Phone Message Transcript: Mar. 10, 1997
[appearing on Anne's fan phone line]

"Hi, everyone. This is Saturday, oh gosh, I knew what it was a minute ago, give me a minute, it's March 8th. And I have been sick for a week with just routine, kind of mundane, things. So I haven't been updating the message machine but I've been reading all of your transcripts of all your messages and listening to your messages.

First of all, for those of you who watched POLITICALLY INCORRECT on the 3rd of March, thank you for your support. Thank you for the kind and interesting things that you've said. (laughing) I did have a lot of fun on the show and I'm glad that we didn't receive any negative response on that, although you can leave a one minute message on this machine, and you're certainly welcome to leave negative as well as positive responses.

Secondly, let me mention again that VIOLIN, my new novel, will be published in October of 1997. I probably will not tour this year at all, and the good thing about this for me is that I'm going to have a lot more time to write. And I do want, and this is in answer to one of the questions, by the way, that's come in, I do want to do several small vampire novels--PANDORA and ARMAND particularly. ARMAND is fast growing into something much bigger than a small novel, and it's really, I'm taking it in directions I never dreamed it would go. But PANDORA is writing itself also in my head, and it's a very short novel about how this ancient vampire, Pandora, met Marius in ancient Roman times.

I've lost my ability to daydream. All my life I've suffered from attention deficit disorder and have had a heavy daydream problem, and I've never really daydreamed what I wrote. In fact, just the opposite. I've had to clear the daydreams out to write. Well, now for some reason I can't daydream. The daydreaming is gone and what I can do is write almost continuously in my head. I think this is a good thing. What's your opinion? Does it sound like a good thing? I really don't (laughing) really know.

Let me tell all you from out of town, thank you for putting up with listening to my messages about local preservation and mystery and romance. But I appreciate particularly those of you who call from cities where you have lost historical buildings and you've shown such support for New Orleans, wanting to preserve its heritage. I think it's terribly important that all of us in cities all over America conserve our old buildings and keep our streets beautiful, and continue to plant beautiful trees. I think this last year I was able to plant about five oak trees and in 1997 I hope to be able to plant about ten. And every time I plant an oak tree, I just, I can't explain what it's like. It's, it's, there's no other tree like it, because it's an oak. And it just fills me with happiness.

I also want to recommend to you if you're boning up for the Academy Awards, if you're interested in all the attention that the movie, that FARGO is getting, I recommend that you go back and watch the movie BLOOD SIMPLE, which was also made by the Coen Brothers, who made FARGO. It has the same actress in it who starred in FARGO, and I think BLOOD SIMPLE is a very, very interesting complicated movie. I watched it last night and it increased, as always, well I watched for the third time, but it increased my admiration for the Coen Brothers and their films. I think they really do some astonishing stuff. I'm behind in everything else, so I don't have any really good recommendations, except to say, you know, I'm a disc watcher and I'll catch up slowly. And I appreciate the movies that you recommend to me. Of course I'll see HAMLET and of course I'll see EVITA and of course I'll catch up with all of that when it comes out on disc. I keep missing these things at a theater. It's just absolutely maddening.

The book I have planned on Jesus Christ is a very, very serious book. It's nothing trifling, it's nothing disrespectful and it's nothing satirical. There's nothing meant to be comic, though I think there's going to be comedy involved. There had to be some comic aspects in Christ's life that were expunged by early writers. And I am going to draw very heavily on a great deal of material, both canonical material, that means gospels that are accepted by the churches, and also non-canonical material, gospels that were long ago rejected by one church or another or accepted by one and rejected by another. I just wanted to say that I appreciate your calls of support on that. It's really the book that I hope to have completed by this fall, and to be published in 1998. But ARMAND and the other vampire novels will also appear.

Again, let me tell you that RAG AND BONE, our TV series is in progress and they have their own office. I can't take messages for them. In answer to your questions, yes, I'll be very involved in the series. I'll be very involved in a daily level and one person called and asked my opinion of THE BIG EASY and ORLEANS. I haven't seen THE BIG EASY, so I really don't know what it's like. I did see ORLEANS and I thought it missed the boat. It just didn't get New Orleans. I think one of the things we're trying to do with RAG AND BONE is that we're trying to immerse everybody in this city who is involved in the project. They're really getting to hear the voices, they're really eating the food, they're really walking the streets, they're really getting the feel of what New Orleans is like. I really don't know anything about the production of the other shows. Another person asked if our show would be a horror show, the THE X-FILES. It's not going to be that kind a horror show, really. It's going to involve a ghost, who I think is a very alluring and very mysterious ghost, but then I love ghosts, I'm prejudiced in their favor and that ghost will be a very important moral force in the series. And the series will have a very spiritual, moral tone to it, which is obviously something that's come to dominate my work, whether one wants to call it metaphysical horror or religious thriller, or you know (laughing), I don't know, magical spiritual realism. Whatever. Anyway, the series will have that spiritual flavor. It will have, it won't just be to scare you. It's not going to be just to go Boo! It's not going to be the kind of morally empty stuff that has sometimes been made for television. We care very much about what we're doing. We care about our characters very, very much.

And thanks for all your questions again. I wish I had some more interesting news. I want to repeat I am being sued by Mr. Al Copeland over my remarks about his restaurant, Straya. I still think the restaurant is hideous and I will not sue Mr. Copeland, so I just wanted you to be aware of this as my readers, that every word I say to you, everything I do is being scrutinized, apparently by people who have an interest in this lawsuit. But I think so, anyway. That's my personal opinion. But anyway, that's very clear, as it seems to be becoming more and more important. But I will not bring a retaliatory suit against Mr. Copeland.

So I just wanted to state that and I urge you to care about your city, care about New Orleans, love it, because God knows it's hard sometimes to live here. And when I watch the City Council meetings on television, and I wonder how in the world Peggy Wilson, Christina Ford, Oliver Thomas and Jim Singleton, and all the other people whose names, unfortunately, I can't always remember, I wonder how they have the patience to do what they do. But I admire them and I admire them for struggling with the system here, for struggling with all of the contradictions we face in New Orleans. I really couldn't do that job for a minute. I just (laughing), I just, and I want the system to work. I want very much to believe in our Councilmen and Councilwomen and I want to believe in the Mayor's Commission, and I want to believe in the Mayor. I'm very deeply admiring of the Mayor and his remarks on television recently about poverty in New Orleans and how important it is that we change it.

In any event, that's all I have to say. Someone did call tonight and tell me to get out of town, and I would like to say that it has occurred to me several times in the last two weeks to do that, to actually leave New Orleans. That maybe, as beautiful as it is to live here, as wonderful as it is, it's just too difficult to get things done. It's complicated, but I've come to the conclusion that I'll never leave my home. It's my home and I love it, and I enjoy the business enterprises that I'm involved in, our company, Kith & Kin, our tours, the restaurants that we're planning, the doll museum, all these different projects, and I'm going to hang in there, even if it saps a lot of energy from me. I'm going to hang in there and I have to disappoint that person--I'm not going to get out of town (laughing). I'm going to stay right here in New Orleans, which I love very, very much.

And I send my love to all of you tonight. Thank you for listening, and please do leave a message or a question or whatever, I can't respond personally but believe me, I listen to everything you have to say."