I Wrote It, Then Realized I Can’t Send It.

Posted: July 27, 2010 in Writing
Tags: , ,

Dear Mr. King:

My mother used to collect every publication of your every book.  It was a little crazy, but it made for easy birthday and holiday ideas.  The Stands and Carries and Firestarters lined the shelves below our TV, creating a little rainbow backdrop of horror for another of my mother’s collections: elegant, lady head vases.  Don’t ask.

Point is, I grew up with you.  You were one of very few constants in my young life (don’t worry; I won’t share any sob stories).  My first of your books was Thinner.  I was about eight or nine when I read it; my mom consulted my sister—who was seven years my senior—on the content before consenting.  They read your stuff, so I wanted to, too.  I never dreamed my mother would actually say yes.  Incidentally, I figured out pretty quickly that she’d made a mistake on this one.  Even a friend of mine commented, after I read her a pretty racy scene, “Your mother lets you read this?”  Yep.  That’s my mom.

It scared the hell out of me when I was about fifteen.  That was probably the first book I ever read that controlled my emotions. I was terrified to sit on the toilet or close my eyes when I took a shower.  I ached for George and the kids tortured by It, and I cried about the puppy in the refrigerator.  Actually, I’m still a little pissed that you did that.  (Ahem, that Henry did that.)  Brilliant, though.  Absolutely brilliant.  That I remember it so clearly—and still have an emotional reaction to it—over a decade later means you know what you’re doing.

You don’t need me to tell you any of this, and I didn’t even mean to say it.  Honestly, I got carried away, and it turns out that I’ve even been a bit misleading.  I’m not a die-hard fan; It was the last of three Stephen King novels I read.  (The one in the middle was The Eyes of the Dragon.)  I decided sometime in college, as a history major, that my reading shouldn’t be wasted on novels.  Rather, I should be learning something.  So I read a lot of boring crap and have forgotten most of it.  I returned to novels sometime in the last couple of years, shortly after I realized that I want to be am a writer.

A friend of mine said to me, “If you want to be a serious writer, you need to join Twitter.  Then, you need to read On Writing by Stephen King.”  Well, she actually said the second one kind of indirectly, via a general recommendation on her blog.  In any event, I’ve now done both, and I’ve been working on a novel.  I hope it doesn’t suck by the time I’m finished; I know now that I’ve already broken some of your cardinal rules.  (Adverb usage being one of them, and opening the door too soon being another.)  But your book was immensely helpful, and it left me feeling like someone actually “gets” me and my way of thinking.

In summary, this was a really round-about way of saying, “Thanks for your book.  I learned a whole lot.”  Finally, now that I’ve thoroughly searched your website and come up empty-handed, I’d like to say that I really wish I could send you my letter, but I understand why your address is a big secret.

Many Blessings,

  1. katdish says:

    You know what? I pride myself on being able to find just about anything or anyone, but Stephen King? Unless you run into him at a Red Sox game, I just don’t think that’s going to happen. That is a great book, isn’t it? And Thinner was the first book you read? Dang. That book must have been a very scary read at 15.

    • Haha, no I was about 8 when I read that one. I read about the sewer clown when I was 15. I don’t remember Thinner scaring me; I just thought it was really weird. And his very candid way of describing sex scenes fascinated me. (It would have fascinated me even if it weren’t candid–I was 8.)

  2. DS says:

    I am only on my second book by Stephen King. He IS a good writer. But I thought he needed to be scarier. But then again, I read The Girl who Loved Tom Gordan and it didn’t freak me out.

    What freaks me out? Books like Davinci code. If you want to be a writer, you must read Dan Brown. He’s brilliant.

    • I haven’t read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I know nothing about it. I can only speak for the three books I did read! (Four, now that I’ve read On Writing.) What I really like about his writing is how easily and naturally his words come out. Nothing is forced; nothing appears over-thought. He just talks. His characters, though sometimes completely ridiculous, become believable. I don’t want to write the types of stories he does; I have zero talent for that, and really zero interest. I would just love to master his easy style. And, like I said, reading his memoir REALLY made me feel like I wasn’t alone! (And it lent credibility to my claim that I really need daily, uninterrupted times of writing. Those who don’t understand, just don’t understand.)

      As for Dan Brown, I’ve read The DaVinci Code, mainly because conservative Christians everywhere were having a collective cow over it. I thought it was brilliantly done–hogwash, but brilliant. I can easily separate a fiction story from reality, and I am the furthest thing from a book-burner. I thought I might read it and see the threat, but I didn’t. I simply disagreed and hoped it would make people read their Bibles more. Anyway, but that’s not why you brought it up. I read the book several years back, way before I fancied myself a writer. All I knew was that I would take writing a paper over taking some test any day; writing was easy for me and the best assignment a professor could have possibly given. 🙂

      At the moment, I’m reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which is immensely entertaining, but so different it makes me laugh. I really like Jane Austen. AND I really like Stephen King. Is that so wrong?

  3. jasonS says:

    Elegant lady head vases? I sort of got stuck after that. It was like, “Stephen King… something, something… what the heck is a lady head vase?” Sounds like something serial killers would have. I’m glad you described them as ‘elegant’ or may I have found the whole idea creepy. 🙂

    I need to read Mr. King’s book on writing, but I know I won’t be reading much of his other stuff. I get freaked out too easily.

    • Click here to learn more about those lady head vases, and other interesting collections. 🙂 Creepy is a descriptor not far off the mark.

      You will definitely enjoy On Writing. Definitely. But I’ll tell you the same thing I told Macayla… Caution: He’s very blunt.

      • jasonS says:

        I can handle blunt. I’m friends with Katdish, aren’t I?

        Those vases are very interesting. I think they were probably created by a sexist man who believes that women’s heads should be or are either filled with flowers or empty space. 🙂 I can read into anything. It’s a gift.

  4. macayla says:

    I had an English teacher friend recommend Stephen King to me yesterday. I forget which book he’s lending me, but it will be next summer before I read it due to my reading load for the spring semester. Knowing that you like King, too, makes me look even more forward to reading it.

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