On Meeting Stephen King

stephen-king-3.jpgGetting the chance to meet Stephen King on Tuesday was truly a once in a life time chance and I will never forget it. I learned a lot from the experience and though I wish I could, I don’t know if I’ll be able to document it completely. I was so entranced most of the time, that unfortunately recording it was an after thought. However I will to the best of my ability share with you all what stuck with me.

Here is what I learned about Stephen King:

First off it was exceedingly clear to me that Stephen was and is an excellent father. For him to be so busy, famous, and successful, and yet maintain a decent, let alone good relationship with his children is beyond amiable. He has written books with both of his sons, and I believe the ability to work with one’s parents on such an intimate level is evidence that the relationship is well formed.

stephen-king.jpgI was able to hear from Owen King, and hearing him talk about his childhood was moving. Sure he grew up with wealth and privilege, but that has never (in and of itself) determined how a child would be raised. Owen however talked of a father that aside from his time working, was present kings1and involved in his children’s lives. A father who participated in the local community and even taught little league. To watch Stephen well up when his son praised the time they spent together on this book project, was again, insight into the heart of the relationship. More than anything else, learning how invested and loving Stephen King was as a father (though, as with anyone, he had his flaws) impressed me the most.

Stephen showed an amazing sense of humor; he was constantly making little jokes and even making fun of himself. He certainly loves life, and yet he sees the value in not taking it too seriously, this is a beautiful balance.Stephen King On Writing

On the flip side, he also showed a vulnerability and deep side, that I had not expected. You can tell that he loves to connect; whether with family, or fans, or with Molly aka the Thing of Evil. He finds curious, strange, and equally remarkable ways of doing this. One of the greatest stories I heard was about how he would have his Children dictate books on tape. Audio books were the big new thing and he loved it, but you couldn’t find very much variety back then. So this was a great way to not only expose his children to literature, but also get to listen to books, what a phenomenal combination and what a gift! It all started because Owen was 8 and wanted to start earning money. He asked his dad if he could mow the lawn to earn some, but Stephen said “No, I’ve got a better idea.”

la-et-jc-fathers-day-20170616.jpgStephen has clearly influenced his children in an extremely valuable way. They produce writing and have an abundant knowledge of literature, and of course a love for books. These characteristics are priceless. He was greatly influenced by his mother as well.  The moment he knew he wanted to be a writer was when his mother was reading aloud The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and when Stevenson was very descriptively describing the crunching of bones, King knew in a flash “that’s what I want to do!” Referring to writing of course…

 

King child.jpgHis mother was clearly someone that the apple did not fall far from. She read to them all matter of mystery etc. she loved a good thrill. King described the first time he was ever really truly scared: His mother would wait until they were asleep to listen to a late night radio station, I believe called Mystery Theater. 99309c6b4f8f8a34ded75db8e3f0a10a

The children were not allowed to listen, because it was too scary. Stephen of course would wait till is brother was asleep, crawl out of bed, and then listen to the station through the crack at the bottom of his door. Such tenacity towards a blooming passion! I wish I could accurately describe for you the way I got to hear his recollection of this particular show, but it was a wonder to hear.

6c0461f0d021c8f043cb062c6cc139e5I believe from the way he talked, that his mother was also someone that contributed to his understanding and respect for women. When Stephen talked about this new books “Sleeping Beauties” you could tell he has an admiration for women, that is an uncommon thing to find in many men. I believe being raised by an intelligent and loving single mother was something that greatly impacted his views. He has also been married to his wife for 45 years now, and he talks of her with love and respect, it was lovely. His son Owen follows in his father’s foot steps with this quality.
The fact that these two men could take on the humbling and daunting task of writing a book about the ramifications and chaos, of a world without women, is brave and insightful.

stephenking130Getting to know the wit, depth, and humor of the Master Stephen King, in such an intimate way, was extraordinary. His dialogue was so untainted and real; no frills, no bs, he was just genuine. And it revealed only that however genius and successful he may be, ultimately he is completely ordinary, human, and sane. Sure he had his daughter dictate The Bundy Murders and she didn’t sleep for a month, and sure the family sat around on holiday watching Christine…
He’s Stephen King for goodness sake, there’s got to be a little weirdness allowed! Simply put, he is a man who has lived with passion and character, is refreshingly down to earth and funny, who just happens to write brilliantly, and loves the hell out of books.


Fun Facts: Fun little tidbits I learned
 #1: He also mentioned Bambi being the very first time he was ever afraid. “Man is in the forest” he said, “scared the hell out of me.” I live in the N.W. and this summer I sadly witnessed the horror that really is, man in the forest, so I heard him say that line with new awareness and deeper meaning.
#2 is Stephen Kings favorite book: The Lord of The Flies, The Catcher in The Rye being a close second.
#3 When asked what his favorite work was, of his own, he struggled to answer for awhile. He said it was like picking a favorite child. However he eventually did mentioned On Writing and one other that my brain misplaced, but then he finally settled quite resolutely on The Dead Zone.

Know any fun tidbits about Stephen King? Feel free to share 🙂


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Tribute to Tolstoy

imagesBorn today September 9th 1828
Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy
(Usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy) was a Russian aristocrat and one of the world’s most preeminent writers. Tolstoy become famous through his epic novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina.

“We can know only that we know nothing.
And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.” (
War and Peace)


Tolstoy’s fictional work includes: dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and Hadji Murad. He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.


“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (
Anna Karenina)

Towards the end of his life, Leo Tolstoy became increasingly interested in a version of pacifist Christianity with support for a strand of anarchist Communism. His exposition of pacifism and non-violence had a profound influence on others – most notably Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
This prompted his non-fiction work;
A Confession and The Kingdom of God is Within You.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

In Memory of Maya Angelou

Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014)
49d88b296835f6f1d715de7c02f902b5An acclaimed American poet, storyteller, activist, and autobiographer, Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri. Angelou has had a broad career as a singer, dancer, actress, composer, and Hollywood’s first female black director, but is most famous as a writer, editor, essayist, playwright, and poet. As a civil rights activist, Angelou worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.


Throughout her illustrious career in letters, Maya Angelo gifted, healed, and inspired the world with her words. The beauty and spirit of those words live on in this new and complete collection of poetry that reflects and honors the writer’s remarkable life.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

 


The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.

 

 

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight

 

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”

Filled with unforgettable vignettes of famous people, from Billie Holiday to Malcolm X, but perhaps most important is the story of Maya Angelou’s relationship with her son. Because this book chronicles, finally, the joys and the burdens of a black mother in America and how the son she had cherished so intensely and worked for so devotedly finally grows to be a man.

In what ways has Maya Angelou inspired you?

René Descartes Remembered

“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”

unnamedRené Descartes (1596 – 1650)
French philosopher, mathematician, scientist and writer of the Age of Reason. He has been called the “Father of Modern Philosophy”, and much of subsequent Western philosophy can be seen as a response to his writings. He is responsible for one of the best-known quotations in philosophy:
“Cogito, ergo sum”

(“I think, therefore I am”).

Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes is widely considered to be one of the top philosophical books of all time. For many, Meditations on First Philosophy is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless pieces of classic philosophical literature, this gem by Rene Descartes is highly recommended.

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”

“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”

Tribute to Browning’s Beauty

“The beautiful seems right by force of beauty…”

elizabeth_barrett_browning_2Elizabeth Barrett Browning

(6 March  1806 – 29 June 1861)
She was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era, popular in Britain and the United States during her lifetime.

Elizabeth’s volume Poems (1844) brought her great success, attracting the admiration of the writer Robert Browning. Their correspondence, courtship and marriage were carried out in secret, for fear of her father’s disapproval. Following the wedding she was indeed disinherited by her father.
The couple moved to Italy in 1846, where she would live for the rest of her life. They had one son, Robert Barrett Browning, whom they called Pen. She died in Florence in 1861.A collection of her last poems was published by her husband shortly after her death.
Elizabeth’s work had a major influence on prominent writers of the day, including the American poets Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson. She is remembered for such poems as “How Do I Love Thee?” (Sonnet 43, 1845) and Aurora Leigh (1856).

“What is genius but the power of expressing a new individuality?”
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning