The King of Kings

Stephen King, of course! You didn’t think I meant LARRY KING, did you? I hate being asked to “pick your favorite author” because I enjoy so very many of them that it’s almost impossible to pick just one, or even just a few. But if I’m backed into a corner on the issue, I think Stephen King is the one I would pick as my favorite. I’ve not read all of his books, and a few of the ones I have read I didn’t like as much as others. (“The Colorado Kid” was a low point, I’m sorry to say, but at least it was very short.)
I could probably write an “It”-sized book detailing all the reasons I love King’s writing so much, but I think one of the main reasons is that his books are so absorbing. You can’t put one down once you’ve started it, even if you don’t much like it. “The Colorado Kid,” for instance. I didn’t like that one at all, but I wanted to see how it turned out, so I finished it. Same with “Lisey’s Story,” which was considerably longer. It’s kind of a dirty trick to play on your readers, to write a book they don’t really like but also make it so they have to finish it. A dirty rotten trick, but if somebody pulls it on me, and I fall for it and read all the way to the end, they have my undying admiration, because I am not easy to fool that way.
Another reason I love All Things King is his own peculiar brand of humor. He has the ability to terrify you and at the same time make you smile or laugh out loud. He said in one of the little “How I Came to Write This Story” notes in a book (another reason I love him; how many authors sit down with you after you’ve finished their book and explain, casual and friendly-like, why and how they wrote it?) that all of his books and stories start out being funny to him. Okay, maybe he has a rather warped sense of humor to think, for example, that a story about a drug-addicted doctor shipwrecked on an island so barren and deserted that he resorts to self-cannibalism is funny. But you know what? The way he wrote the story really was funny, in a dark, morbid, warped way, of course. (FYI: The short story is called “Survivor Type” and I read it in the collection “Skeleton Crew.”)
What it all boils down to is, Stephen King has a Way With Words. Simple as that. I don’t even feel any envy (not much; not so VERY much) for his Way With Words, because the fruits of his Way give me so much pleasure.
So, to wrap up this testimonial-dinner speech, which is beginning to sound a bit like something Annie Wilkes (“I’m your number-one fan!”) might give, here are just four King quotes that I particularly like, because they ring so true for me. I’ll be putting these up on my Favorite Pithy Quotations page as well. (You know, one of those links over to the side of the main page that you never click on? That one.)

“Sorry is the Kool-Aid of human emotions. It’s what you say when you spill a cup of coffee or throw a gutterball when you’re bowling with the girls in the league. True sorry is as rare as true love.”–Susan Snell in “Carrie”
“If a good writer is having fun, his audience is almost always having fun.”–“On Writing”
“You can’t deny laughter. When it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.”–“Hearts in Atlantis”
“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”–“On Writing”


2 Responses to “The King of Kings”

  1. Walt Says:

    Okay you got me. I was all primed to read an article about “The King” and before I realize it I am reading about Stephen King. I can honestly say I have never read Stephen. . . . Larry King yep, Martin Luther King yep, even the King James Version but Stephen King nope. Sounds like my loss. Once upon a time I did have a favorite author. I was conned into reading “Of Mice and Men” by my high school English teacher. Once she had me addicted the only books I read for pleasure had to be penned by Steinbeck. I wonder how the Joads are doing.

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