I miss the Stephen King of the 70's & 80's.
For years, I've said that Stephen King is my favorite novelist, and that he's one of the reasons I write. And that's true.
But I have to finally admit this. An impressionable teenager enthralled with spooky stories fell in love with Stephen King in the early 80's. I already knew of his movies but then I read his short story collections, Night Shift and Skeleton Crew. Then I tackled It and The Stand and that's what forever did it. Those two brilliant novels moved something inside of me.
They cemented what I already knew: that I wanted to be a writer.
Many more Stephen King novels and collections have surprised and moved me: Different Seasons, The Green Mile, Bag of Bones to name a few. But as I grew older, so did Stephen King.
I've said this before: there are seasons in an artist’s life & journey that can only be seen in hindsight and can probably only be appreciated by others.
I've admired how Stephen King has evolved as a novelist. I have never believed that he cranks out books because he wants to make money or because he has a contract to fill. I can related to King's desire to tell stories. The man has to write. He keeps retiring only to come back stronger. Even a near-fatal accident didn't stop him.
This leads up to the most recent news about Stephen King: that he's currently writing a sequel to The Shining.
Will I buy it? Of course. I'll buy everything Stephen King writes.
Will I finish the story? That's a good question.
I think I keep buying his books because I want to find another It or The Stand. But I also have to realize that won't ever happen. That young writer is gone. He might be an even better writer now, but that season of King's writing career is over.
I find it funny when someone tells me their favorite novel of mine is still The Promise Remains. The young naive kid who wrote that book is gone. I plan on writing more love stories, but I could never write one like that.
That might disappoint some readers, the same way it sometimes disappoints me that there won't be another 70's-esque Stephen King novel. But that's the beauty of being an artist. Growing and changing and morphing as you get older and as the world around you changes.
The moment I discovered Stephen King and his vast array of stories, I started to believe that I really could do this. I felt like all these stories in my head could go somewhere. Stephen King proved that an ordinary guy with an imagination and drive could produce a shelf full of books.
He's still doing it thirty years later.
I hope I can say the same thirty years from now.
Labels: on writing, Seasons, Stephen King