How I got into Stephen King

I don’t like all Stephen King books but I can’t deny he is a master of the horror genre. And the books of his that I do like, I like because they entertain me as a reader, not a writer. I get transported into that world and I don’t want to leave because there’s something there in the terror that feels like home.

So when I was a kid, my mom went to Pennsylvania for a conference or something and first I got scared because I didn’t hear Pennsylvania, I heard Transylvania and I thought Dracula was going to kill her. I was corrected rather quickly about that before I could realize that if Dracula “killed” her she could turn into a vampire and have a pretty cool life after that.

But then after we dropped her off at the airport my dad said something about how her plane might crash, a possibility that had never popped into my head before even though I had my first plane ride when I was 3, and when we got home he put on The Langoliers.

And I fucking loved it.

I loved the creepy abandoned airport, I love how the characters could pick through other people’s stuff and explore things that seemed ordinary but were really out of the ordinary.

I loved the little girl, I wanted to be her. I loved the tough Australian guy, I wanted to marry him and I was sad when he died. I loved the pilot and his bravery flying the plane through the rip in reality knowing that if he fucked it up they would all die. I even liked the guy who ripped up paper, even though he was also kinda creepy. And I felt kinda bad that he was messed up. But I also loved it when the Langoliers ate him.

I could go on and on about those characters. I think it’s one of the few stories where I like every single character, which doesn’t happen often.

I hot-glued cotton balls to a rock and drew teeth on it. I am not artistic. It was an albino langolier. Whatever.

I thought those monsters were fucking adorable. And if you think about it, knowing that a toothy, round monster thing eats the past is kind of comforting because everything embarrassing or humiliating that ever happened to you is, technically, gone now.

And that’s how I got into Stephen King.

Wonderful, Brilliant Uses of the Semi-Colon

“That was how it began, that was all it meant to me; I am not sure now, in spite of everything, that it ever really meant more than that to me.”

“I scarcely remember her at all, yet she figured in my nightmares, blind with worms, her hair as dry as metal and brittle as a twig, straining to press me against her body; that body so putrescent, so sickening soft, that it opened, as I clawed and cried, into a breach so enormous as to swallow me alive.”

Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin, 1956

Octavia Butler, “Devil Girl From Mars” Transcript of Remarks at MIT, 1998

This was not a book about prophecy; this was an if-this-goes- on story. This was a cautionary tale, although people have told me it was prophecy. All I have to say to that is “I certainly hope not.”

*

I have a verse here that I want to read to you from my novel, Parable of the Talents, which I’m just finishing. I should be at home finishing it right now. And the Monica Lewinsky story is why I brought this verse. Here it is:

Beware! All too often, we say what we

hear others say. We see what we are

permitted to see. Much worse, we see what

we’re told that we see. Repetition and pride

are the keys to this. To hear or to see even

an obvious lie again and again and again, is

to say it, almost by reflex, and then to

defend it because we have said it, and to

embrace what we’ve defended. Thus

without thought or intent, we make mere

echoes of ourselves and we say what we

hear others say.

Read the full transcript here.