Anne Rice: Interview With The Vampire Meets Christ The Lord.

(Listen to the Dick Staub interview with Anne Rice about her book, “Christ The Lord,” today at “The Kindlings Muse”.)

You can’t judge a book by its cover goes the old adage. After years of interviewing culturally influential authors I would add, neither can you always judge the author by the book.

Who knew Margaret Atwood, author of “A Handmaid’s Tale,” would tell me (off-the-air) of her insistence on attending Sunday School as a child, though her scientist parent’s were both atheists?

Who knew feminist Susan Faludi would take the time to sit in on a Promise Keepers meeting and then defend the movement against her less informed cadre of friends, having concluded, “what can be so bad about a group of men who want to be better husbands and fathers?”

Who knew the real story behind Anne Rice’s “Interviews With a Vampire?” Raised in an intellectually constricted Roman Catholicism in New Orleans, the minute she hit college she threw off the restraints and read everything she’d been forbidden to read Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus, Hemingway and a myriad of other blacklisted, important thinkers. Falling in love, this lapsed Catholic and cognitive atheist married atheist poet Stan Rice and they headed off to San Francisco where they had their first child. Their daughter died of leukemia at a young age and Rice’s intellectually contrived atheism ran into her need for the God she claimed did not exist.

Having read CS Lewis, Rice recalled his saying, “I believe in God as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Having embraced atheism she asked herself what happens to the person who having once experienced the warmth and light of God’s presence, leaves it and will never experience again?” The vampire became her metaphor for such a person and her Vampire series was her way of working through her emotional grief and intellectual issues.

I know this because I interviewed her recently as she described her “return to God” and subsequent decision to write “Christ The Lord.”
It is a most interesting story and you can listen to that interview at today at “The Kindlings Muse”. I hope you will. Not everybody gets the chance to enjoy personal conversations with such interesting folks, but you can vicariously through the Dick Staub interviews.

The lesson I want to leave you with is the one I stated at the outset. You can’t judge a book by its cover and neither can you judge the author by the book.

Last night I saw a provocative play, “Mitzi’s Abortion” at ACT theatre here in Seattle, It was written by local playwright Elizabeth Heffron. Few experiences are more likely to jar you out of the comfort (and imprisonment) of your own paradigms than live theatre. Ms. Heffron has taken on the most talked about and least discussed issue of our day and throws in Thomas Aquinas along the way. No evening of theatre is truly satisfying unless it opens some new windows in our minds, which tend to stay closed, and this evening the author explored a lot of closed windows.

To truly enjoy theatre you must let go of your defenses long enough to enter another ideological neighborhood and to let that world enter yours there’ll be plenty of time to analyze and dissect later. Whether a play, film, visual art all art proceeds from an artist and that artist has a story. Allow yourself the delicious luxury of wondering about the story behind the art you are encountering part of the story behind the art is the artist, and like Margaret Atwood, Susan Faludi and Anne Rice, that artist is on a journey. Remember what Chaucer said, “a pilgrimage can be a rowdy affair.”

Most importantly, remember that you too are on a journey, and unless there are rowdy elements in it, you are likely not on a pilgrimage. Religion and contemporary political correctness of every type, tends to discourage talking about the rowdy and likes to hear about the tidy. Ultimately though, we all benefit from artists who are honest enough to talk about the messiness, and you will never experience true grace in community unless you find a way to talk about yours.

Let the artist be your guide and experience the rowdy this is the path towards knowing yourself and to experiencing God.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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