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Tag Archives: Creativity

Mr. King, I’m Done With You

Yes, I’m reading 11/22/63, purchased in paperback with my hard-earned cash.  Based on the reviews, I thought this book was different.  That maybe, just maybe, you had finally broken out of the endless repetitiveness that has been your schtick lately.  I swore after reading Under the Dome that I was done with you.  Talk about a story that is identical to so many others of you.  Yes, change the premise a bit, the setting a little, and you have a new book.  But the reality is the characters are the same, the good versus evil is the same, the story is basically what you have written over and over and over.

But those reviews of 11/22/63 suggested something new.  Something better.

Well, apparently not.  You’ve taken us right back to Derry which, along with Castle Rock, represents everything that is evil in the world.  Just how many stories is it that you have written that bring us back to Derry?  Well, thanks to Google, which took me to Goodreads, I can answer that question:

– The Running Man (1982)
– Pet Sematary (1983)
– “Uncle Otto’s Truck” (1983)
– “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut” (1984)
– It (1986)
– The Tommyknockers (1987)
– “The Night Flier” (1988)
– Secret Window, Secret Garden (1990)
– Needful Things (1991)
– Insomnia (1994)
– “Autopsy Room Four” (1997)
– Bag of Bones (1998)
– “The Road Virus Heads North” (1999)
– Dreamcatcher (2001)
– The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower (2004)
– Lisey’s Story (2006)
– “Mute” (2007)
– “Fair Extension” (2010)
– 11/22/63 (2011)

Do you see a problem here, Mr. King?  No, probably not.  How can it be a problem if you’re continuing to rake in millions of dollars?  How can it be a problem when you continue to top the bestseller list and have at least some critics singing your praises?

I read The Shining when I was in high school.  Alone at home one Saturday evening.  It was my first book of yours and I was terrified.  Pet Sematary was equally frightening.  I loved The Stand the Dead Zone.  It was a classic.  I looked forward to each chapter of the Dark Tower series until you ruined it with your incredibly self-absorbed, self-centered ending that was really nothing more than taking the easy way out.

I think that’s where my love of your storytelling began to erode.  You completely f$%$#@’d up a great story with the ending to Dark Tower.  The first book in the series — an absolute classic.  The ending destroyed it all.

And, now, when it comes to your novels, you can do nothing more than write stories that are twice as long as they need to be and are really nothing more than repeats of prior stories or mining the deep, dark corners of places you’ve already been.

I would so love to see you take us somewhere new.  Sadly, I don’t think you’re capable of it anymore.

P.S.  Thanks to a friend I read the novel Replay a few months ago.  Some of the similarities between that story and 11/22/63 are remarkable.  You sure you can claim 11/22/63 as your own?

P.P.S.  Please, please do not let me read another novel of yours.

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Creative Juices

A Blog Post In Parts

I

I’ll keep this part brief as I’ve touched on it before.  My entire adult life I wanted to write.  I believed I could write a novel, wanted to write a novel, was going to write a novel.  Until almost ten years ago, however, I had no idea how to go about it.  Then one day, I outlined a novel in my head and began to write.  Ever since then, writing is the thing I do and it is what I have become.

Writing fills the gaps of free time, takes me away from the things I “should” be doing.  It fills my head with words and images, stories and ideas.  That first novel has grown into more than 40 short stories, 2 complete novels, 3 half-completed novels, and ideas for more.

II

About seven or eight years ago, I participated in a writers’ group for a few months.  It was led by a woman named Donna.  Shortly after I left the group, she more or less permanently relocated to Oaxaca, Mexico.  From there I got her emails on occasion, providing information about her workshops in Oaxaca and her occasional forays back to Northern California.

At the beginning of 2011, I got one of those emails — about her writers’ retreat in Oaxaca coming the summer of 2011.  I read the email and ignored it for a day or two or three.  I came back to it.  Why not?  Because, this is not me.  I don’t go to foreign countries.  I don’t travel.  Exotic and mysterious aren’t me.  Why?  Because of those reasons I just listed.  It’s not me.  Hence I must do it.  There are moments when I realize I must break from the routine that is me.

I announced to the family I wanted to go to Oaxaca for a writers’ retreat.  Reality then, of course as it must, struck home.  2011 was the year of the Bar Mitzvah and summer camp for the youngest, and a 5-week trip to Israel for the oldest.  A trip for myself or any kind of vacation at all wasn’t in the financial cards that were dealt for 2011.

I adamantly stated “Well, then, next year, I’m going.”

2012 rolls around.  The email goes out to Donna.  When is it?  I’m coming.  The reply came back.  Sorry, but I’m no longer hosting the writers’ retreats.  A letdown of massive proportions.

I immediately scouted the internet for other writers’ retreats.  There was nothing quite like that Oaxaca jaunt, but I settled on the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference — a very exclusive, limited participation, must apply for and be invited to attend, conference in Connecticut in August.  I applied, submitted a writing sample, and waited.  At the end of May, I received my expected rejection.

I announced to the gathered members of the Midget family, “I’m taking a writing vacation anyway.”  Well, actually, I quietly and humbly asked Queen Midget if she would mind terribly if I took a few days for myself this summer.  She, of course, graciously allowed it.

So, this Wednesday, I’m off to Caples Lake for four days of peace and quiet.  I’m struggling with the idea that I’ll have so much time for myself and the things I want to do, while also realizing that those few hours don’t even scratch the surface of what I really need.

III

Back to Part I … there was that moment when suddenly I began to write.  It’s not just writing that has fascinated me.  There are many creative endeavors that interest me.  Growing up, I shied away from creation.  I thought I couldn’t write.  I didn’t play an instrument.  I certainly didn’t paint or engage in any other type of artistic or creative activity.  I believed I had not a creative bone in my body.

As an adult, I’ve wanted to challenge that.  I conquered the writing piece.  But, still in front of me is the herculean task of learning an instrument.  Not just learning to play songs on a saxophone or a guitar or whatever, but being able to just pick up that instrument I have learned and be able to play it, whatever tune or melody it is in my head.  For another day somewhere in the future, I’ve decided something like the bongo drums are where I’ll need to head.  Although I haven’t given up on the saxophone.  Or the violin.  Or the guitar.  Or … sigh.

And seemingly even more insurmountable?  The idea of art.  Of painting or using pencils or sketching or … pick your medium. I’ve wanted to figure out how to paint or draw for decades.  I have pictures in my head I’d like to put on to paper or canvas, but for far too long have thought that I don’t know how.

I’m beginning to think, however, that I’m at the same moment I was almost ten years ago when I outlined that first story.  The floodgates are about to open.  While at Caples Lake, somewhere along the way, I’m going to sit down.  I have acrylics, I have pastels.  I have a couple of canvasses and a sketch pad.  I’m going to see if it’s time.

 

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