Phone Message Transcript: Feb. 17, 1997
[appearing on Anne's fan phone line]

"Hello everybody it's Sunday evening, it's the 16th of February, Mardi Gras has come and gone, and we're all in that in that sort of peaceful Lenten mode that follows Mardi Gras, and some of us, perhaps, like me right now, are thinking about how lucky we are just to be alive and to be in New Orleans, and to be part of this city, and everything that it embraces. Sometimes it really does seem to me that life here is like a dream. I lie in my bed, I can look out a window, I can see a white column rising to hold up the porch, capitol of that column is a beautifully curved Greek canthus leaf. The column is fluted and descends to the ground, there's a beautiful black cast iron railing all filled with iron roses, weaving in and out through which I can look at the trees and sky, and then, let me get to the tree, beyond the column stands the tree. A great big majestic oak, one of two that are called hurricane oaks because of their huge roots that come out of the ground like parts of an elephant, they make the whole tree look elephantine somehow. In any event, the branches when they reach the sky are far smaller, and more gentle and more delicate and winding. The big big branches have long ago perhaps been cleared for the electric wires, maybe for some lesser purpose, I don't know, but what's left is a beautiful open framework, a beautiful fan-like of a tree, through which to see the sky, and all the leaves are so delicately placed that it seems when a breeze comes whether it's from the river, or from the north or the south or the east or the west, whatever, it seems as if every leaf dances in that breeze in its own way. Every leaf in New Orleans knows how to dance to the wind every leaf in New Orleans knows how to shiver when the rain hits it, every leaf in New Orleans knows how to shudder and to drop that rain water back off into the air. It really does seem like heaven. The sky truly does turn lavender in the evening time, it is a beautiful cobalt blue on a clear day like today was, and so many days during Mardi Gras, and even though the city is grey and overcast we seem sometimes to be living in caverns of green. Even the smallest nooks and crannies of the garden where no sun penetrates are shrouded and curtained wth green. It really is a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful place that we live in and I thank God everyday for his tender mercy that I'm allowed to live in it.

I have some information for those of you who are Anne Rice readers, and want this information, my new book VIOLIN, which I wrote some time ago, as you know, will be published, they finally settled on a pub date, and it will be October of 1997. Now that's a little later than our last two pub dates, we've published in July and we've published in August, but there are a lot of virtues to that October pub date. It brings us closer to Halloween, which is always fun, also it means that when you come out to the signings, it won't be very hot, so you won't have to worry about carrying bottles of water and perhaps dropping from heat stroke, because people did last year, and also it means it gives me a longer stretch of time in which to work on the novel I'm now working on, which means so much to me, Armand. In fact Armand, which is really SONATA FOR MARIANNE, that's the actual title of it, I know I change these titles so often I should be ashamed; but SONATA FOR MARIANNE is the title for Armand. Armand, I hope it will actually be done, I hope, long before October and it's just possible that the publisher will find some way to squeeze it in as a summer publication. I hope so. I really don't know. As I said this is one of those days where I just thank God that I'm alive, I thank God for all his tender mercies, I thank God for the flowers that bloom, for the trees that line our street, for the streetcar rocking by on its silver tracks. I thank God for everything that makes New Orleans so special and unique. I'm sure, somehow, that we will solve the problems that upset us as Americans and as New Orleanians: the crime, the poverty, the unemployment. Everything. All of those things, everything can be conquered. This paradise is too sweet. Nature has given us too much beauty, beauty must be an example, surely, of the harmony that we can attain in our lives if we really try.

I want to thank you for your calls. I read all of the messages very carefully, if I don't listen to them myself, I listen to the transcriptions made by my angels, and they write down every word faithfully, and I'm very familiar with your thoughts and feelings and I cherish them hold them to my heart.

I wish I had a new movie to recommend, but I spent the afternoon watching my old favorite IMMORTAL BELOVED. I've watched IMMORTAL BELOVED, as you know, I mentioned it before, I love this movie and it was a great inspiration to me in writing VIOLIN. But I watched IMMORTAL BELOVED today because I'm just as involved in music again in SONATA FOR MARIANNE, in Armand's novel, as I was in VIOLIN. It's a different instrument this time, it's a different type of involvement, it's a different form of expression, let's hope to God every novel is different than the one before it, let's hope to God every novel is better than the one that came before it. But in any event, that's the only movie I have to recommend, the old stand by, IMMORTAL BELOVED. If you haven't seen it treat yourself to it, you will love Gary Oldman in this movie. You will love Jerome Crabey, you will love all of the wonderful people who make this just a special, special, special movie. And I also want to tell you again how much I loved EVITA. I can not understand how the Oscars could shut out EVITA. I don't know where the Academy is coming from, maybe it is time for some letters and some cards and some notes to the Academy to ask them what in the world they were thinking of that they could overlook a beautiful, original, eccentric, extraordinary, and absolutely dazzling accomplishment like EVITA. If anybody deserved an Oscar, surely it was Antonio Banderas, and Madonna in the lead role as Evita, certainly if anyone deserved credit for film editing it was it was the people who put together the beautiful, incredible footage that makes the background of that film; but, alas the ways of the Academy are not our ways, and all we can do is look forward to saying we're looking forward to seeing that movie on the big screen again and again and again before it leaves the theaters. I want to thank you for calling, God bless you. Whatever you're doing I wish you the very best tonight. If you're writing, if you're reading, if you're dreaming, if you're planning...whatever it is if it's good under God's Heaven, I wish you all the best, all my love, Anne Rice."