Today on NPR, I learned it was Stephen King's Birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. King. Now, if anyone knows anything about me, they know that I have sort of a crush on Stephen King. What he says about writing is simply gospel to me and I can quote it chapter and verse. My daughter tried to get me to read the vampire books by whatsername but I wouldn't because Mr. King kinda gave them a thumbs down. She recently tried to get me to read The Hunger Games and when I resisted she showed me the back cover blurb by you know who and I just might sit down and if it a try. I know I'm a book snob but I know what I like and mostly, I like Stephen King.
Okay, truth be told, he speaks to me--not in the "It's time to start taking your Depakote again, Christine." But, he speaks to me in his stories, in his nonfiction. Every time, I read one of his stories or essays, I hear my imaginary Stephen King, my closest friend say, "It's Okay." I know it's wierd. It kind of reminds me of my favorite New Yorker cartoon: a man is lying on a couch talking to his shrink and he says, " I have an imaginary friend. He's a real person but not really my friend."
Yes, every time I read Stephen King I get the urge to write and that's not a bad thing is it? Because I feel like he's saying to me that it's okay to write those deep, dark things. It's okay. I mean most people are afraid to creep around in the black, damp, basement of their mind and discover what is skulking around. I don't know why I've always distorted images floating by or twisted ideas scurrying about in my brain--but I have.
For the most part, I have resisted them, with the exception when I was manic as all get out and I thought everything I wrote was spun gold. That was a very heavy writing season for me because I had no internal critic saying "Uh, maybe you shouldn't write that." Even in my right mind, these weird things just hide under the carpet to crawl slowly out when it is late at night and I am trying to sleep. A universe of images and ideas march across the vast expanse of my mind and sometimes freak me out. Some are memories, some are vain imaginings and some are looming questions I just don't want to think about.
Like, why did I dodge that bullet? Why was my life spared? I have not really done a good job at it (life, I mean). I am poster girl for lowered expectations. I mean I write. I don't know why but that's where Stephen King, my imaginary friend comes in. He says to me, that I write because I can. Same goes for living for that matter. I live because I can. Do we really need any other reason for writing or living than that? This simplistic reason for writing and existence is comforting to me.
Of course, I will really have screwed the pooch if I do meet my end and discover I have squandered this grand and glorious second chance I've been given. But, what to do? When, I have that big sit down with God, I'm kinda hoping He will be like my imaginary, Mr. King and say, "It's okay, Christine. It's okay that you did nothing more than love your family and watch one too many episodes of The Mentalist... even though, you know you coulda written a little more."