...and the trouble she discovers.
I remember thinking to myself as a twelve year old junior high student that there was something special about the library wall my Father dedicated to Stephen King. The fact that my Mother started checking out The Green Mile installments from the library when she was better known for browsing the home and gardening section also caused me to wonder what all the fuss was about. I decided then to take matters into my own hands and find out, for myself, what could be between those pages that kept my parents rapt attention.
I walked up to my Fathers night stand where a mountain of books,constantly being rotated, seemed to always linger and grabbed the first two King novels I could locate; Tommy Knockers and Carrie. It may shock you to find that I put back Carrie, the thinner of the two, and opened up Tommy Knockers. I fell into that book like I imagine the famished falling into a plate of Grandmothers’ best cooking. I devoured those characters and made them real. When I was finished I was more than ready for the next in line.
I no longer remember the succession in which I read my Fathers library but a few moments stand out that I hold dear. The summer between eighth grade middle school and ninth grade high school was nerve racking but it may hold one of my favorite memories. I had watched the television mini-series starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown in IT religiously. My brother and I would rent the double VHS from the local video store as often as possible. As I began to near the end of the book I remember sitting in the living room with Dad as he cranked up the family stereo while it played Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. During the track Money Eddies end scene comes to climax and tears began rolling down my face. Forever linked in my mind, when I hear any song from that album, is Eddie Kaspbrak in a sewer and my Father hooking up an old Super Nintendo. In that order.
It wasn’t until I finally picked up the dog eared copy of The Stand did something within me click. This was my story, these were my characters, and there was no turning back. I read, re-read, and absorbed that book more than a dozen times during my four years of high school. I don’t believe there was ever a time I wasn’t reading the book. I believe it got to the point I was just going over my favorite chapters again and again. To this day I am able to open to any page, any paragraph, any sentence and know exactly where the story is. Nick Andros had become my personal savior and Randall Flagg gave shape to all of my nightmares.
Dad kept telling me, though, there was something better than The Stand. Surely that could not be true and I adamantly told him so. He continued to push the Dark Tower series on me until I made a deal with him; one I thought would never come to fruition. I would begin the story when old man King finally ended the series. This constant reader was no dope! I knew how long he’d been working on it and thought he’d never finish it like so many other fans believed. Little did I know that something inside of Stevie had found Roland again and he did, indeed, finish the series. It took me a long time to finish - I’d say a good two years even with all seven novels at my disposal in my Fathers library. I was looking for another Stuart Redman or Mother Abigail. I was looking for a world wide epidemic but what I found instead was a drug rattled addict, a boy with two lives, an angry black woman, and Deschain himself. Never having been a fan of westerns I wasn’t appreciative of Roland or his story. It’s only now, with distance and time, do I understand how epic the tale really is. I have a huge bone of contention with King writing himself into the story but it doesn’t take away from the general grandeur that surrounds the gunslinger and his friends. As for the ending; well I can’t spoil it for those who have not read it but that bastard horn. God damn that bastard horn.
For over half of my life I have been entertained by one Mister Stephen King. Not only has his work filled many hours of my day that may have otherwise been spent killing brain cells but he has added an adhesive to the bond that I share with my Father. Pops and I have a long standing debate on whether or not what Jessie saw as Death in Gerald’s Game is (or is not) the same creature that was stalking little Trish in The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon. I certainly don’t believe they’re related but Dad is adamant that they are. I believe what I’m really trying to say is this; thank you. Thank you for inspiring nightmares, dreams, and arguments for they have given me and those I love an infinite amount of pleasure.
I remember thinking to myself as a twelve year old junior high student that there was something special about the library wall my Father dedicated to Stephen King. The fact that my Mother started checking out The Green Mile installments from the library when she was better known for browsing the…