One of the best-selling authors of all time, Stephen Edwin King, has inked numerous novels which are a blend of supernatural, horror and suspense, apart from a few non-fictional works. His stories have inspired many film, tele-series and comic books, and even the adaptations of the novels have been converted into glorious movies like ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.
The writer received the ‘National Medal of the Arts’ from the US President Barack Obama and during the event the president said, “One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature.”
Indeed, he is a great writer and all those who have followed his writings will know how skillfully he has penned his imagination on paper; making fantasy feel like real; creating a world which engulfs the readers. Literature buffs will know about his books and some of us who prefer to know more about our writers, do a little homework on their personality too. For all those who do not, it will be a treat for you to know that some facts about King are as arresting as his books, and the following might even feel like a sub-plot of his novel.
1. Some memories are better forgotten
At the age of four, he went to play along with his friend and the latter who had climbed the railway track was killed by an approaching train. King, however, says he does not remember to have witnessed the accident and he wrote in his non-fictional book ‘Danse Macabre’, “I have no memory of the incident at all; only of having been told about it years after the fact.”
2. His first works to get published
King’s brother used to publish a newspaper ‘Dave’s Rag’ which included jokes, columns and fictions. Stephen wrote stories which were inspired from the movies he watched during that time and these were published in the newspaper.
3. The beginning of his carrier as a novelist with the creation of ‘Carrie’
He wrote short stories which were published in magazines but ‘Carrie’ was his first novel which tells the story of a girl and how the menstrual cycle brought in supernatural aspects in her life. At that time he was working as teacher and during the summer vacation he worked at a laundromat to earn a little money as his income was not sufficient. However, the publication of ‘Carrie’ was a milestone in his life and it also helped to better his standard of living.
4. The intoxicated state of writing books
His books earned him fame and money and not being able to deal with the sudden success he turned to alcohol. He used to drink regularly and also write in that state of intoxication. His book ‘Cujo’ was written around that time and according to him, he does not remember having written it. The character of Jack Torrance in the novel ‘The Shining’ is a reflection of King himself, but after his family took to questioning him about his drinking habits, he quit and never went back to it.
5. He shared the cherry-wood desk with Rudyard Kipling
He and his wife visited London and stayed at the ‘Brown’s Hotel’. He was feeling insomniac and requested the hotel people to provide him with a place which was suitable for writing. The employee took him to a cherry-wood desk which once belonged to the famous author Rudyard Kipling. This was the same desk on which Kipling breathed his last, and that night King began to write a book which later was named ‘Misery’.
6. His collaboration with singer Michael Jackson and musician John Cougar Mellancamp
Apart from books, he also dabbled in writing script for a music video featuring Michael Jackson called Ghosts. John Cougar Mellancamp and King together penned the musical ‘Ghost Brothers of Darkland County’.
7. His views about the far-right
His democratic views deter him from liking the far-right of American politics and in this regard he once called television personality Glenn Beck ‘Satan’s mentally challenged younger brother.’
8. All his books are in print till date, except one
The book ‘Rage’ published in 1977, was about a school shooter and his violent doings, which the author wrote under the penname Richard Bachman. Years later, some school kids did such horrendous crime and said that they had read the book ‘Rage’. For the greater good of the society, the author suggested that the book should not be printed any longer, and later he said referring to the book, “Now out of print, and a good thing.”
In 2013, the Sandy Hook school shooting took place and in response to that this literary genius wrote an essay called ‘Guns’ in which he quoted, “Plenty of gun advocates cling to their semi-automatics the way Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson clung to the shit that was killing them.”
9. They donated a huge sum of money to a local stadium but they had a condition
The ‘Mansfield Stadium’ in Bangor, Maine is situated near King’s house and in the beginning of 1990s he along with his wife donated more than a million dollars to help construct it. But the Kings wanted the scoreboard to be built so tall that Stephen could see the score from his house if he could not make it to the ground to watch the game.
10. The accident which almost claimed his life
In 1999, a ruthless driver ran down the author and the accident was too damaging. Doctors thought that he would never be able to use his locomotive organs but our writer recovered as time passed by. Owing to his health, he even contemplated on quitting what he did best but it was during this time that he inked ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’.
11. He is multi-talented
All knows him as an author but there are only a few who are aware that King, in collaboration with contemporary writers Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Amy Tan and cartoonist Matt Groening constitutes the band ‘Rock Bottom Remainders’ and they even perform once in a while. Dave Barry once said, “We play music as well as Metallica writes novels.”
12. His books might terrify you but what frightens him?
The author, who has been creating horror stories that have become a genre in themselves, is afraid of something. It is the illness which old age brings such as Alzheimer and dementia. He said, “That’s the boogeyman in the closet now. I’m afraid of losing my mind.”
14. I will skip a number as it petrifies me, and trust me, it is the same with our very own author Stephen King.
Many of us must have heard the phrase ‘unlucky 13’ and some of us even believe it. If you are superstitious about this number than you will probably be glad to know that you are not the only one, even King gets an uncanny feeling when this number occurs. In an interview he said, “I have a thing about the number 13 in general; it never fails to trace that old icy finger up and down my spine. When I’m writing, I’ll never stop work if the page number is 13 or a multiple of 13; I’ll just keep on typing till I get to a safe number.” When asked if his fears rise with darkness he uttered, “Of course. Isn’t everybody?”
The following videos will provide you with more detailed insight about the celebrated author: