Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Healing Power of King

It's happened before. Many times. When I'm feeling down, moping about in what Dorothea Brande called that "slough of despond", there's only one tonic I can rely on to reinvoigorate the creative juices, to fight off the shackles of despair and stop the old Muse from draping herself languidly over a metaphorical sofa like a pampered tart with a headache. The name of this miracle tonic? Stephen King.

In tough times I've always turned to one of King's books. Non-fiction works are just as good as novels. 'On Writing' always helps relight the fires. As does 'Danse Macabre'. But anything from the opening passages of 'Carrie' to the epic conclusion of 'The Dark Tower' is usually enough to drag me from the pit of despairing writers and hoist me, breathless, onto safe ground. This latest bout of fear and self-loathing has been a pretty protracted affair (months rather than weeks or days), and even the surefire King cure-alls failed to work. But in the end, I found the pill I needed. (All right, enough with the medicinal metaphors!) The book I needed was 'Cujo'.

I know, not hailed as one of his classics, but when your a fan of King, all his works have a place in your heart. 'Cujo' is one of those books I bought back in my early teens when I just couldn't get enough of the guy's work. I had fond memories of that paperback. It was the Futura edition released shortly after the movie came out with the kid recoiling in horror as the 'BADDOG' lunges in for the kill. I know I read it way back then, but I couldn't remember anything apart from just a few key moments early on. So it was nice to get hold of a reasonably good copy of this little gem off Ebay (sadly not quite the same Futura edition) and to sit down and soak up King at his creative height. And as I was reading I felt the old creative juices beginning to flow again, and within the first fifty pages I had already decided to tackle the difficult second half of my own stalled novel and to complete the unfinished short stories in my 'To Do' list. Once again, Doctor King has worked his voodoo magic.

What would I do with out him? Honest answer: Without King, I probably wouldn't be a writer. 'Nuff said.

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