Saturday, June 5, 2010

The King

My first experience with The King occurred the summer after fifth grade. I had begged and begged my mother to allow me to read Stephen King novels throughout fifth grade, my reasoning being that Kit Macaroon * was allowed to read Stephen King, & I was much smarter than she**.

My mother always steadfastly refused - her reasoning being that Stephen King wrote horror stories, and that I am easily frightened. She liked to cite the movie "The Witches," which is based on a Roald Dahl book, which is meant to be a comedy, but gave me nightmares for years. (I also might, possibly, have received nightmares from the movie "How the Grinch Stole Christmas.")

So okay, I was easily frightened at the tender ages of four and six, but I argued that I was more mature, at the age of eleven.***

My mother didn't believe me.

Then finally, the summer after fifth grade, as the family wandered around in some stranger's garage perusing their old belongings to see if we wanted to buy anything, I found a bright orange, hardcover copy of a book entitled Cujo, with that yearned for name, "Stephen King," printed in bold letters on the spine.

25 cents

How could mom say no?

I ran to her, excitement radiating from my being, and showed her the book, begging to please, please, please be allowed to read it.

After thinking for a moment, my mother said "okay." This book, she said, was not too scary. She would let me read it.

I began reading the book on a hot, bright summer day, sprawling out on the grass beside our driveway.

And I was disappointed.

At this period of my life, I was under the impression that any prolific author must, by definition, be amazing. After all of the build-up to how frightening Stephen King was, reading a book about a rabid dog was a let-down. I also wasn't frightened.

Due to this experience, I went through a period of quite a few years where I decided that The King wasn't really that great a writer. I looked down on those who found his writing addicting, who owned more than a few of his books.

That one bad experience colored my view of the author for years. Have YOU ever had an experience like that?

*The name has been changed to protect privacy.

**I realize this is pompous reasoning, but it really was exactly what I said to my mom.

***This, of course, was a complete lie, whether I realized it or not.


Possum said...

I first read something by Stephen King when I was reading a short story in a collection of stories he wrote. It was about a boy who met the Devil, and threatened him. I was scared. And it was only a few years ago! It freaked me out, I'm going to admit.

However, the first time I was AWARE of "The King" was when my mom, dad, and various other family members were watching Storm of the Century, when it was airing for the first time. I remember this one scene, where the characters would sing "I'm a little teapot" in association with murder. I gotta say, it ruined the song for me.

ESPECIALLY when my mom ordered my sister and I a bunch of childrens music, WITH that song on there!

But yes.

My dad told me that the first time he read It, it scared him. Even in the middle of the afternoon.

WITH THAT KIND OF HYPE, you imagine him to be some freaky thing! And when I say him, I mean his writing. And sure, my reaction to that short story wasn't denying that fact, but it wasn't... Amazing.

Sure, I refuse to watch movies based on his books, or even read his books in general, but that's just because I don't like to be scared. Like you, I get nightmares. (Unlike you, however, The Witches or How The Grinch Stole Christmas didn't scare me. xP)

Anyway, an author that sort of turned me off of other works...

Is it too easy to pick on Stephenie Meyer? Because of the Twilight saga, I won't even touch The Host.

I guess it is.


Well, right now I don't really want to read any more Picoult books for awhile, because of The Tenth Circle. Sure the other two books of hers that I read (Salem Falls and My Sisters Keeper were OKAY (you should try)), I'm just like ... no to her, right now.

Also: Lucky duck! A hardcover book for 25 CENTS? Score! I see how your mom couldn't deny that.

Also: Maybe you didn't like Cujo too much, because it wasn't as SCARY. I mean, your mom DID let you read it. Did you get over this thought about King? Etc. Etc.

P.S: Liked the blog post!

Shelly Quade said...

You know, I'm not the only one who got nightmares from "The Witches." I recently heard a radio interview with Katie Cassidy in which she said it scared her as a child, as well.

But yes, anyone who watches "The Witches" will wonder if I have mental problems. And maybe I do. I read a news article that says creative people share a lot with schizophrenics, however, so I'm going to pass it off as my being a creative genius.

My opinion of King has changed over time. I'm planning on doing a few blog posts about him, and discussing how and why it changed.