It’s nearly impossible to go into a bookstore without coming out of it with a Stephen King book.
At an early age I stumbled upon one of my mom’s old Stephen King books. I vividly remember not being able to sleep as I had what I now know as of as anxiety most nights about going to sleep and school inevitably coming the next day. Most nights I would pick up a book and read, but the inevitable anxieties would always creep in making it hard to focus on the story in front of me. With Stephen King’s works, however, for some reason those took me out of my head completely. I was completely captivated by the characters in the stories that he told. The messy lives that they lead that made me feel like I knew the characters whole life. Not just where the character began at the beginning of the book.
“The Green Mile” was the first book that I read of his from start to finish and calling that a whirlwind of emotions is an understatement. No book before had made me feel such intense feelings of happiness, sadness, anger and sympathy. It was also the first book to make me shed tears. That alone showed me the truly incredible power that Stephen King has over his craft. Making me cry over the death of an inmate. Someone who did terrible things in their youth and then focused their incarcerated life on redemption, only to ultimately die a horrific death. It really made me stop to think about all the people that I had unfairly painted a portrait of simply because of the situation that they found themselves in.
Stephen King opened my eyes up to a whole new world of complicated characters finding themselves in extraordinary circumstances where they had to navigate and change themselves in order to get through it. While his horror stories are almost always perfect in my eyes, the fact that he can write such moving stories in other categories as well is a testament to the power that he has. Sure there are some books where the “endings” are always nitpicked and found as a source of imperfection in his writing. But that in itself also taught me that you rarely get the ending that you want, both in novels and in life, so you might as well enjoy the ride. I found myself not hating the endings of some of his novels, but hating the fact that they were over. “The Stand,” in particular being one where I was first left with a sense of “What the fuck just happened.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that no ending would have made me happy. The ending always comes to quick when the ride is that enjoyable.
Although I love the way I ended my book, I also got the feeling that it ended too quickly. Likely because I had fallen in love with some of the characters the same way that Stephen King made me fall in love with his. That opinion is likely biased because I’m the one that wrote them. However, it also made me immensely proud of accomplishing something I had only dreamed of doing. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t shed a few tears writing the epilogue on “Cryo.” Whether those tears were from being sad as the story had come to an end, or because I was doing something that would have made the kid version of myself so proud I couldn’t really tell. A mixture of both I suppose. That being said, without discovering Stephen King through my mom’s books I don’t think I would have gained such an appreciation for the art of writing. So thank you mom, and thank you Stephen King.