So, I Read Dracula
I love Gothic Horror. I don’t like Horror, don’t get the two mixed up. Horror is blood and gore and scary things jumping at you from the dark. Oh, I’m sure it’s deeper than that. One thing I’ve learned since becoming a Sci-Fi writer is never to judge a genre without reading a lot in it. Still, I’ve seen enough nasty covers to have a pretty good idea of what I don’t like.
That’s beyond the point, though. Gothic Horror is not scary. At least, not in this era. There is a bit of a creep factor, sure, but most of the "horror" aspect is focused on the deeper aspect of human nature. The evil in us all and the way we each deal with that. It also carries an undercurrent of hope and romanticism in the goodness that endures.
I loved Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, Jekyll and Hyde, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Picture of Dorian Gray so I was excited to open the most classic of all the classic Gothics: Dracula. I’d heard some good things and some bad, but I tend to love any Classic I crack open, so I was confident.
I’m not going to say I hated Dracula. That’s just not true. There were some parts I genuinely enjoyed. The opening sequences with Harker were great. The stuff that happened on the ship to London and the first sequence of events with Dracula was great. Even some of the end (can't quite call it the third act because it wasn't a three-act structure) were great. But after a while of reading, I found out that there was a lot of repetition. Van Helsing introduced more and more people to the concept of vampires through the same sequence of events. The men continually tried to protect Mina and failed. Clues that seemed completely obvious were missed. There were also a lot of actions that the protagonists took that didn't affect the plot at all. Things just went back to normal. Often there would be a lot of build-up with very little conclusion.
Despite all the missteps, I did enjoy most of the book. After putting it down I was thinking about disappointment. I am a cynical person, I don’t like looking at the bright side or the silver lining because I don’t deal with disappointment well. But, If I chose to focus on the stuff I didn’t like about Dracula, it was a waste of my time. In reality, there was a lot to enjoy, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.
Often I choose to focus on the negative things happening in my life. The nasty words my husband said once instead of the kindness he shows me when I’m overwhelmed over something. The mess the cats make in my house instead of the morning cuddles that make me happy. The work it takes to make dinner instead of the blessing of having a hot, home-cooked meal.
Life isn’t all butterflies and rainbows, sure, but I don’t want it to be a waste of time either. I want to love Mondays as much as Fridays and not despise the alarm every morning. I want to do more than just keeping myself distracted because my current reality doesn't always life up to my expectations.
What about you? What are some “silver linings” in your life?