The sun is shining and there is nothing but blue skies. I woke up after almost 14 hours of sleep ready to face the world. But when I turned on my laptop and started reading the news…. I found that one of my heroes and idols had died. She was 80 years old but her writing was timeless. I am speaking of Anne Rice. I “met” her once when we were still living in Louisville. We were making our weekly trek to the bookstore and could not figure out why the store was packed with people. Turns out that Anne Rice was there doing a book signing. Since there was no way I would be able to wait the hours it would be to have her sign something (I had not book since I didn’t know she would be there) I called out her name from across the room and waved. She looked up, smiled and waved back.
When we moved back to Michigan I got more involved with her and her writing. Mom found me a signed edition of the 20th anniversary cope of Interview With A Vampire for Christmas one year. I join several of her groups online. I even got an email once in response to one I sent her (this treasure is on my office wall). I also have a tshirt sporting some handwritten notes from a draft of Interview. I even left a voice message for her when her husband died from brain cancer.
Her son, Christopher Rice, went on to become a well known writer in his own right. I was privileged enough to meet him and talk to him at an event in the Ann Arbor Borders Books. Funny thing was I coaxed Dad into going with and meeting him. It was Dad’s first gay author that he met in person. After that Dad started reading more gay books. Christopher signed novels for both of us.
Christopher said that it was almost the exact same day that his father died. I feel like there is a part of me that has become a walled garden. It is not inaccessible but the walls are high and the garden is full and lush. This will be my writing garden. I am grateful for the gifts she has shared with us over the years. I am a better person and a better writer because of her. I will be forever grateful.