, cannot be married cause she’s still married to my dad) is Scottish, and they very well may be in Edinburgh. A long ways away. So I’m kind of excited about the little brother, and hating my mother for having him at the same time. Right now I’m ripped in two with my heart here in Romania with my father, me living with the hated Roma, and feeling left out with my mother off starting a new family in Scotland. I have an address. If I had the money, I’d just show up on their doorstep, but I barely make enough for Internet cafes to get my blog post online. Don’t really want to send a letter. “Hi, ma, this is your old stinking runaway daughter who lives with the hated Roma. I’ve really done well for myself since I ran off. Could you loan me a few buck so that I could come to see you in your beautiful new home and family in Edinburgh?” Noroc!
And now my band of Romas are about to pull up stakes and move on to another part of Romania where it’s warmer for the winter months. I hate to move. Every one gets testy when we move, and the dogs are in an uproar because they don’t know the territory they are supposed to protect anymore, so they get nippy with everyone they see that they don’t know. We move slow, so everyone on the roads is on our case. Maybe my boyfriend will come rescue me for a few days of love and good times in Bucharest. Sure would be nice to have a permanent home again.
I do love the fall, but the rain and snow of winter, I could do without. I’ve seen the skiers up at Sinaia, where my novel is set, and I know everyone doesn’t have my bad attitude about winter. Dark days ahead.
I’m afraid it’s been quite a while since I last posted. But you see, I’ve been in a depression after seeing my father in prison. It brought home the reality of my situation and kept me from pushing it into the dark background, as I usually do.
I’m also having difficulty working on my vampire novel. I finished Chapter 21, but now I’m stuck on chapter 22. Been there for a month or so. Vampire lore is causing trouble. Not quite sure what to do about it. I lie in bed thinking over the various scenarios. When ever I get one thing settled, it affects something else and it has to change too. Writing a novel is hard. Perhaps Dragos Tatarescu can help the next time I see him. He can help me with some of my other problems also. I like sleeping with him.
I’ve also been thinking more of my mother. And I’ve been wondering why she left. Some of these things are so tough that I don’t want to deal with them, but I have to. I’ve been writing a letter to her, now that my father has given me an address. If I get an answer, I might try to see her. That’s what worries me. I don’t believe I could stand it if she wasn’t glad to see me. But how could she be? When I left, I always thought I could go back home, if I wanted. But when she ran off too, we lost track, or I lost track of her, I guess I should say. Seeing her again would mean coming to terms with what I did, running away that is. I’m not so sure I’m ready for that. I’m happy here with the Roma, or at least I thought I was until I saw my father. Mothers are important people.
Today I got a Roma with a car to take me to see my father. He’s in the Codlea prison. It was not such a scary place as I thought it might be. I told them that he was my uncle, but they didn’t have a record of him having niece. I sure wasn’t going to tell them that I was his fugitive daughter. They had to talk to him first. He’d never had a visitor. Been in prison three years and no visitor. He’s in for life, or at least that’s what I thought.
At first I didn’t recognize him. We were in a room with a bunch of people, and then he just walked in like it was the most usual thing. I didn’t know what to say. He thought I was someone one else. Then he grabbed me and hugged me.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I came to see you, Papa,” I said.
“My goodness, ChaCha, I never thought I’d see you again.” He had tears in his eyes. He used to call me “ChaCha”. “Where’s your mother?”
“I don’t know, Papa,” I said, and then I started to cry. I wish he hadn’t asked about Mother.
We sat in two chairs facing each other. He held my hands. His were rough. “I’ve been working in the prison garden,” he said. “We grow vegetables and get some of the money. What’s in the box?” he asked.
“I brought you something, Papa,” I had bought him a new pair of shoes, a pair of pants and shirt, some under clothes. He cried harder. “How did you know what I needed?” he asked.
“Everybody needs clothes,” I said.
I wouldn’t tell him that I was staying with a band of Romas. He kept asking, but I just said, “With a family.” Finally he quit asking.
He said he got one letter from my mother, and that he’d written to her but she hadn’t written back. He gave me the address. My father is an educated man. He has a couple of years of college. Many people in Romania do, but there are no jobs.
“They told me I might be able to get out in another fifteen years.” he said. “They are reviewing my case.”
“They better not look too close,” I said. My father did a bad thing in killing a man. He says it was just an argument gone wrong, that he was defending himself. Still, he killed a man who had money, and the system turned on him. But the government doesn’t like to keep people in prison. It costs too much. So maybe some day he will get out.
We talked for a half hour and then he had to go back.
He was sheepish about the shoes and clothes. “You’ve become the parent,” he said to me. I had a strange feeling all the way back to the Gypsy camp, like I’d done something important.
I don’t feel at home here in the Roma camp any more. Makes me wish I hadn’t seen him. Now I want my family back. I want to see my mother. Her being gone hadn’t bothered me in a long time, but now I want to see my mother. I was almost feeling like a grown person, but now I feel like a little girl again.
Sometimes I lie awake at night listening to the noises of the Roma camp, our camp, my camp. I tend to both think of myself as Roma and to realize that I’m not. I laugh a lot about my predicament, but at night I get to thinking about how serious it really is, my father in prison and my mother off who knows where? I worry about both of them all the time, but at night it’s much worse. Frequently I wake in a cold sweat.
I wonder if my mother knows how much I love her? When we were all together, life was so wonderful. I had a stray cat that had kittens. I’d play with the mother, and watch her let them nurse. My mother would smile at me, the way I loved baby animals. And then she’d tell me about when I was a baby. Learning to crawl, learning to walk. I’d hold on to her leg while she walked about the kitchen cooking.
But that’s all past. All gone.
Last night we had a commotion in camp. Something entered camp, an animal or someone, no one was quite sure. It caused a row among the dogs. They tied into something. Everyone in camp was awake. Women shouting at their husbands, “What is it?” Roma are a superstitious people. They talk of things that most people would laugh at. They talk of something called a changeling. It’s a human being that can take on different shapes, not necessarily human or animal. What is something if it isn’t human or animal? It’s some being out of mythology. Or perhaps even something that no one has ever seen before. Last night they were talking about a person that was part human and part spider. One old woman told them to keep their mouths’ shut because talking of such things attracts them. She got mad. After something came into camp, she said that she’d warned them.
The old woman who got on to them is the one I live with. It’s just the two of us. She took me in to help her. She is a fortune teller. She uses tarot cards. I like to watch her tell fortunes, but she shoos me out. Some people who’s fortunes she’s read will come all the way from across Romania to see her. Of course, they never know for sure where she is because Romas never stay in one place long. That’s the reason she needs me. She has a bad leg, and I do the heavy lifting. We sleep in her wagon. And it really is only a wagon. She has a donkey, where the other three families in our band have horses that pull the wagons.
At night in the wagon, when I wake and can’t go back to sleep, I listen to the sounds of camp, watch the play of campfire light on the wagon canopy. I listen to Drina snore. She has such troubled sleep. Sleep is work to her. She says she had t has to struggle with demons during sleep. It’s a result of her gift of prophecy. Not everything in the other world wants her divulging the future. I won’t let her read my fortune. I don’t want to know what’s going to happen to me.
I’m fifteen chapters into my vampire novel, about a third of the way to being finished. I’ve done a lot of planning, so I know what’s going to happen in each chapter. I’m still not sure about the ending.
Drina doesn’t like it when I leave with my boyfriend. She has difficulty coping. But I”m young. I need my time in the city, in the other world. Roma life can be really boring. I crave this man, my boyfriend, like a disease. I won’t let a Roma touch me, So by the time he comes for me, I’m wild for love. I crave it like a disease. I lie awake at night thinking of new things for us to do together, in bed. And then I think of the places he’ll take me. Out dancing, that’s what I love most. Wild dancing. But we also go to coffee shops during the day. We’ll get a little fast food now and then. I love American fast food. French fries, mmmm.
I can’t answer questions on my blog. I rarely have power or an Internet connection. I upload quickly. On and off, like a shot. Finding a WiFi hotspot not always easy.
As I’ve said before. I travel with a band of Romas. They took me in two years ago, and I’ll be forever grateful for their help. At first I was just going to spend a few days with them but a few days turned into months which turned into years. I thought maybe my mother would come get me but that didn’t work out.
Even though I say I’ve been reading and writing in English since I was five, I’m still really bad at it. I write in both Romanian and English actually. I’m not going to publish my writing in Romanian because that’s not where the money is. I must publish in English. Perhaps some Hollywood agent will see my novel when it comes out and they’ll make a movie out of it. Big dreams. Dreams are all I have.
I send all my work through my translator Dragos Tatarescu. He even translates for my blog. He doesn’t charge me because I spend a week or two with him now and then. The Romas don’t care for that much. At first they threw a fit when I’d leave with Dragos, but they got used to it. It works out for both Dragos and me. A girl has to have her fun too. He takes me to Bucharest where he lives. He makes me soak in the tub for a couple of hours before he’ll touch me. We don’t have a lot of bathing facilities on the road. Big city life! We spend a lot of time in the sack, but I get to go to a discotheque now and then. We go wild dancing. I like all the bodies so close together.
The Roma band I’m with has two, sometimes three, wagons we haul our things in. We have three horses that do the pulling. We generally stay on the outskirts of small towns. People are pretty good until we get close to big cities. I don’t mind that people shout obscenities at us and show us obscene gestures. That’s kind of funny. But I don’t like it when people spit on us. Show some restraint people!
Prior to completing and publishing Carpathian Vampire, …when you’ve never known love…, I plan to publish a set of short, short stories associated with the novel. I’ve used the creation of the stories to help me flesh out my characters and define the vampire mythology I’m using in my novel. I originally thought writing these stories would be a chore, but they have actually turned out to be quite interesting. And at times, a little sexy. Although my novel is set in and around Sinaia, Romania, and is from my protagonist’s point of view, my short stories are all written from several different POVs and set in different locations, even some foreign countries. I like to use a little Greek mythology from time to time, and that’s because my family genealogy does contain a couple of Greeks, although they are quite a ways back. My father used to tell me stories from Greek mythology at bedtime. I love my father and miss him terribly.
It takes a while for me to get my posts published because I write in a mixture of Romanian and English, and it takes a while for my translator, Dragos Tatarescu, to straighten it out. Please be patient with me.
My name is Lumi (Luminita) Laura. I’m the author of the soon to be published book Carpathian Vampire. I was born somewhere in Romania, probably Victoria but possibly Fagaras. I have no record of birth, and my parents never seemed concerned about it. I attended public schools until I was to enter high school, but when I didn’t pass the entrance test, they were going to ship me off to a craft school for a couple of years, so I bolted. That was four years ago when I was fifteen. Now I’m on the run and have been since then. Lately, I’ve been staying with a Gypsy or Roma family, as we call them. Although we don’t claim to be, I sometimes wonder if I’m not at least part Roma. I look Arabic, or at least so I’m told, but I’m not that either.
Being a fugitive is nothing new to my family. My father killed a man, and we were on the run for two years before they caught up with him. Now he’s in Codlea Prison for life. Sometimes I believe my life is more interesting than my character’s, but then she’s a vampire, so how cool is that? I’m not sure anyone is actually after me. My mother has moved since I was last with her. Not sure where she lives now.
I’ve been reading and writing in English since I was five. I’ve always been good at storytelling, and it’s what I do to pass the time. The Roma family picked up a laptop computer for me. I didn’t ask where they got it, and they didn’t say. That was a couple of years ago, and I’ve not put it down since. Don’t always have an internet connection, and when I do it’s usually slow. On the message boards they always get it wrong: “Luni bin Laura” is what they call me. Not very fond of that.