Today is the 333rd birthday of the composer Georg Philipp Telemann. Last week was the 300th birthday of his godson Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. When you’re as old as I am, you normally don’t count years, but round birthdays – especially of humans we once knew – are grounds for grateful remembrance.
Those of you who have read my blog know that werewolves can live a long time. Unless we are killed by silver, fire, or the tooth and claw of another lycanthrope, we are practically immortal. At least this applies to my species, the Common European Werewolf (Homo lupus europae) – your mileage may vary.
Even if something untoward does happen, we usually reincarnate. My present lifetime began in 1835, and has been one of the longest so far, as I’ve been more careful than usual this time around. Fortunately we stop ageing around forty, so from the physical standpoint it’s not so bad being old. Some lycanthropes only maintain social relationships within their own Order, and for them the years can pass by almost unnoticed. Others become attached to various humans along the way, and saying goodbye can be painful for us. This is one of the reasons such relationships are officially discouraged within the Sisterhood of the Wolf (regarding Orders, see my answer to the first question below).
I have never paid too much attention to the Sisterhood’s proscriptions and have always cared deeply for my human friends. In the eighteenth century, when I spent much of my life as a professional harpsichordist, my closest relationships were with composers (Händel, Telemann, C.Ph.E. Bach, J.C. Bach, Mozart) and the monarchs who employed them (Frederick the Great, Maria Theresia, Marie Antoinette).
Sometimes I even learned more from the humans than I did from my own kind. The most important influence on my last lifetime was my composition teacher, Händel, who always seemed to have a wise word for any situation, artistic or personal. Without realising it, Händel even gave me good advice on how to live with lycanthropy, as he himself knew very well what it was like to be “different” from others. The story may be found in my latest blog post.
Now on to today’s questions.
Dear Lady Andronica,
For years I’ve been interested in becoming a werewolf. But as I grow out of being a teenager and into adulthood, I’m starting to realize that getting something that you really want can end in disappointment. If you want something with all your heart for a long time, and then suddenly it’s given to you, there’s an emptiness that comes with it, like “okay, what next?”. If I do become a werewolf, will life just… keep going on? I’m worried that I’ve romanticized the idea into an endless chase after happiness.
Fur Aspirer Chasing After Dream Existence
A wise Vulcan once said, “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” So much for philosophy. The fact is, being a werewolf can be very, very cool. It can also be a nightmare. Everything depends on what you make of it. Life as a werewolf actually has many similarities to life as a human: you can be happy or sad, successful or a failure, bored stiff or excited by everything.
Yes, life does just go on (except that of your victims, of course). What is different is that things are experienced more intensely, both the good and the bad. Depending on how strong your animal nature becomes, you will find that the intellect doesn’t get in the way of your emotions as much as before. You live life much more directly.
An important influence on your lycanthropic experience is the company you keep. Life as a lone wolf is generally difficult, and most random killings are committed by loners who have not learned to control their animal instincts. These werewolves usually end up being hunted down by villagers with pitchforks. If this isn’t your idea of fun, I strongly recommend that you consider membership in one of the Orders, since these provide community and support. Which one you choose depends largely on your own personality and lifestyle preferences.
If you are female and aspire to be a glamour werewolf (see below), then I heartily recommend my own Order, the Sisterhood of the Wolf. We are Indo-European in origin, and therefore trendy spiritual-chic; the Initiation rite has a 33% chance of failure, however, in which case the candidate is eaten. The Afro-Eurasian male Order is the Apostasy, which tends to be power/pleasure orientated, if you are into that sort of thing; their Initiation rite is always successful but involves cannibalism, which some might find distasteful (especially considering the parts involved). The main Order in North America are the Wendigo, which accept both males and females. A very nasty lot, the Wendigo propagate by biting, but since they usually don’t know when to stop, your chance of survival is minimal.
To find out what is best for you, please consult your local chapter of the IAWSF (International Association of Weres, Shifters, and Furries), which can provide contact information for the various Orders and the many local independent organisations.
Hoping that your expectations remain realistic,
Dear lady Andronica,
What is a “Glamour Werewolf”? Do you really think it’s possible to be a shaggy wolf beast and also look elegant and “put-together” at the same time??? Nothing against the idea, I just don’t understand how it would work. When you turn into a monster wouldn’t you just want to be a monster, and forget about looking nice until you’re human again? Thank you very much!
Glamour is first and foremost a state of mind – it’s an attitude rather than a particular physical appearance. How you appear to others reflects and depends upon your own self-perception. (Of course, good hygiene is also important, as I advised a reader last month.) Generally speaking, if you think of yourself as a shaggy beast or a monster, then the humans will perceive you as such and run fast when they see you coming. It’s hard to catch a meal that way. On the other hand, if you are poised and self-confident, then you won’t need to spend hours with post-transformation grooming to become a sleek and beautiful wolf. Nor will you have to chase your prey – they will come up and try to pet you. “Nice wolfie.” Chomp.
So how do you develop a “glamour mind-set”? For me it was easy, because I grew up in the eighteenth century, when everything was elegant (except for peasants, but they don’t count). It’s important to understand that elegance and glamour are not the same thing. Glamour is the next step; it adds the exceptional to the elegant. Glamour is what turns heads. Glamour says, “Look at me. I’ve got something you want but can never have.”
I didn’t start out with glamour. It did not come automatically with my title (which didn’t mean much anyway, since my family, like most of the Welsh nobility, had been expropriated by the English over the centuries). For me, glamour was the result of a conscious decision in a life-and-death situation – a survival skill, so to speak.
It was the end of June 1754. Lysandra and I had just arrived in Vienna, there was a price on my head, and the Apostates were in control of the city. I had to find a way to achieve public prominence quickly, since I figured that being in the limelight would afford a certain degree of protection, especially if I gained the attention of the Empress Maria Theresia. So I bought some clothes. Not an elegant French grand habit de cour, but a man’s suit. It was of the finest silk velvet, all in black and embroidered with gold thread (not silver, for obvious reasons). Coat, waistcoat, breeches, and a black shirt with black lace ruffles. Matching gold-trimmed tricorne, adorned with black ostrich plumes. Everything tailored to fit my figure. It was stunning.
I wore this all-black outfit for my first public appearance as a musician in Vienna, a soirée at the Palais Esterházy. Everybody who was anybody at the Austrian court was present. As you can imagine, the scandal was enormous. They called me die schwarze Waliserin, and I was an overnight sensation. Maria Theresia called my apparel “a ridiculous costume”, but my concert schedule was booked solid for months, and the Apostates did not dare touch me. This was the beginning of my career as a glamour werewolf, and it carried over into every aspect of my life. Even the Graf von Kaunitz – the notorious Apostate mastermind – was soon sniffing at my tail, having forgotten all about his plans to skin me alive.
My point is this. Don’t content yourself with being a conventional lycanthrope. Dare to be different. Make a bold statement. However you think of yourself in human form will affect your wolf state and give you the kind of animal magnetism you would never have thought possible.
Wishing you every confidence and success,
The next instalment of “Ask Andronica!” will appear on 28 March 2014. Send in your questions now!
P.S. This coming Sunday (16 March, 19:00-20:00 GMT = 3-4 p.m. EDT) I will perform a harpsichord recital at my château inSecond Life, with music by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and will be wearing my black suit for the occasion. Everyone is welcome. Here are the SL landing coordinates. See you there!
The story of Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz, Maria Theresia, and “die schwarze Waliserin” will appear in Lysandra, volume two ofMemoirs of an Eighteenth-Century Werewolf, coming soon. Volume one, Night Music, is available now.