(Nah, it’s not yoga-related.)
I read the short story “Children of the Corn” as a teenager and loved it. I read “The Shining” in high school and was really disappointed. (A large explosion serves to tie together lots of plot points. Boo, explosions!) So I’ve been living under the construct all my adult life that Stephen King can paint a great portrait, but let him go for 1,000 pages and the story will fall on its ever-loving face.
When I get to the library, amongst all of my beloved pulp crime fiction is a very eerie and very beautiful red hardback book. I gotta get it; the visual artist mind has its weaknesses. They include bright colors and shiny things.
Lisey’s Story is about the widow of a famous author, the secret place he drew his creativity from and the curse and blessing of being a creative person. I can attest…sometimes it feels a little like madness, and King doesn’t shy away from that comparison through fable-like metaphor.
After my mind had atrophied reading all that crime junk (I don’t kid myself; it’s pretty junky) King’s rhythmically choppy style seemed like a rough sea after a kiddy ride. But once I had gotten my sea-legs back on (and gotten used to his weird vernacular: bool, babyluv, long boy, Booya-Moon, rah-cheer) I was hooked.
It’s eerie in a more subtle way than most horror books. The story pushed upon me slowly and hard, and became surprisingly convincing as I found myself enveloped in all of King’s mythology and engaging characters. Being an artsy type, it is pretty spot-on as far as metaphors for art go.
He still paints his characters as thoroughly complex people I feel I know well– in two sentences flat. He still has that power to draw me in and make me wait for the big pay-off. This time, though, there IS a pay-off! All ends are tied up, all details utilized towards the end goal of – shocker – telling the story.