Author Anne Rice Shares Her Journey Back to Faith

By Behe, Regis | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 9, 2008 | Go to article overview

Author Anne Rice Shares Her Journey Back to Faith


Behe, Regis, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


When Anne Rice started college at a small school in Texas, her home wasn't the only thing she left behind. Her Catholic faith, which sustained her growing up in New Orleans, also fell by the wayside.

"I was 18 and became really confused," Rice says from her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. "I lost my faith and truly stopped talking to God."

According to Rice, God didn't reciprocate her disinterest. In "Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession," the woman who made a fortune writing about the adventures of vampires and others "doomed to marginality or darkness" recounts how she regained her faith after years of being an atheist.

How did her faith lapse? Rice was young and in love with the man she would marry, Stan Rice. Everyone else at Texas Women's University in Denton, Texas, seemed more knowledgeable than she. Her fellow students, well-versed in Heidegger, Immanuel Kant, Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, "were good and wholesome people."

"I think God allows us free will, and he allowed me to lose faith," Rice says, quickly adding "and he allowed me to come back."

Rice explains that throughout her years of atheism, she was pursued by God, although she didn't realize it. And that pursuit was manifested via her novels. In "Called Out of Darkness," Rice writes "these books transparently reflected a journey through atheism and back to God. It is impossible not to see this."

"There were definitely different signs, and I did ignore them," says Rice, 67. "Those books were always talking about religion in a different way. They were talking about my grief for a lost faith."

While the emphasis of "Called Out of Darkness" is Rice's born- again spirituality, there also are nuggets of information that provide insight into her creative process. Rice does not consider herself a literary writer in the sense of being influenced by words. She writes at length about her difficulty with reading and describes her childhood faith as "pre-literate" and how, as a child, she felt "frustrated and shut out" of books.

Rice suggests her overwhelming success as a novelist is due to her reliance on auditory and visual experiences.

"That was the path I took," she says. "I became a particular kind of writer, decoding things in a sensual and tactile way that spoke directly to the heart of many things. …

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