Vampire Lestat Newsletter 7/22/14

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Jo Vee just took this wonderful picture, of her Lestat doll, holding up my mother’s hand-drawn picture of the Vampire Lestat, in front of a certain iconic mansion in New Orleans. Jo Vee was the voracious artist, who was the prize winner of our last coven contest.

 


Once more, I apologize for the consistent delays made to our schedule. I have delayed the date of our final chat, pertaining to The Vampire Lestat now, about two times. The final date for our appointed live chat, surrounding the first one-hundred pages of The Vampire Lestat will be this Saturday, July 26th, 2014 at 2pm. Eastern (follow this bold-face hyperlink to RSVP for this Google Hangout on Air live chat)!

 

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Picture with Anne Rice and I, after our highly stimulating conversation about her novels, and of course  about her forthcoming return to the vampire fold: Prince Lestat.

 

On this first order of business, yesterday I had the wonderful, very much unforgettable opportunity to interview Anne Rice (and, I do not need to elaborate on her writing credentials; you know who she is). Thanks to both Anne Rice and her wonderful assistant Becket for making this interview a very enjoyable, stress-free experience.

For me, this was a remarkable opportunity, since in many humble respects, I am just a passionate book blogger, who has been mainly writing rather in-depth posts about Anne Rice’s books for nearly four years and counting. It is not the group itself that allowed this opportunity to happen. Incidentally, this interview came mostly about because of the unwavering support of all 700 or so remarkable members of the Lestat Book Coven over at the Facebook Group Page.

I posted the two parts below, and I know there is some continuity issues between the end of Part 1 into Part 2. Due to some inevitable technical glitches, the transition between both parts seems kind of abrupt.  Enjoy it, nonetheless, and thanks again to everyone that enthusiastically has joined in our coven discussions, for all the various individuals that produced such thoughtful questions, finally to Anne Rice and her assistant Becket for making this entire thing possible!!

 

Part 1:

Part 2:

Procure your copy now, for our upcoming discussion!

Don’t let the coven start without you!

Discussion Post:

   These discussion posts will be posted on my blog,opening up the discussion to those people that have been unable to partake in our live chats, or maybe have a host of reasons for preferring text-based posts over video posts.  I’ll always be posting Facebook post updates about each post either on Anne Rice’s Facebook Fan page, the  Lestat Book Coven Facebook Group page, and the mailing list for the Lestat Book Coven (embedded hyperlink will take you to page to sign up for this)Our next live chat will be July 20th, 2014 via Google Hangout on Air, and we will be discussing the first 100 pages of The Vampire Lestat.”

 

Reading Assignment Details:
In a sense, I’m being retroactive with this assignment, but we will be discussing the first 100 pages of The Vampire Lestat next week , so our live chat regulars may feel like we are backtracking, but this gives a chance for people that have not partook in any our discussions the chance to start now.

So, the first 100 pages of The Vampire Lestat will be what both our live chat on July 20th, and my second discussion post on July 19, 2014 will be mainly dealing with.

Discussion Questions:
1. In the first 100 pages or so, cite any incidences of foreshadowing about Lestat’s eventual transformation into a vampire. What clear signs in his actions, his thoughts, his ideology seems to display  the fact that he’ll  have an easier time adapting, psychologically, to the lifestyle of being a vampire?

2. Ponder Lestat and Nicholas’ relationship. Does their relationship prefigure Lestat’s later relationship with Louis? What are your thoughts on Lestat’s antipathy for superstitions like “witch burnings,” and his existential vexations?

3. How does the scene where Lestat hunts down the wolves, mirror later sequences in Anne Rice’s The Wolf Gift,where the supposed civilized member of society, ventures into the “primordial woods,” to freely express their primeval urges? If you’ve read The Wolf Gift, do you think Anne Rice uses that book to address some ethical or philosophical issues raised in the series? This is based on the first one-hundred pages of this text, but it is a question we will be returning to again and again during our reading of The Vampire Lestat.

Discussion Post, Pertaining to Lestat’s Existential Vexations:



   Throughout the rather stimulating, drunken, mirthful conversations with Nicholas, Lestat begins to fret about the inevitability of death. He feels the pangs of such existential vexations, mainly due to his close, emotional relationship with his mother. Any close observer of the text can see the glaring parallels between Hamlet’s thoughts, expressed eloquently in this iconic soliloquy, and the thoughts brashly expressed aloud and in an alarmed way by Lestat

When I first read The Vampire Lestat,the one element of Lestat’s character story arc that greatly resonated with me occurred during one of many conversations he had with his newly formed friendship with Nicholas. During their first few conversations, the conversations were heady and exciting, reveling euphoria in the youthly sense of immortality and indomitability. In a sense, their conversations reflect the cyclical way our emotional patterns work, much in the same way we often describe the nature of the changing seasons. Dozens of British Romanticist poems often talk about the somberness of winter, the rebirth and renewal of spring, the relaxed, though slightly restless mood of summer, and the increased dread of winter’s pallor during Fall.

In many sense, the conversations between Lestat and Nicholas often undergo a mood shift, which really matches this rapid emotional transformation. According to a more psychological state, Lestat has a very bipolar personality, witnessed by this scene. From the outset of their convivial gatherings, Lestat feels a strong peak of excitement about all the opportunities, awaiting him in the artful city of Paris, France. He is at the apex of his high mood, and any psychologist would often denote this high-peaked happiness as being symptomatic of mania.

When his mood starts to swing, he begins to deliberate and obsessively (almost neurotically threat) over the looming inevitability of “death.” During one of their drunken conversations, Lestat begins to utter aloud “Oh,Oh,” conveying the sudden realization that his grandiose life ambitions are really all for naught or some ephemeral distraction from the ineffable nothingness that death presents.

The notion of death, or our unremitting, continuous fear of it, hides restively in our subconscious,  and it discreetly becomes a huge factor in our decision-making in our lives.  The tragic character of Hamlet begins to muse about how much his encumbering grief over his father’s death, and the fact that his unrighteous murder, has not been vindicated, means that he has not fully lived up to his full life’s potential. If his vengeance is carried out and he had the exact degree of machismo to carry out such a deadly task, he feels, in a sense, that the burden of a wasted life and a meaningless death will be eradicated. But as we know, “death,” can not be destroyed in our psyche in any meaningful way. In our culture’s rather facile and easily dismissible discussions about religion (and whether or not God exists, which is a pathetically stupid question), both extremes of the argument- the self-assured and overconfident religious fundamentalists and atheists- seem to believe that this extreme certitude about their viewpoint on whether or not “God” exists will somehow show that they are impervious to the mortal neurosis of existential dread.

Hamlet speaks his doubts aloud in what is dramatically called a “soliloquy,” which is a dramatic method of eliciting the theater viewers to hear the unspoken, private thoughts of a character. Below the surface of these self-assured, even gloating conversations between the so-called “experts,” talking in ridiculous ways about the fate and meaning of our lives (things that rationally can only be viewed in an agnostic way) there is always a creeping, ineradicable fear of worthlessness and the frightening notion of the nothingness of death being construed to mean that the underlying meaning of our lives is meaningless.

Anyone that calls themselves a seeker-a person that is inquisitive enough to have a strong, ethical sense of intellectual honesty- knows that many of the supposed “answers” to the meaning of our lives are really still undisputed questions. It is is this raw honesty of Lestat that connects readers deeply with the character, from the beginning of the novel, and we are given this transient glimpse into his psyche, before resuming that tale of his rather dramatic actions during the remainder of the tale.

Much like Hamlet, Lestat cannot be pinned down, he is an elusive, deeply complicated character: the type of character that serves as an archetype of the Orpheus or Hamlet types that undergo a strong, ethical, even Plato-esque quest for the meaning of existence. These are the characters that I feel are some of the strongest characters in literature, for they are coherently depicting a quandary that persists in our lives. While they may not have had the jargon that we have for it in a post-modern, these characters reflect a deeper, more paradoxical idea of the existential pursuit of finding the meaning of our existence. It is a question that will never be answered, and we’ll see Lestat try and try again, in a valiant, somewhat futile way, to find the most feasible explanation for the meaning of his existence. Surely, this Orpheus quest will continue in Prince Lestat, as well. Anne Rice did not unconsciously give us a deeper glimpse into the much deeper psychological machinations of her character, if it did not serve as a salient way of understanding the psychological depths of the character of Lestat.

     For now, I leave you with two rather poignant scenes from the film Wit, starring the excellent dramatic actress Emma Thompson. The film has always left an indelible impression on me, maybe because much like Anne Rice’s works, we have a film that is once again probing the much deeper depths and implications of our existence and the fears that emanate from this core fear of ours.

John Donne, Emma Thompson’s character, Lestat, Orpheus, Hamlet are really are archetypes of all the same types of deeply insatiable, inquisitive human beings, who are honestly plumbing the various deep psychological layers and implications of life, death, and the question of whether something like “eternity” even exists.
The one thing we can take away from The Vampire Lestat is to never fear questions, only fear intellectual arrogance and all varieties of intellectual dishonesty that believes the answers already exist for all our deeper questions.

Other Important News:

The Vampire Lestat Contest-Resurrection of the musical’s “Fall from Grace,”-Creating the “Prince Lestat,” Musical!

Back in 2005 and 2006, Elton John and a team of very talented writers and musicians, created the ill-fated, underrated Lestat musical.  Unfortunately, fans that were unable to attend have to rely on some illegal means to either get MP3 recordings of the songs, or to even watch amateurishly filmed videos of performances on Youtube.

To not only celebrated Lestat’s fated return in the form of a new Vampire Chronicles volume,we are going to have an extremely fun contest, which anyone can enter in three different ways.


Example of a track from the Lestat musical. Other tracks are available on Youtube. Just do a general search of “Lestat musical”

*Write a new song for a Prince Lestat musical, expressing the themes of the character of Lestat and the other vampires, which you feel could hypothetically prove important in Anne Rice’s upcoming book. Essentially, if Elton John sent you an email, asking you to help him write a song for a new Lestat musical (not that he has the time and energy, or you have the clout to be recieving this sort of mail), you must write a song then reflecting one of the many themes brought up in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, which may prove important in Prince LestatYou may record yourself singing the song, or even creating instrutmentals for the song, which I will happily share with Anne Rice! But, I will stipulate that this will not help you win the contest.

To be fair to everyone entering this contest, I will be picking someone at random, without the use of Rafflecopter, but I can assure you that it will be completely random, and my subjectivity will not bear any weight on the selection of the winner. I don’t want to dissuade people from entering, daunted by the idea that the “only the best” will win.

Rather, I want your written or recorded entries to be for fun. And, I want to put them all together in both video and text form (create a fake binder script) for Anne Rice, to express our fervent love and admiration for bringing her imaginative world into the public sphere, and letting us all share in our huge showering of gratitude and other effusive words for Anne Rice’s willingness to give us a cathartic world that has taught us to find meaning, substance, and verve in a world that not just Lestat, but others, can become jaded and crushingly disenchanted by the limits of our reality.

So, the prize will consist of:

*a signed, first-edition hardcover of The Vampire Lestat

Due to the creative nature of this contest, you will have till  August 15, 2014 to finish your entries and have them submitted. This contest is open to all people, all over the world, and you are only allowed one entry. Nonetheless, you are free to write as many hypothetical tracks for the hypothetical Prince Lestat musical, but one entry will only be counted to be fair to those with certain time constraints in their lives. It is only fair to give people, with crazy schedules, a chance to win this contest.

So, please send all entries to narniafanatic(at)gmail(dot)com!!

All those subscribed to my newsletter (via email) for the coven will always be told instantly where and when the Coven Live chats are first! So, if you haven’t signed up yet, fill out the form on the Lestat Book Coven Meeting Room Page 

 

*By clicking the photo below of the Prince Lestat cover, you’ll find details on the Barnes and Nobles online website about pre-ordering your own own copy of this  much-anticipated novel!*

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