Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Mad Genius of Stephen King

Stephen King is my hero! What was that?! Did you just roll your eyes? Okay, okay, that's fine. I'm somewhat used to that reaction. All I can say is let me refer you to one of my favorite quotes: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation." (Or, "don't knock it if ya' ain't tried it"!)

So, if you've tried to read Stephen King and you don't like him, then so be it. If, however, you've never even touched one of his books because "he's a horror writer, and I don't like horror" then that's fine too, but don't roll your eyes when I say that the man is an absolute genius. He is one of the most amazing authors of our times. And yes, his books are creepy, scary, spooky. Sometimes they're gross. But this is a man who is completely in touch with the inner workings of the ordinary person's mind. He gets the fears that whisper to us when we're alone in the dark. He knows our secret desires and obsessions. And he's able to convey those in everyday language without sacrificing the ability to weave magic from his prose.

Plus, he is the master of late 20th century pop culture, inserting sly references which, when encountered in the midst of mind-numbing terror, make me screech out loud with nervous laughter. He knows how to play us.

Yes, I obsessively read everything he comes out with. I was shocked when he announced several years ago that he might not stop writing, but he would stop publishing. I celebrated when he found he just couldn't do that to me, Constant Reader.

I just finished _Duma Key_, his latest offering. I am still in that slightly awestruck, I couldn't put it down but didn't want it to end, mourning phase. I'll get over it. But I won't forget it for some time. When I least expect it, some ghost from one of his stories will jump out at me. (Oh yeah, thanks Stephen for giving me the phobias about clowns and storm grates!)

Stephen King is my hero.

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