The End.

19 Sep

It took three trips to Barnes & Noble to finish “On Writing” by Stephen King. I’m a slow reader. This last trip, on Friday, my sister and I found open chairs only in the kids section, and we had background music from two little blond-haired boys playing choo choo trains in front of us.

The choo-chooing would be fairly mellow for a few minutes until the inevitable crashing began. Put two boys in the same room, and it won’t be long before there’s a collision. The boys would whisper excitedly about what they would soon do and then smash their trains together in glee. It felt like home, well, home a few years ago, when my two (now teenage) brothers were their age. Both the reading, and crashing, took place in a cove that looked like something straight out of the Hundred-Acre Wood.

My little sister hunkered down with “The Princess Academy,” and I turned to the last section of my own book, the part where King gets hit by a van. He about dies. At this point, he’s in the middle of writing “On Writing” when taking his daily four mile stroll through woods near his summer home in Maine. A driver distracted by his dog in the back seat swerves toward the roadside, and with his van, hits King.

He relates all this because it has to do very much with his writing, and I realized you don’t have to be a fan of, or even like, his fiction to get something out of this little book on the craft of writing. I would know. I dislike horror anything, books, movies and whatever else, and King writes mostly horror.

Anyways, the hit proves almost fatal. His leg was shattered like a piece of glass. Nearly everything else was bruised or busted, his hips and a collapsed lung.

A few months later, King’s writing again. It’s rather amazing because even sitting up is excruciatingly painful for him. Writing, for him, however, isn’t an option. It’s something he must do, like breathing. Few people posess such a boundless imagination and drive. He finishes “On Writing” despite being deathly battered.

The result, I think, is something worth reading. I could do without the first part, the memoirs. He wrote them before the crash. They seemed trite and bland. But after the crash, whatever it did, brought a rawness to what becomes a surprisingly touching story, a story about writing for joy.

Meanwhile, as I finished, my sister was at a crucial point in her own story where the prince picks a princess at the royal ball. But good sport that she was, she didn’t mind leaving off at her chapter end. She could wait for the ending, she said.

Gosh how I love her. Few 11-years-olds embrace delayed gratification.

She says, “Next time, it’ll be a treat.”



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