Anne Rice's "Servant of the Bones" Diary

Spirit and Spam in America's heartland

By Anne Rice
Published September 16, 1996 6:18PM (EDT)

our bus trip continues to be spectacular. We made three wonderful stops in Memphis. We were mobbed in Little Rock and in Oklahoma. We loved it. We were overwhelmed; grateful. This tour is invaluable in that it is teaching me about Middle Americans. In Tulsa and in Oklahoma City, it was clear that my novels were respected as very spiritual, almost religious, works. In the heart of the Bible Belt we encountered some of our most dedicated readers and some of our most interesting questions.

Everywhere now, some people ask us about headdresses. We wear jeweled headdresses made by Cindy Ridgeway. We discovered them only just before we left, and they have been a sensation with the readers, for they suggest the Babylonian theme of Servant of the Bones. Recently, people have asked how they may reach Cindy. Cindy's company is Cerridwen's Creations. Cindy's telephone #: 504-948-7271. She has an Internet address also -- These headdresses are worked with semiprecious stones and fine handwork in metal. They have made such an impression that I can't help but wonder what would have happened if we had not run into Cindy two days before we left on the tour.

The costumes of the readers have been marvelous. Everywhere we encounter new designs in leather, black velvet capes, vintage lace, medieval tunics and stunning face make-up. Of course, we'll see all these things on the fashion runway in about two years. My readers are always about two years ahead of their time. Sometimes I think a designer should come to a signing to get a cue to what will be "in."

The range of the readership, especially in Arkansas and Tennessee and Oklahoma, was astonishing. There really is no typical reader of our books. We have encountered one beautiful male baby named Lestat. Too cool! We loved it!

In Memphis, we took the day off to go to Graceland. I have a new respect for Elvis as a rugged individual. His imagination encourages me to dress in gold lami for the rest of my life. Everywhere we go our gold tennis shoes attract attention. There is nothing to it -- you just take ordinary shoes and spray them gold.

What this tour continues to show is that people want individuality, passion and devout romance. They want books with heroes and heroines, not merely victims. They are profoundly concerned with how I feel here, and they are very demanding in their tastes.

At times the tour seems to be a dream. Our bus rolls over miles and miles of country to one great gathering after another.

We've been fascinated to discover that there's so much information about us on the Internet -- almost all of it is incorrect, but it will take more time for me to address specific parts. Everywhere we go we wear our Clinton/Gore and Hillary buttons. We get whispers of interested response over and over even in the most normal Republican strongholds. I've never felt so close to my country and didn't understand it as a whole as I do now. The life of the coast is only one form of American life. Huge bookstores are crowded with enthusiastic teenagers all over Middle America. We sign from five to eight hours a night. I'm already dreaming of a tour for the next novel, on which we can take several violinists along. Everywhere we go we play the music of Alison Krause, the bluegrass violinist and singer. People love it.

Let me ask you guys a question -- in the next two weeks I am going to Hollywood to try to personally see Mel Gibson. I want to ask him to play Michael Curry. His recent movie, "Braveheart," left me astonished. I feel he now ranks not only as a great director, but with our great souls. Of course, Mr. Gibson may not be able or willing to see me, but I am going West with that purpose in mind. If I have to go Australia, I will do it, to politely ask for a few minutes of his time. What do you think about this? What did you think of "Braveheart"? Didn't you find this a concept of incredible beauty and depth? Wasn't it astonishing to you that the star of "Lethal Weapon" would want to make such an awe-inspiring film as "Braveheart"? It's terribly important to me to talk to Mr. Gibson personally, but of course, I will only go through the proper channel -- not disturb his privacy, and will do my best to behave in a civilized manner.

The "Witching Hour" script, of course, belongs to Warner Bros. It has long ago been submitted to Mel Gibson but the older I get and the longer I go on, the more I feel a need to contact those whom I admire. That's my own thoughts on this matter. Also, "Servant of the Bones" has been withdrawn from the marketplace in Hollywood. I've come to realize that Azriel's adventures will be a series, and I do not want to lock it up as I did with the Vampire Chronicles. I want to develop many more stories with Azriel before I sell off performance rights. Also, I want to attempt a radio show of Azriel's adventures. We would broadcast weekly, live from New Orleans, then tapes of the shows could be rebroadcast during commuter hours later in the week. I have to go home to New Orleans to find the old radio geniuses, the people who knew how to do live drama on radio. I'm hoping we can lure magnificent voices to the South and I have a deep suspicion that for many of them, the idea of living radio shows of serious content -- the adventures of a metaphysical superhero -- is going to turn out to be a brilliant idea.

I am seeking a purchaser in Hollywood for my novel "Violin." This is a passionate and great story to which I know there can be no sequel.

Talk to me, guys. Would you tune in on Monday to catch up with Azriel in radio as enthusiastically as we children used to do in the 1940's, to catch up with the Lux Radio Theater, The Suspense, Mecury Radio Theater or Sherlock Holmes? I see a great opportunity for creative freedom in radio. A return to radio drama is tremendously exciting. If people in the smallest towns in Kansas and Oklahoma curl up at night with my books, I cannot help but feel that they would love an outpouring of words from the radio. But then I was born in 1941 and nothing has ever replaced the excitement for me for radio.

That's all for now. We are in Kansas. I don't know how well we'll do tonight. The State Fair is in town and there is a Spam recipe contest going on and a live shark show. We may have a very small signing, indeed. As a person who has eaten more than her share of Spam, I can't blame people for wanting to go to the State Fair rather than our signing. By the way, the best recipe for Spam is to slice it and fry it on Brer Rabbit Molasses and then serve it with canned yams. I will not have time to go to the contest, but it certainly has been an inspiration.
Last wacko note -- last night in Oklahoma City, a young woman came through the line with a knock-down gorgeous, to die for, Antonio Banderas T-shirt. There was Antonio, his brow furrowed, leaning against the barrel of his gun, his long curls writhing like the curls of Azriel. I offered her $100 on the spot for the shirt and other helpful people offered her alternate clothes, but she would not sell it. I understand her devotion to Antonio. Now I know I should have gone to $300. The shirt, by the way, was connected with the movie "Desperado."

Antonio! Mel Gibson! Talent, beauty, lust!

Until next week.

Anne Rice

Anne Rice


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