Blogs by Joel Arnold
On Stephen King
6/23/2011 11:47:44 AM
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I’ve noticed that it’s almost not cool to confess a love for Stephen King’s work – or maybe he’s taken for granted by so many of us.
‘Who’s you’re favorite horror author?’ they’ll ask.
I’ll try to think of all the new hot, cool authors out there, before stating my obvious choice, because, you know, an old stand-by just ain't fresh and - cool. But I'll eventually say, ‘Stephen King.’
‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ they say, unsatisfied. ‘But who else?’
As if he's been around too long to be cool.
Remember how when you were a teenager eager to get your driver’s license, and then you finally get it and you can finally take the car out on your own? It was such a freeing experience, the first giant step toward independence. That car took you places, man! And it was thrilling – you got to choose where to turn, choose which roads to take. There was no one to tell you to roll the windows up or down or turn off the air conditioner or change the radio station.
Your ability to drive took you into that adult world of work and freedom and sex. For so many of us, our cars were the only privacy available if we wanted to get out from under our parents’ noses - where else could we take our girlfriends or boyfriends to experience those first sexual fumblings? Or - at the very least our cars could transport us to that old graveyard at night, where there were only the dead to witness our youthful exuberances.
But then you begin to take the old, reliable car for granted. You forget how amazing it was and still is.
Stephen King is kind of like that.
My older brother had a paperback copy of The Shining. You remember the silver one with the black silhouette on the cover? That’s the one. Anyway, I’d seen it sitting on his bookshelf for quite a while, and one summer day, when I was bored and nothing was on TV (only three channels, mind you!) and there was nothing else to read, I picked up that novel, and...
And my life changed.
Please realize I already enjoyed reading at that time, and was fairly well-read for my age. So it wasn’t that it opened my eyes to reading.
But...it did. It re-opened my eyes to reading.
It was the way he crafted the words – the way he used italics and sentence fragments, forcing my eyes race to across the page, starting and stopping and pausing to his rhythm – a rock-and-roll kinda rhythm. He created a pulse in that novel that attached itself straight to my heart and forced the blood to nearly burst through my skin.
Of course the storytelling was top-notch, too. Without the storytelling, all the writing tricks in the world wouldn’t have helped.
But his ability to tell a story...
I was thirteen years old when I read The Shining, and after reading the last sentence of that novel, I had to have more. I proceeded to read every novel he had out at that time and every short story of his I could find. And my parents, God bless ‘em, always bought me his newest hardcover for my next handful of birthdays. It was always my favorite present.
So now, all these years later, all of these Stephen King novels later, I think readers take him for granted.
I know that I sometimes do.
‘Yeah, of course he just wrote another great novel, but so what else is new?’ they say.
Sorta like he’s a car. ‘Runs great, been driving ‘em for years, so?’
So without the car, man, it’s one hell of a long and tedious journey from here to there. Dig?
Maybe we’ve grown a little old, perhaps a bit too large around the middle to make love in the back seat of our cars, but they can still take us places – amazing places, places you wouldn’t f***in’ believe...
So yeah, I’m happy to admit that Stephen King is my favorite author. He’s brought me on some of the best journeys, some of the most exciting road trips – and so many of them! And best of all, the engine on that thing still purrs like a son-of-a-bitch.
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More Blogs by Joel Arnold
The Sucking Suckathon of Suckiness - Monday, May 21, 2012
Mississippi Pearls and a Car Biding Its Time on the Ice 'til Spring - Thursday, December 29, 2011
One Decade, One Story - or how One Thing Leads to Another - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Racing Minnesota-style! - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
This Here Minnesota Horror Author was a Big Old Scaredy-Cat - Thursday, December 22, 2011
Jack the Blob Killer - Monday, December 19, 2011
Death Rhythm - Tuesday, September 20, 2011
More Writing What You Know - Monday, September 19, 2011
How I Interpret 'Write What You Know' - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Blessings - or - What I write after having one too many... - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
120 Miles in a Canoe - Monday, June 27, 2011
On Stephen King - Thursday, June 23, 2011
Why Horror? - Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Zen & the Art of Swearing - Friday, June 10, 2011
If Coffee Shops were Run by Airlines - Thursday, May 12, 2011
Trying to Figure Out What Scares Me - Monday, March 21, 2011
My Confession - Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Going Indie with my novel Northwoods Deep - Friday, March 04, 2011
How I Envision Conflict When Writing - Thursday, March 03, 2011
Wall Drug - why it's one of my favorite places - Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Jonesing for a Road Trip - Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Snowmapocalyptopalooza - Tuesday, February 01, 2011
How Do You Remember? - Thursday, January 20, 2011
When your parents are librarians... - Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The genesis of a novel - the first 6 days - Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Searching for Truth - Characterization - Thursday, December 16, 2010
Control - and a little more about Northwoods Deep - Monday, December 13, 2010
Bukowski - Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Flies, Flies, Spam, and Flies - Friday, December 03, 2010
Naivete and the Young Writer - Thursday, December 02, 2010
For Writers looking for some Adventure - Wednesday, December 01, 2010
My usual rider for family/friend appearances - Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Writing and Me - a dramatization - Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Writing Tip o' the Day (now with vitamin C!) - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Power of Music - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
To All the Bookstores I've Loved Before - Monday, November 15, 2010
The Care and Feeding of Writers - Sunday, November 14, 2010
Rudiments - Thursday, November 11, 2010
Writing Tip o' the Day - Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tragedy - now with 50% more pathos! - Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Perspective - Monday, November 08, 2010
The Daunting Dauntiness of Tweeting on Twitter - Saturday, November 06, 2010