a conversation with stephen king

 

totally unauthorized photo of steve and...that other author
totally unauthorized photo of steve and…that other author

so, simon and schuster/scribner graciously pre-released a big batch o’ king’s latest book last thursday, and, in cooperation with the odyssey bookshop in south hadley, massachusetts, hosted “a conversation with stephen king and richard russo” at mount holysmoke college. i was fortunate enough to score a ticket when they were released, hence this post. for those of you who weren’t, the new title “just after sunset” is being released to the uh, general public, today. {giggle.}

 
by the time odyssey bookshop owners had read through their list of “thank you’s” and the history of the bookstore, i was up to page 37 or so. “just after sunset” is a collection of short stories spurned on by stephen’s recent experience editing the annual “best american short stories” series in 2006. during the evening he talked about the form, and how he hoped he could rekindle his excitement and proficiency at this particular style of writing. uh, mission accomplished, mr. king.
 
whether you know me or not, or wish to, you still may not know that i am one of stevie’s biggest cockadoodie fans! i have an entire bookshelf in my living room with only His books adorning the shelves. these include the hardcover and paperback editions, and a few duplicates for some God-knows-why reason.
some of his expressions and exclamations have made their way into my everyday language {i.e.: jesus krispies!, fuck me freddy, christ-in-a-sidecar, and do the day, and let the day do you!}. i have everything he’s ever written, including some audiobooks, and mostly everything that’s ever been written about him. to me, his biggest appeal is that he carries you right into the story, crafting characters that are so familiar, likeable or not, that you recognize them as people you already know. then he introduces a bizarre element, something you normally couldn’t even fathom, but since he’s already reeled you in…you just accept it, and read on. the horror genre is not all about monsters and boogeymen; sometimes it encompasses the horror of the mind that grips your very soul and can be just as paralytically terrifying as being stalked by a rabid dog on a hot summer day.
…in no particular order, the high-est-lights of the evening, IMHO, were as follows:
  • handing my literary hero my $160 monteverde fountain pen, {when i removed the cap, there was a resounding CLICK! in the auditorium, stevie’s security guy standing behind him raised one eyebrow, then probably realized i didn’t look like much of a threat}, and somehow stammering “i am a calligrapher. would you use my pen?” i had something else exceptionally brilliant to follow that, but instead morphed into a 12 year-old girl needing to buy a vowel. i exited left as gracefully as i could, being herded along by the rest of the crowd, happy in the knowledge that He is the only other person to ever use that pen, except yours truly. {giggle.}
  • the announcement of the benefactor of a portion of ticket sales, the food bank of western massachusetts, {more introductions here} ~ and the bookstore owners bringing out a comically large check in the amount of $18,565.00 !
  • king, commenting on dead zone: “when mccain picked palin as his running mate, tabitha and i looked at each other and said ‘that’s greg stillson in a skirt!’ “
  • king, answering a question about his books-turned-movies: commenting on the new verizon commercial, where the two dead-looking twins get off the elevator, a-la-the shining, and say “it’s a dead zone here.” and how horrifying that kind of stuff is to him.
  • when asked by moderator joe donahue {host of “the roundtable” on WAMC, 90.3 FM}, “what’s your favorite curse word, and why?”…steve did a spot-on imitation of kathy bates as annie wilkes in “misery“: “he didn’t get out of that COCKADOODIE CARRRR!” …then expounded a little on expressions that cracked him up as a kid: “i wouldn’t give a tin shit!” and “shit or go blind.” …much laughter here. fellow author richard russo deferred answering first, so he could compose himself…and went on to tell a tale of how the “c” word is used commonly in england, much like “bitch” is here. how he called his daughter recently, who works in a family-owned frame shop in london, and her use of the word over the telephone. his kneejerk reaction: shock. then, chuckling, “i am so proud of her!” …thunderous applause.
  • stephen king discussing “on writing“, and the Q & A session at the conclusion of the discussion.

 this girl left with a huge shit-eatin grin on her face, and in her very heart.

2 Responses to “a conversation with stephen king”

  1. So sounds like you had fun. I am very very jealous!

    *

    REPLY:

    it was a wicked awesome night!
    thanQ for dropping by!

  2. Command Sergeant Major Says:

    I would have asked him to sign my Sawx hat! I am green with envy. I don’t own one King book, but love his movies. Guess what I want for Christmas?

    thanks for the information.

    *

    REPLY:

    yeah, i wasn’t allowed to bring anything for him to sign except what i purchased in advance there. so i had to leave my S.K. bookshelf at home! LOL.

    it was an amazing night. he is a wonderful author and speaker. i am humbly grateful i had the opportunity to meet him and hear him speak.

    thanQ! for dropping by and commenting, Arizona!
    xxx ooo

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