Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day Nine on IWTV: the Frenieres

Louis has elevated Lestat-bashing into an art! Louis depicted Lestat as a truly despicable villain full of greed and vengeance. He said Lestat liked to snatch the lives of those at the prime of their youth to maximize their loss. The best example of this was in the mattr of the Frenieres.

I think this is where when they say Show don't tell, or that God is in the details, here, Anne Rice details in actual guttural, physical example what kind of monster Lestat is as Louis describes. (Understand that the Lestat of Prince Lestat, the latest novel, has grown and learned lot since the 17th century.)

The Freniere subplot was not included
in the 1994 movie adapatation
This episode only highlighted the constant difference between Louis's reverence for mortal life and Lestat's seeming disdain of it. It showed Lestat as being a true heartless monster. Louis's fascination for and reverence of mortal life sometimes seem to exceed that of the mortal's living that life. There is a lesson for us here, fellow mortals! Do we take things for granted? Are we able to cherish what is only truly momentarily ours? Or is it only with vampiric detachment that this is possible?

I wonder what human activity can approximate vampiric detachment--that close observation of human lives, appreciating them, but not letting one's ego be involved. I suspect reading good novels, or movies, or meditation in the midst of one own's life.

I also must not forget. Lestat and Louis were outcasts to the human world. Both responded differently: Louis by detachment coupled with respect, and Lestat by embracing his vampire nature. He didn't care about his supposed place in society or the cosmos. He cared about what he wanted and how to get it. Not one way is wrong or right. Just a way of living.

In the end, did it matter really how Monsieur Freniere died? Maybe what matters is how he lived -- in complete devotion to his family. That scene when he sat down to write his will and testament just before setting out to face the duel, I think, is one of the most tenderest and heartfelt in this novel.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Day Eight on IWTV: New Orleans

I remember the first time I read Interview with the Vampire. I was in high school. I was a teenager with a highly impressionable mind.

It was already a bestseller then. I read it in four days. I wanted to return it as soon as I could to Louella who lent it to me. I didn't want her to say I took my time with it, though I wanted to. Soon I bought my own copy.

But I was young and was quite superstitious borne out of religiosity. I had a very religious grandmother who influenced me greatly. I thought God was angry at me for reading a novel about vampires!

And then Lestat says something that truly terrifies me and, if not for the delicious prose, I would not have gone any further. "I'd like to meet the devil one night. I'd chase from here to the wilds of the Pacific. I am the devil." And I thought that Anne really was writing about Satan in the form of Lestat, and I was afraid but intrigued by this evil. Of course now we know which of the Brat Prince's statements to take seriously.

But here we also get to know what makes Louis a conflicted character, full of contradictions. He is able to go into a stillness of mind, a detachment, and yet his questions tortured him. He definitely enjoyed his vampire senses, but was tormented when he needed to kill, but the kill produced swooning in him. "I looked around me at all the mortals that I knew and saw all life as precious," he said, "condemning all fruitless guilt and passion that would let it slip through the fingers like sand." In fact what a wonderful way to live! To treat your own life as precious and to be savored! And this lesson to be learned from the undead! Louis is capable of love, as Lestat is capable of the most fantastic horrors. Lestat was the petty, murderous thief and gambler, and Louis the investor of the stolen money. And so are we humans. We are not to waste our lives. Every moment must be first known then savored.

And Louis says it was his vampiric detachment that helped him arrive to these thoughts.

And then Anne Rice begins to describe the beauty of old New Orleans of that century. And this--take note writers!--is one of her powers. She writes as if she really lived there, as if she saw personally what her characters describe. This is the gift of imagination, and I suspect, thorough research. Rice knows New Orleans. And so we truly believe that her characters truly lived in that place, for the place is so real, and her characters become, for me and you, real too.The moon that rose over New Orleans then still rises.

Recently on her page she shared a link about the great 19th century Russian writers. In the article Gogol was described, and Dostoevsky, and Chekhov, Tolstoy, Turgenev. I must read these writers, too. To learn from them.

Tomorrow, the Frenieres!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day Seven on IWTV: Lestat the teacher

I wonder what it feels like to be helpless in a relationship as Louis was to Lestat, unable to get rid of him no matter how much he loathed him. Lestat taught Louis practical things, and withheld also information from him to keep him locked to himself. That matter of rats was disgusting.

I wonder if Anne Rice unintentionally used vampires as metaphors of the Catholics, who Sunday by Sunday took of the host and the wine that was magically transformed into Christ's flesh and blood. Isn't that a bit of monstrous vampirism, too? The insatiable sinning throughout the week, the penance on Sunday, the drinking of the blood and partaking of the flesh to assure salvation until the next committed sin?

Do we go to hell if we die in our sins? Didn't Christ die in our sins? Yet he rose from the dead. We shall, too, so Saint Paul promises in 1 Corinthians 15.

But Lestat was proving to be quite a horrid teacher, lacking the finesse that the manic depressive Louis was looking for.

Louis compares vampires to kings in one aspect
Most of us would rather see somebody die than be the object of rudeness under our roofs. This was Louis's observation. I needed to read it a few times before its truth sunk in. Egotism. There it is again. How many times have we been appalled at the news of a young girl raped and burned to ashes on the news, shocked at the Maguindanao massacre, but we go on with our lives. But to be insulted in our own turf, why, yes. I'm ready to bare fangs and claws.

Lestat's relationship to his father
This was a strange relationship, not further explored in the novel, mainly because it was to remain a mystery to Louis. I hunger for the time I read to The Vampire Lestat and get to know this intriguing and terrifying vampire Prince more intimately. Until then!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day Six on IWTV: Louis's first kill

Lestat's instructions for hunting and feeding felt to Louis crude, clumsy and rushed. But as Louis finally succumbed into the kill, his description of the experience was a lot like what humans feel when in love! This one of the beautiful deviations Anne Rice's vampires made in all of Goth literature. A lot of today's writers tried to follow suit and romanticized the vampire after this landmark novel.

Rice's vampires are dark, tragic, and romantic. They are not mindless predators. Louis's first kill was chilling, brutal, and intriguing (they attacked a bunch of men and that was erotic), but it also is sacred, akin to deep intimacy of sex, though resulting in the death of the victim and animation of the vampire. For Louis, the result also was his damnation.

I feel really lonely today. That's the truth. I wonder if all creatures under heaven are damned to feel lonely and only have snatching glimpses of scintillating happiness in their lives. All that ache. Louis found out that after his first kill he had a deep respect for life and beauty, and this tears him up inside, because he has become that which takes away life. Can there be beauty in darkness? Maybe. But very few minds are ready to explore it. Doesn't it seem that stars are brighter when no city lamps compete with their light? And yet they too seem lonely in that Great Expanse.

Last Sunday we were taught to fix our eyes on Jesus. How to do that, they didn't say. They said don't look to people or circumstances because they are bound to fail you. Look to Jesus. Where is He? I cannot see Jesus with physical eyes. I can read about Him in the Gospels, hear about Him in the lives of people. How do I fix my eyes on Him? Isn't He inside me? Do I look inward, as in meditation?

At church last Sunday the minister also said that all I do offered to God from my heart becomes sacred. Even after years of church and the blessing of a beautiful family I still have a hole in my heart. I wake up and it is there. I cannot deny it any further. I have asked Jesus before to come in, and it--the gaping hole--is still there. Though now it seems I have a Companion to share it with.

I wonder if the Messiah came not so much as to medicate pain but to be with us intimately in the face or midst of pain and loss. He has suffered on this earth, too, like any human being. I identify most with the Human Christ, the Suffering Christ, than with all the songs of victory belted at church last Sunday: "Everything will be all right `cause we're on the winning side." Honestly, there's very little poetry in most worship songs these days. It's sickening.

We did sing a song that talks about choosing still to just worship, and that song was full of truth and meaning. And so is my favorite Blessed Be Your Name.

There is so much to learn through all the joys and sorrows of life. Louis said, "If I were to maximize every experience available to me, I must exert my own powers over my learning." Then he said in a setting of a beautiful gallery of jasmines and wisteria and fresh rain and a large moon, "I thought of what lay before me throughout the world and throughout time, and resolved to go about it delicately and reverently, learning that from each thing which would take me best to another." I think this is beautiful.

I want to learn God. I want to know God's Presence and Love. I want to delicately and reverently come to understand that three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Day Five: Louis's problems only begin

As the young interviewer got to know about vampires a bit more: the necessity of coffins, the danger of sunlight, the superstition about garlic and crucifixes, Louis gets to "know" Lestat a bit more intimately, by sharing a coffin with him the first night.

In spite of myself, I find this actually thrilling. Morbid, to share a coffin with a vampire, yes, but Lestat is so beautiful. Louis is beautiful, too. How homoerotic! Haha!

Still, a vampire is a dead human body reanimated by strong Blood, and with supernatural powers like speed and stealth. Not at all attractive, really. Sorry Bela Meyers! I wonder if the young interviewer's cigarette becoming one long cylindrical ash, indicative of time and his being in rapt attention, also was a metaphor to Louis's physical transformation. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, but not if you become a vampire.

Lestat's spell began to wear off Louis when he became a vampire. It is very similar to us addictive humans, who go to one substance for a high, and when that does not satisfy anymore, to go into another. Louis was disillusioned by Lestat, something I would never know because I do not see with vampire eyes (nor do I intend to; I'd love to stay human). And how positively ironic that Louis had to handle the plantation still, that he did not escape the problems of the living, and added the problems of the undead to them.

Tomorrow, I read about Louis's first kill. This promises to be a great adventure.