Friday, July 24, 2009

Blame This One

I was nine. Loved horror movies. It was summer, if I recall correctly. The trailer played on the television. The Shining. It looked terrifying. The fine print in the ads encouraged me to read the book. I encouraged my dad to make a run with me to 7-11. I told him I wanted ice cream. What I wanted was the book.

My parents never really denied me books. They said no to toys, candy, animals. But rarely did they say no to books, and this was no exception. They didn't care that it was out of my age range. Later my mom said she was probably wrong to let me read it at such a young age, but I disagree.

Stephen King's book terrified me. It freaked me out. It had me jumping at every stray noise in the house. It also inspired me. I knew then and there that I wanted to create that same feeling in people, and it was when I finished that book that I knew I wanted to be a horror writer.

I still have that book. It's seen better days. There was a time when I was more superstitious and believed it caused my parents to fight. (They seemed to have massive arguments whenever I read it, which was usually once or twice a year.) It has tape on the edges, and try as I might not to bend the covers too far, the spine has stress wear. Hell, I've had it thirty years. You have to expect that sort of thing.

I am not anywhere near what I'd call a successful writer, but I've accomplished more than most ever thought I could. I have a book, a few short stories published, and enough non-fiction out there to destroy a city. I want more, and will never stop, and I blame that book.

I think every writer has one of those moments. One of those experiences when the light bulb just turns on. It's a beautiful feeling, and it puts your mind at ease because you suddenly know what you were meant to do.

I hope to someday thank King. I wrote him once, but I don't know if he ever got it. If not, consider this my thank you. If it weren't for your imagination, my imagination would have never had a place to go. Thanks to you, I'm not killing people ... at least not for real.

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