I realized recently that I haven’t read any Steven King novels. If you’re trying to be a writer, anything from books to brochures, it’s necessary to be familiar with a wide range of authors and their styles, especially the ones who are known for written excellence. Any average Joe or Josefina (that’s not really an average name, but let’s just assume) asked to make a list of authors they know would likely name Stephen King among the first names that came to mind. So I made a mental note to read more King. After making this decision, I randomly found one of his books on the shelf at home–Gerald’s Game; no doubt it was something bought at a used booksale that no one in my family ever managed to read. I started reading.
Aside from being one of the more awkward books I’ve ever read, Gerald’s Game showed me why King is considered one of the masters of this age. His descriptiveness adds to the suspense that he builds and builds and builds until, while I was reading, I felt about ready to explode. But he writes with incredible vividity…vividness.
I am an incredibly visual person. I also have an overactive and selective imagination. After a rough period in my pre-teen and teen years, I finally learned that I cannot cannot cannot watch scary movies or television shows, not unless I’m okay with lying awake in my bed that night. I keep the covers over my head with a hole for air, a foolproof protection. Every noise is the ghost, every shadow the killer coming out of the wall where he has painted his body to blend in and waited for hours until I came into the room. Sweat-drenched pillows and blankets. The lights on if it’s bad enough. Some nights were worse than others, and I haven’t outgrown it. I was recently told a story about a midget clown that lived in some kid’s room for months before it was discovered. The light was on that night. I was in a foreign country too, traveling…by myself.
As I was saying, I’m a visual person, so books don’t generally set the jitters off because there’s not the same element of sight involved. It’s just ideas. But with King, the written horrors come to life in a way worse than any movie. I think that’s because it’s not something that is made with latex and computers. It’s in my mind, which produces the worst and more realistic terrors, if given the right stimulant and enough to go on. In Gerald’s Game, there is a particular creepy aspect introduced (besides the sexual stuff), a thing that could be used in a horror film, that was described with such mastery that after I finished the book today I could imagine with clarity. But I didn’t realize I could until I walked into my dark room and walked right back out with wide eyes. So if you have problems with description, I recommend spending some time with King. Although if you’re squeamish about sexual themes, descriptions of sexual things, or gore, steer clear of Gerald’s Game.
Poo. I just mistook the fingerprint smear on my computer screen for a screaming face. It’s going to be a good night.
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