Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Stephen King!

Photo from: Wikimedia Commons

Stephen King turns 65 today, so I thought I would post a brief thing about my experiences and appreciation for the man.

When I was 11 or 12, I checked out my first Stephen King books from the local library.  The Talisman and It.  I didn't finish It at the time--not because it was too scary, but because it was too long for me at the time.  That's something you gotta build up to, you know?  Even still, that was my first Stephen King book.  I remember the first time I saw the word "fuck" in print.  Part of me felt like giggling, it got my heart racing.  I'd never read such a book before.  And yet, I realized that if I freaked out over this and made a big deal out of it, that would mean that I wasn't mature enough to read these books yet.

Photo by:  astrocoz of Flickr
And I loved those books.  The way King describes those characters as kids still resonates with me.  I could relate to each one of them in one way or another--especially Haystack. I myself was a pudgy kid.  I was a huge dork, and just like Ben, I read a shit ton.  This book pretty much opened the way.

The first Stephen King book I ever actually owned was The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.  It wasn't like the rest of his books, but it was awesome in its own way, and with that Stephen King touch.  The Wasp Creature in the woods was terrifying.  In a way, the book almost felt classical.  It wasn't as literal as his other books.  The way it was written, you could read the book as all a hallucination from the point of view of a starving, scared lost girl, or as something darker lurking in the woods.  Brilliantly written, and one of my first books that was one of my first books that was legitimately from a girl's point of view.

Photo by:  Ronald Eikelenboom
Throughout middle school, I devoured King's books.  I read Christine, then Misery.  I devoured Needful Things and then I discovered the Bachman books.  Roadwork was gloriously full of rage and anger and was a beautifully tragic underdog story.  The Long Walk was twisted and horrifying, and almost plausible.  That one may be one of my favorites. The supernatural stuff is spooky, but the sheer reality of that book, the first time a kid gets shotgunned for falling below the required speed...I got got chills.

I moved away from what you might call "the classics" in high school.  I read Black House when it came out, which led me to read The Dark Tower series--one of my favorites to this day.  Just last year I read Cell and Under the Dome, and I'm currently reading 11/22/63.

Stephen King isn't just a horror writer.  He's written fantasy, science fiction, dramas, romances.  He writes complex characters, and his ear for dialog, for bringing characters to life through their words and actions, is absolutely incredible.  Every time I read a book by him, I get goosebumps and bleed envious green blood.

(Envious Green Blood is the name of my next screamo band.)

Happy birthday, Mr. King.  Thank you very much for all these years of entertainment.  You are truly my favorite writer.

3 comments:

  1. I listened to the Tom Gordon book on a long road trip once, but it was so long ago I can't remember anything about it. I haven't read any of his other fiction books, although I did watch the "It" miniseries with my friend, because every kid needs to watch that show at least once :)

    I LOVE "On Writing," though. I've listened to it a couple of times, and I love that King does the narration. Great stuff.

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  2. I actually highly recommend Lisey's Story. It's a really sweet love story and it's one of the most literary books I've read. Under the Dome is really good as well.

    My wife is terrified of clowns, partially because of that movie. Can you believe that the clown is TIM CURRY? (Also, John Ritter is in it--I remember that. Craziness.)

    I LOVED ON WRITING. It was so good. I liked the writing techniques, but I think the autobiographical stuff was my favorite part. Super interesting.

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  3. Oh, yes, the autobiography parts were the most interesting. I'll have to look up Lisey's Story. Yeah, Tim Curry does the movie monster thing really well. Take it from a girl who grew up watching Legend.

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