Tuesday, February 4, 2014
November 12, 1861
Know that we are in receipt of your letter from October 30th and were relieved to hear you remain in good health. I am grateful, you addressed the letter to me and not your mother. Some of the details you shared within those pages would've alarmed both her and your sister to no end. I'm pleased to see that all my years of lecturing you about the wisdom of foresight were not wasted.
Word of illness spreading among regiments and even within forts have reached our ears, so I was very glad to hear you have been fairing better than some of your fellow soldiers, was welcome news indeed. In sharing your letter with your mother and sister, I left out many of the details of your last encounter with the rebels. Although I suspect, you had already not shared all that you could even with me.
I pause for a moment as I stare at those words. He knew me so well. Often people told me how much I was like him, but in this case it was my mother who taught me to hold certain facts back from him. As proud and firm a man as he was, my father could be very sensitive. I see this in the next paragraph when he speaks of Roger, my best friend since childhood.
Allow me to express my deepest sympathies for young Roger's passing. Yes, word reached us about what happened. You may receive a letter from his family expressing their gratitude for your staying at his side, while under fire until the end. I will never forget all the time you spent with him as children, fishing, playing, getting underfoot. The two of you were inseparable. Pray take heart that a part of him will always be with you, and will hopefully be watching over you in the days to come.
See what I mean? He didn't always express himself so warmly, but I always knew it was there. Perhaps, it was concern for my sister that had put him in an especially sensitive mood when he wrote me on this occasion.
The effects of your sister's illness still plague her. I regret not telling you sooner, but shortly after you left her condition worsened. She had contracted the Scarlet Fever which had claimed so many children in the past two months. Luckily, she survived, but is still very weak. Not an uncommon thing for a child after suffering such a dangerous illness. The doctor says there may have been damage to her heart, but time will tell.
God how I wish the man had been wrong.
Know that she continues to ask about you and looks forward to all your letters with great anticipation. She maintains high hopes that you will indeed be back next month in time to share Christmas. In spite of all that I've been hearing, I share that hope as well. Your mother and I pray this conflict will end as abruptly as it started and we can be a family once more.
Until that time comes, do take care of yourself my son. Your mother will be sending a package of food, blankets and more clothing shortly. Do not bother sending your pay home to us, for you know very are quite well off. Spend some of it on your fellow soldiers who are not as fortunate. Remember the teachings of our Lord and may he bless and keep you safe.
Write again soon.
Even after all these years, the mention of my sister's bout with Scarlet Fever still hits me hard. I remember using some of the pay I had on me at the time to buy my sister a new doll and some pretty things. At the time of her illness, the first antibiotics were still another decade or two away. Burning the patients clothing, blankets and any personal items they kept near them was the standard practice at the time. Although I also knew my parents would've replaced a number of items for her, she favorite doll and stuffed toys that I had given her would've been thrown into the blaze.
I'm glad I acted so quickly. For just two weeks later I received a letter from her...
A hand fall's on my shoulder. "Uncle Nate? I think you've done enough for tonight," Brian tells me. "Why don't we go to 'The Crypt' for a drink or two."
I catch the tone in his voice that says 'You need it!'
He's right. I do.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Author's Note: today I'm introducing you all to Marisa. She will be one of the lead characters in the actual novel and will be playing a vital role in the story. Here we see her very first blog entry, when she is only ten years old and very happy.
Hi Everyone and welcome to my blog.
I'm Marisa and I'm a huge fan of ghosts, scary movies, and vampires. Especially vampires, I love watching movies about them. Probably because of my dad. He has got like every vampire movie made it but he hardly ever gets to watch them because Mom's not into them and he hates watching them alone.
So about a year ago, I got the book "Dracula" for Christmas and now he and I watch the movies together every Sunday. We just watched Christopher Lee in "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave".
He has got to be like my favorite Dracula, even though in real life he's like ancient these days. Though I did see him in Star Wars "Attack of the Clones" and frankly, he was the best thing in that movie personally speaking. Even being so much older now, he still has an air of power and charisma. I kind of hope he stays around for a while, he seems pretty cool.
Though, I really can't say the movie was all that bad. I loved all the robots and battles, those were pretty cool. I wasn't too keen on Anakin because he seemed kind of whiny sometimes, but I could certainly understand his killing all those Sand People after what they did to his mom. If anyone hurt either of my parent's I'd be going all Terminator on their asses.
Um... did I mention I also love Sci-Fi movies with robots and cyborgs? I get that from my dad too.
Mom likes to think he was hoping for a boy to share all these things with since she's not into that stuff. I don't know if that's true or not, but I don't care. The guys at school like the fact that I'm into that kind of stuff.
That's all for now, my Mom's telling me to get ready for my first Girl Scout meeting. Up until a few months ago, I was still in Brownies. Now I'm old enough to join the big girls. See you all later.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
So here I am, creating my very first blog entry. Night has barely fallen outside, I can hear the rustlings of nocturnal creatures, who are as familiar to me as my own portrait, just outside these walls. Soon I will join them again. Enjoying our nightly rambles, through the brush and empty streets. But first I must complete that which came here for.
I confess that I still find the idea of using a computer to record my thoughts and memories a little... strange. Especially one that can rest in my lap. I saw the pictures of the early ones that took up room after room of space back in the 1950's.
In just a few short decades the technology advanced by leaps and bounds. Some would say it seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. I know better, it was hardly that quick, but it was fascinating to watch it happen.
But I digress. I'll have plenty of time to dwell on the things I've seen over time later. Right now I need to take advantage of the museum being closed and copying some of my old correspondence into electronic form. My godson Brian assures me that the words I copy will continue to exist in the ether of the internet for centuries to come. We'll see. If I can still access them in another hundred to two hundred years, I'll be more at ease.
Words and thoughts floating about in an electronic pocket, insubstantial yet as real as if they were put to paper, still fascinates me. In spite of all the things I've seen and learned since I took my first and last breaths so long ago, humanity continues to amaze. Thank the heavens, my father always encouraged me to be curious and try new things. He also taught me not to let go of the past and the things I loved, learned and lost. He told me, nothing is truly lost if one can hold onto it in the heart and mind.
He was right. There are many who I can no longer touch or hold in my arms, but are still very much still alive within me. But even a brain like mine cannot remember every little thing on a moment's notice. Our brains are constantly filling with new data, faces, likes, hates, and information that things can get cluttered. Which is why I started journal writing back when I was only ten. Even back then I understood how easy it was to lose track of one's thoughts and memories at times.
I've kept all my journals, at least the ones that survived time, the elements and of course the fires. I have a tendency to stay too long in some places. Even when I hear some of the murmurings whispered in voices so faint, the speakers have no clue I hear them as if they were standing right next to me. Murmurs give way to speculations. Speculations then lead to secret meetings of those with a like mind. Eventually, they in turn lead to spying and eventually open hostility. Finally, action is taken, either by a few chosen or an entire community where entire homes and their contents are lost in flames.
However, I have an extraordinary memory and can recall most of the things I put to paper so long ago. But this is not always the case. Which is why I have come to the museum. My godson and his father, another godson of mine, oversee the place and all its treasures. They and their families know me and what I've become, or rather what I became long before any of them were born. None of them fear me, only for me. They are my guardians and defenders, as I have been theirs since the day I came back from the battlefield in 18... no. That's as story for another entry. I'm digressing again and I know why.
I glance down at the yellowed pages that lay preserved in plastic sheets at my right hand. The ink has browned with age, but the handwriting is still very legible. As well cared for as they are, these pages will one day crumble and be lost to me along with their words and the emotions they convey. As painful as the task before me is, I must once more read those words and copy them onto a new page where time will not take them away from me. An electronic page that will not crumble if touched by hand or age.
I take a deep breath, well not really. It's more an old habit that never leaves you. A memory the body has not forgotten and continues to do without you really thinking about it. I have to admit, it's one of those little details that keeps people from wondering too much about me.
There I go again. ENOUGH! No more distractions. I must copy these letters, or at least this first one. Perhaps after I've done it, the others will be easier.
September 19, 1861
My Dearest Isabella,
I will be gone by the time you find this letter. Pray forgive me for leaving without saying goodbye, but I know you would've tried talking me out of going if we'd met. Know that I am fully aware of what I am doing will be dangerous. However, there is so much more at stake than just my safety.
Father himself spoke to us all at length about things discussed at the convention in Wheeling. Our state of Virginia has become as torn asunder as the country itself due to the growing conflict. Brothers are being drawn into conflict with each other on the expanding battlefield. This can only be stopped if the rebels and traitors are forced to lay down their arms and return to the Union, before the war becomes too large to contain. So, I go with my friends who have donned the blue uniform, to try and end this nightmare before it becomes too much to stop easily.
Know that our commanding officer, a good fellow named Captain Hughes, assures us all that we can have this whole matter resolved within two months and that we will all be home before the year is out. So rest assured, that I will be back in time for you and I to share Christmas along with mother, father and all our friends within the house.
I want to see you hail and hardy on my return, which means you are to listen to Doctor Henry and take the medicine he's prescribed for you. That cough you developed recently sounded very unpleasant. So rest and get well while I'm gone. I shall return, perhaps with a medal or two for acts of heroism.
Until then know you will always be in my thoughts, and I remain your loving brother,
A barely finish typing the last words when I hear, "Uncle Nathan,?"
I sit up and turn to Brian, holding out a box of tissues to me. He gestures with his head to the plastic covered letter on the desk. Drops of red have splattered across the protective covering.
Automatically I reach up and touch my cheek and feel tracks of warm, sticky moisture.
Sighing, I take one of offered tissues and wipe my face. Brian tells me he'll take care of cleaning the sheet protector.
"Thank you," I tell him and stand up. This was far harder than I expected, but it needed to be done. A first step. Perhaps the other ones will be easier to transcribe. Then I think about the house I grew up in, just a few blocks from here and the family plot in the back. No, it won't get easier. It never did. Especially around Christmas...
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Welcome to my newest project, "The Vampyre Blogs", the precursor to my novel of the same title that will be coming out in December of this year. It will be my first attempt at a vampire story that will take place around Christmas, hence the timing of the book's release.
The purpose of this blog is part experiment, part entertainment.
The experiment comes in the form of introducing the audience to various characters who will be appearing in the novel, before you ever get to read the book. I will be posting entries by the various characters on this blog, just as if they were making entries on their own blogs, or in a private diary or journal. This format (using journals, diaries, and even letters) was used by Bram Stoker, to create his classic novel "Dracula". So in tribute to the 'master' I am following a similar pattern but using blog and electronic journal entries for my novel. I'm taking advantage of doing the blog you are reading to get reactions from my possible readers and get some feedback. I am also hoping to gain more insight to the characters themselves as I write their entries on this blog, so I will be more familiar with them when I begin the actual novel.
The entertainment part of this blog involves letting you the reader get to know some of the characters in advance, aspects of their lives, personality, loves, hates, etc. Some of them you may find irritating, others sympathetic. While still some you might not be able to fully make your mind up just yet. But remember, the purpose of any novel is for characters to grow and change in the course of the story itself.
This endeavor is a huge step for me and I hope, you will find the entries both informative and entertaining. Please note, that NONE of these entries will appear in the book itself. It wouldn't be fair to let you all read these posts and then turn around and ask you to pay for having them put together into book form. I prefer to give these as a gift to my readers so you can know a bit more about who you will be meeting and learning more about their motivations and histories. Some of this same material may get touched on in the novel itself for those totally new to the storyline, but you will have a more in depth insight into things by following this blog.
For now I will leave you with this final note: the next entry will be posted by Mr. Nathaniel Steward, born January 1st, 1845 in what would later become West Virginia during the American Civil War.