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Anne Rice on regrets, legalizing marijuana and the Sexual Revolution

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Writers, especially famous ones, are typically very private people. Choosing to spend most of their time alone with their thoughts and a computer, the only interaction with their audience becomes the few book signings they are scheduled to attend after completion of their work. Readers who want to know more about their favorite authors are often left to the mercy of the generic information located under the writer’s picture on the back of their book.

Other authors pick and choose the personal information released to the public by writing their own autobiographies while even more have their own web sites or Facebook pages that, unfortunately, they have very little to do with and which are usually run by an assistant or publisher.

Anne Rice is not one of those writers.

The ground-breaking author of over thirty novels including “The Vampire Chronicles”, “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches” and her latest, “Prince Lestat” to be released October 28th, 2014 is as famous for her personal interaction with her fans via Facebook and e-mail as she is for her novels. She relishes open communication with her readers and goes above and beyond to personally respond to as many posts as possible.

Now, in another revealing and candid interview, Anne Rice answers questions regarding why she’s for legalizing marijuana, who she would love to interview and what she would be doing if she wasn’t a best-selling author.

Once again, here are her answers:

1 - You have posted many articles on legalizing marijuana, have you ever tried it and, if so, what was your experience like?

My experience with marijuana is very limited. I smoked it likely less than ten times in the 60's and 70's. I didn't like it. I had a dreadful experience on marijuana in the early 70's. I "saw" or felt I saw that we might die without ever discovering the answer as to why we’re here --- that annihilation might come to us at death and we'd never know that we'd died, let alone why we'd lived. I never really got over that experience. It altered me forever. (I wrote about it in the Vampire Lestat, giving it to Lestat while he is drinking wine in an Inn with his friend, Nicholas.) What distresses me about marijuana is that it's illegal, and it seems to me the laws against it have not worked, limited any kind of meaningful research into its medical properties, and resulted in the creation of a criminal class that is a continuing negative force in our society. I could go on but I think you see what I'm saying. Make it legal, study it, and control the abuse of it as we do with alcohol. That's what I would like to see.

2 - What is your favorite city to live in? Why?

Well, it varies, but I'd have to say New Orleans. I've had my happiest times in New Orleans, and if I could, I’d have a pied a terre in the French Quarter there now so I could live there part of the year. But I have also loved San Francisco, New York and Rome very much. I love great cities, period. Love Boston, love Los Angeles. But New Orleans is the all-time favorite.

3 - What was your favorite place to visit? Why?

This changes all the time. I crave novelty and want to visit all kinds of places. No favorite when it comes to visiting really. I have been to Italy four times, however and that speaks for itself, considering I've been to Paris three times, and England three times and Israel twice. I love visiting Italy because of the physical beauty of the country, and the architecture and the layers of history from Etruscan times through Roman times through the medieval times to the Baroque and the Rococco. The cities of Rome, Florence, Venice, Assisi and Siena are engulfing realities, that transport one out of the modern world into earlier times. I love this.

4 - If you could interview anyone alive or dead who would it be and why?

Jesus Christ, of course. I'd love to ask him what was his time on earth like, what did he come to achieve, and how does he feel about what he did achieve. I would love to ask him hundreds of specific questions.

5 - What is your biggest regret so far?

Hard to say. I deliberately live as to not have regrets. I weigh my decisions in terms of not wanting to regret anything later on. And I don't dwell on regret when I do feel it. Right now, I regret having sold my Victorian home in the Castro. I'd love to own that house right now. But this is a small and recent regret. I'm likely to forget it soon. As I said, I'm not into regretting. Of course as I get older I share a regret with just about everybody who's ever lived in feeling that I might have spent more time being present in my life, not so worried, agitated, unable to enjoy what's happening to me. Wasn't that Emily's regret in Thornton Wilder's "Our Town?" I think it was.

6 - If you weren't able to write, what would you want to do?

Dictate my thoughts into a tape recorder, of course. But do you mean: what would I have been if I had not become a writer? Likely a lawyer. I seriously considered law school at one point. It was the only thing that tempted me from being a writer; and likely I would have ended up being a lawyer novelist like Scott Turow if I had gone to law school. Legal problems fascinate me. I like reading my contracts --- for novels and for film rights -- and I ponder the logic of the language a lot. Making "fine distinctions” or "appropriate distinctions" in an argument is an obsession with me.

7 - In your life, you have witnessed many amazing changes to the world. What do you believe has been the biggest game changer in terms of helping and hurting mankind?

The Sexual Revolution of the 20th and 21st centuries. Hands down. ---- This has been the big game changer for human beings in my life time. The civil rights revolution had its roots in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even the rise of the child as a full human being began in the 18th century, gained traction in the 19th and flowered in the 20th. But the Sexual Revolution was and is the key revolution of my contemporaries. The right of every man and woman, gay, straight, black, white etc. to have a good sex life with her consenting adults, to express their sexuality in clothing, speech, expressions of affection in public, and in the privacy of their bedroom --- this has been magnificent. When I was a kid in college in the 60's, girls got expelled if they were found alone off campus in a boy's apartment. The boys weren't expelled. But the girls were. Within a very short time after that the whole thing changed. Newspaper columnists like Abby or Ann Landers were suddenly advising parents on how to treat their college kid's live in roommate. The flower children spread the word that sex was good and healthy. So did psychiatry. When the revolution clashed with the values of some feminists in the 70's and 80's, the gays picked up the banner, and in fighting for their full sexual acceptance essentially fought for that right for all of us. Margaret Mead said once that it all began in the days of Prohibition, when women started going out unaccompanied with men, and when men and women came to be alone in automobiles. I suspect she's right; the great costume changes of the early 20th century certainly reflect the huge shift in societal values. We live in a magnificent world now where women are out of the closet, gays are out of the closet and even the most persecuted transgender individuals are obtaining their civil rights. The world has never seen such a time as this. It's thrilling, challenging, liberating and wondrous.

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