Adventures with Stephen King
Fun fact: I hate being scared.
I hate horror movies, I hate scary books, I hate the idea of monsters—I used to sleep with a blanket wrapped over my head and my whole body buried under the covers so that if the Thing Outside the Window decides to come in, I will not be seen. Clearly, my ten-year-old self was known for her logic.
When I decided to take a Stephen King course this semester, then, my friends thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy. I’m the girl who watched a season of The Walking Dead and had nightmares for four months, the girl who screams at every jump scare in the scary movie my friends convince me to watch. I’m the girl who read one R. L. Stine book as a child and couldn’t sleep for weeks. Why on earth would I put myself through a semester of the “King” of horror, the so-called scariest author on the planet?
I can’t tell you my logic. I still can’t say I understand it myself. All I know is that three months later, EN413Q is my favorite class. Why? Because for the first time, I realized the true power of words. Do I like having nightmares of Jack Torrance smashing through my dorm room door? Not particularly. Do I enjoy the thought of a rabid dog trapping me in my car with no way to escape? Not at all. But in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King writes that, regardless of your personal mission, regardless of your subject matter,
“You must not come lightly to the blank page.”
And he doesn’t. When I read Cujo, for example, I told myself I would follow the course’s reading plan and read it over the course of two weeks. I read it in two sittings. The way he uses language doesn’t just tell you a story; it grabs you by the throat and drags you in.
My dream is to be able to write something that is powerful, something that moves people. It might be something scary, but it also might be something simple, something straightforward. It might be a blogpost about Stephen King. My goal is to not come lightly to the page.
What are some of your goals when it comes to writing?