Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Inspiration

2 Sep

Netflix lets you stream the entire seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Therefore, I’ve lately been having a Buffy marathon most nights. This tends to involve staying up till about three in the morning.

Watching so much Buffy also tends to affect my dreams. A lot. With early seasons, I not only had many dreams that involved a dark cemetery and Buffy fighting vampires in said cemetery, but I also had at least two mornings in which I dreamed about Cordelia whining or at least complaining; as I woke up, Cordelia’s voice transformed into my cat Cheetah yowling for food. I wonder what it says about Cheetah, or about my relationship with Cheetah, that she was the snarky bully Cordelia in my dreams. Cheetah isn’t a bully, but she certainly demands attention. On the bright side, years ago I had a dream in which Cheetah was human, and she was someone very different from Cordelia.

After watching Buffy (a portion of the fifth season) till 4 am last night, I had more Buffy dreams, complete with cemeteries. But I also had a Buffy dream in which Willow was running around with a plastic sealable bag that contained slices of avocado, along with a spell or something. (I bought avocados on sale yesterday, and by the time I had this dream I must have been hungry.)

It seems that Buffy is currently an obsession for me. I read an essay about Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 2003 anthology Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century, edited by Rory Dicker and Alison Piepmeier. The essay, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the Next Generation of Television,” by Michele Byers, explores in detail how feminist Buffy is and isn’t. It put me in the mood to watch the series.

It has occurred to me that Buffy is, technically, research for my writing. Joss Whedon is great at writing conflict. He doesn’t hesitate to have bad—even horrible—things happen to characters, including the protagonist. In addition to fights and death, he shows conflicting personalities and arguments, and he shows conflicts and complications in relationships. In the Buffy series, he wrote all this conflict along with paranormal subject matter, something that come up in my writing.

Indeed, seeing all those old tomes in which Giles and company research demons makes me feel like researching demons too, for the sake of my writing. I’ve discovered that the Multnomah County Library keeps its old tomes on demons “for library use only.” Maybe they’re afraid of a library patron conjuring a demon and getting eaten. Then again, maybe they’re just protecting really old books, since at least a couple of the books on demons are in the Wilson Room, a special place for rare and antique books. One of these days I’ll go downtown and visit the Wilson Room.

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