Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ode to Stephen King

My high school Creative Writing teacher hated Stephen King. From the day he made that known by chastising me for choosing King as my favorite author (and ripping my paper on him apart), I doubted his abilities to teach me anything. You can't get much more creative than Stephen King. He brings childhood fears to life and amplifies the pre-existing fear in your head. I still look sideways at storm drains and give them wide clearance because I sure as hell don't want to find a clown lurking down there (IT). Whenever a family member has really bad gas pains, I can't help but wonder if a shit weasel is incubating in their lower intestine (Dreamcatcher). I live in Maine and find it entirely plausible that frogs with razor sharp teeth will fall from the sky ("Rainy Season", from Nightmares & Dreamscapes).

I just finished reading Dolores Claiborne for the umpteenth time and I am still blown away by the sheer genius of his work. He tells the story in first person, in the voice of a sixty-five year old Down East Island woman. Dolores' life story is revealed, in great depth and detail, during her confession to the island police, which spans just one night. This is truly a masterpiece and focuses not on supernatural or paranormal fears, but on real life and how decisions or actions impact lives - not necessarily for the better.

Stephen King is a prolific writer and each story stands alone. The characters are unique and nothing ever seems formulaic. From the Dark Tower series to The Green Mile, each is its own unique work.

My creative writing teacher did teach me something after all... 1) I can hold a grudge for almost as long as Stephen King's writing career and 2) My creative writing teacher wasn't creative. (He wore khaki's and sweater vests - that should have been my first clue.)