Before you take me too literally, let me qualify that—I’m becoming a fan of Stephen King the writer. Prior to a couple weeks ago I’d never read a word King wrote; I don’t like being terrified. Ever since Miss Gultch turned into the Wicked Witch of the North before my very young eyes, I’ve preferred to keep my distance from scary. I screamed out loud in the theater when the alien appeared in the TV reflection in “Signs”.
However, some of the top Christian writers recommend “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”, (with a warning about the language), for learning about writing and being a writer from one of the most prolific and successful contemporary American writers. So I read it. I was stunned. The guy can really write! And the language is really bad!
It’s fascinating to read the autobiographical part of the book that tells about King’s formative years as a writer. Of course, since I’m a psychotherapist, I was also reading for psychological and personality development. When your babysitter locks you in the closet and generally abuses you, no wonder you write scary things. And oh so much more that explains who Stephen King is.
What emerges in the book is a vivid picture of King and his approach to writing. I’m inspired. He didn’t get where he is fooling around at writing. He also doesn’t fool around at life. He’s a devoted husband of one wife, father, and grandfather. I looked at a video clip of an interview with King and his wife five months after King’s near-fatal accident June ’99. They seem to be the people he writes they are: genuine and loving.
Currently I’m reading a collection of short stories by King. I’m reading with one eye to learning about plot development. He sure makes things happen: things the reader believes, even if they’re unbelievable.
Will I read any of King’s three inch thick horror stories? Probably not—I have enough trouble sleeping.