Who cares? Kingdoms rise and fall. Just don’t burn the paintings in the Louvre, that’s all.
Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat
I think that my love for vampires was quite obvious on this blog. I even wrote an entire post about fictional vampires which you can check out here if you want to.
Anyway, this obsession started with Lestat. Not the one from the books though, and not even the Tom Cruise version, but the Lestat from The Queen of the Damned film. Yes, I know, the film is quite bad, but for fourteen-year-old me it was the best thing ever, and I still adore the soundtrack. Then the books came and my obsession was sealed. So, I decided that I should honour Lestat with at least a short little post.
For me, Lestat was, and is, a perfect anti-hero. He is a reminiscent of the Romantic, Byronic hero, who acts because he is bored. He is also curious, and has a strong desire to learn and understand the world. And in the end, he appreciates art in all of its forms. The Vampire Lestat is my favourite book from The Vampire Chronicles mostly because of Lestat’s complexity. And this quote decribes him the best. Lestat would rather see the world burn than be bored, he regards people as weak and corrupted, but still sees humanity as something precious. He loves his immortality but grieves for some aspects of mortal life. He wants to feel, even if it means he would get hurt. He loves to enjoy beauty and to experience art.
All of this is contained in this short quote. This quote is Lestat.
…you could feel a vibration in the air, a sense of hastening. It had started with the moon, inaccessible poem that it was. Now men had walked upon it, rubber treads on a pearl of the gods. Perhaps it was an awareness of time passing, the last summer of the decade. Sometimes I just wanted to raise my hands and stop. But stop what? Maybe just growing up.
I’ve recently finished Just Kids by Patti Smith, a memoir about her youth and life with Robert Mapplethorpe. This book made me smile, but it mostly made me cry. I usually experience my emotions inwardly, but this time I actually cried. It’s a book about two people about my age, even younger, and what they have gone through in their search for artistic life is both sad and admirable. I can’t imagine experiencing everything that they did, and compared to theirs my life’s been quite easy. Still, I could understand them and sympathise with their story and emotional turmoils. Certain aspects of the story reflected some of the things I’ve been through, however far-fetched that might sound. Some doubts and questions they had are the same as those that I’ve often asked myself. It’s interesting to enter the mind of someone so different from you and still find traces of yourself. The experiences may be world apart, but emotions are always similar.
Obviously, it’s a book about art and artists. But even more so, it’s a book about life itself, about growing up, being happy and being hurt, about personal growth and maturing which never stops and can never be completed. It’s about finding yourself. It’s also about the ever-changing concepts of love and friendship which escape any definition. Life is complex and erratic, and this books portrays it beautifully. Life can get scary, and growing-up may seem unachievable or even unwelcome. At this point in my life, I realize that being an adult just means pretending to be one (and I admit I’m not good at it). No one truly grows up. It’ a process without end.