Dracula on the Mat
The yoga mat, that is. Because I have to tell you, it’s taking pretty much full yogic mindfulness to not let this book make me batty. As I sat quietly in a recent yoga class and listened to my teacher talk about the importance of accepting where you are at this very moment and surrendering to that acceptance it felt like Bram Stoker was next to me giving me a little tap on the head. Maybe what I need to do is to simply read and accept, be open to the style and conventions of a book written over 100 years ago. Is it possible to let go of our 21st Century minds and accept that in this world the characters would behave very differently? Can we just accept and enjoy? In the words of Van Helsing (Chapter 17) can we “Read all, I pray you, with the open mind…”?
When I first started writing notes for a post about letting my yoga mind help me enjoy Dracula I was somewhat ahead of schedule and adding some additional reading. Since then I’ve read J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, a lovely little novella with a female vampire published in 1872, and H.G. Well’s The Island of Dr. Moreau, published in 1896. They helped me to get more into the style and rhythm of fiction at the end of the 19th Century, and were wonderful side reads. For a little while I was doing ok, relaxing into it, accepting the characters seeming obliviousness and Van Helsing’s ridiculous phrasing. I was thinking that life for these folks was simply more dramatic, what with all the sinking to the knees and wailing and pledges of undying loyalty. I was enjoying it, really I was.
Now? I won’t go beyond the spoiler point here, but since we’re supposed to be finished with Chapter 21 today, I have to admit that the scribbled notations of WTF followed by exclamation points are piling up in the margins of my copy. As Claire wrote in her main page post for Oct. 21, damn them! The whole dismissal of Mina after they couldn’t praise her enough and then their complete miss of the fact that she was suffering the same fate as Lucy was just about too much for me. Now that the boy’s club is all together it’s all about planning and getting our toys, um, I mean weapons, ready and preparing and all the fun boy club things. Gee, Mina looks pale, she should go to bed. By herself. In the lunatic asylum next to the lair of Dracula. Much safer that way. Do the boys redeem themselves by finally figuring out what’s going on with Mina? Nope, Renfield has to tell them as he’s dying.
As we move into the rest of the book, I’m going to be trying to just relax and accept. I’m going to try to keep my yoga mind about this, but I have to say it’s getting harder and harder to do!