Friday, October 1, 2010
I Owe It All to Stephen King
I always wanted to be a writer when I was a kid. I used to write stories all the time. When I read my first Stephen King book, It, when I was in Junior High School, I changed all my writing projects from that point on. I turned everything I wrote into a scary story or thriller. I added in skeletons, haunted attics, and occult happenings as often as I could. The annual paper "What I did this summer" was never the same for my poor teachers after that.
I am a little bit more than just a Stephen King fan, but I am also a little less than a scary stalker. When I was about 19 or so the book Wizard and Glass came out. This was the forth book in the famed Dark Tower Series. I loved this series and was so excited to get this installment.
At first I was disappointed with the book. Instead of picking up where the third book left off it went back in time. In fact it felt like a prequel. It told the story of Roland's, past (the main character). But as I read, it quickly became (and still remains) my favorite Stephen King book ever.
When I read Wizard and Glass something inside me changed. Something shifted. I looked at things differently. A main character died and I felt like someone I actually knew died. I was so affected that I wrote Stephen King a letter to tell him about my emotional connection to his character, (who I really felt was my character). I so wanted to be a part of the story that I included a picture and my description, just in case he felt compelled to use me in a future book. *wink wink*
I was so emotionally transformed from this character connection that I stopped writing. I wanted to be able to bring characters into people's lives, like this one had been brought into mine. I started to doubt my abilities. I started to lose faith in myself. I let go of the dream and focused on being a "responsible adult".
Many, many years later the final installment of the Dark Tower finally came out. It was called The Dark Tower, appropriate right? About half way through this book a character named Daneeka Rostov, also referred to as Dani, is introduced. Dani is my name. When I read this I got a lump in my throat. I know logically it is a long shot that it has anything to do with me, but for a brief moment I felt like I had made it into the story. I felt like I was truly a part of it. I was again, forever changed.
I picked up writing again not too long after that. I worked on a fantasy novel in my spare time at the office. I found myself getting really attached to my characters. They would do things that surprised me. They would be weaker than I expected or stronger. I felt connected to myself like I never remember feeling before.
It has taken me a long time to come to this place, but I see it now. I am a writer. I don't need to be the best. I just need to do it. Thanks Mr. King, you have no idea how much you've changed my life.