Stephen King turned seventy years old today.
Yeah, we all grow up; we all get older. One day we all die. We shouldn’t ever be taken by surprise by these things, yet somehow there’s always one that catches us off guard. I still think of him as the guy on the left… although he’s now closer to this guy on the right.
Stephen King has been a part of my life for over twenty-five years – his words, his ideas. He has influenced me as a writer much more than I would care to admit. Hell, for a while all I was doing was a bad impression of him – at least, that’s how I saw it.
I feel like I know him just a little bit, even though I don’t actually know him at all. Never met him; never will. And that right there is the genius of a great writer. King’s ability to make an ordinary situation, extraordinary, and his knack for building characters that feel so real, you would not be surprised to turn the corner and bump into them, is something I have admired from afar for many years. That’s the power of imagination. Being able to harness that and making it a reality – even a fictional one – is worthy of applause.
My relationship with King has had its ups and downs over the years, for sure. He has written some stuff that has not done much for me – I’m not the kind of narrow-minded fan who can’t admit that. The Talisman. Dreamcatcher. And as much as it pains me to say, even most of The Dark Tower series. None of those set my world on fire. But when he gets it right, which he does more often than not, his words have the ability to soar. The Eyes of the Dragon. Misery. Needful Things. And many others. Classics.
Go read them.
Happy birthday, sir.