A Conversation With Stephen King

Dear Stephen,

It is almost a week since I wrote you that last letter and I haven’t heard back from you yet. You are killing me man, making me look like I haven’t gotten any social media juice. No pull, no mojo. How will I ever show my face again to my fans, all three of them.

Really, I came up with this great headline to use as a follow up and now it is just that much weaker than it was.  But the beauty of being a writer is that I can create the conversation that we might have had. Right? I am glad that you, the Stephen of my imagination agree with me because it might be kind of awkward if you didn’t. People might wonder if the old melon was going soft and who could blame them. I suppose that it is possible, but I can assure you that it is still encased in cement. Hit me in the head and it will feel like you punched a pile of bricks.

Sometimes I think that I made a mistake by not taking advantage of that hard head. Maybe I should have become a boxer. The guys who do it well make ridiculous amounts of money and though I am not materialistic, I like money. Really, why shouldn’t I. It can’t buy you peace of mind or happiness but it can make it easier for you to chase some of those things. Big money would make it easier for me to work on writing the great American novel.

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So here we are, staring at my blog. This is my cyber sandbox. It is where I practice my writing and try to apply some of the lessons that I have learned from life experience, your book and my time working as a writer. I don’t know about you, but I almost never delete my drafts. I like to hold onto them and see if I can’t retool the post so that it works or alternatively incorporate pieces of those posts into something else. Want to see an example? Ok, here is a piece of a post that I haven’t been able to make work for me..yet.

Mom says that my preschool teachers used to tell her that I had quite an imagination. “Mrs. Jack, your son is a natural born storyteller. We can’t believe the stories he comes up with.” I’ll speak on behalf of mom and say that forty years later nothing has changed. I still have an active imagination. I dream in technicolor. I don’t have to go to the theater to see a movie nor do I need to turn on my television. My head is filled with Pulitzer Prize winning tales that could be translated to the big screen and turned into Oscar winners.

Really, it is true. It doesn’t matter to me whether it has happened yet because the story of my life hasn’t been written yet…just parts of it.

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That is an important distinction that people miss.  Max, the star of  I want to start over didn’t understand or maybe he didn’t believe it. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter.

Technically that comes from a post called What Inspires You but I wasn’t inspired while writing it so I let it go for a bit. It is rare that I feel like am suffering from any sort of writer’s block. I can’t remember a time where I was completely blocked, that just doesn’t happen. But I do hit spells where I can’t stomach the content I produce and lately that has been my particular affliction.

Most of the time I just put my head down and keep banging on the keyboard because sooner or later I’ll come out the other side. That’s because in my mind’s eye I see myself using a machete to blaze a trail through a jungle or engaged in hand to hand combat. Ask the Shmata Queen if she has ever seen me lose a fight that mattered and she’ll tell you no. It doesn’t happen. There is only one entrance into the castle. It is a single door that only has room for one person to enter at a time. Give me a sword and none shall pass.

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Well Stephen, if you can give me a little more time I’ll tell you about how I struggle to find the proper balance of self promotion (become a fan of TheJackB) and some of my plans for the future. I have been wrestling with code for a bit. Internet Explorer hates this blog- would love to fix that but I can’t seem to make that happen. It is frustrating. I know enough to be dangerous but not enough to be good. Have to rectify that.

I am on the verge of something big. I feel it. There are changes coming and it is making me a little crazy waiting for them to happen. I keep trying to use the force but it is not happening and Yoda won’t take my calls. So I am trying to focus on a couple of areas. The kids think that I know the answers to everything. They still think I am superman. That won’t last forever, but I am going to enjoy it while it does.

Would love to write more but they are home from school and it is lunch time. So I think that I’ll go sit and spend a few minutes with them. Hope you come visit again. Leave me a comment sometime, my readers will love it.

Talk to you soon,

Jack

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Comments

  1. G’Day Jack,
    It’s a superb Autumnal morning here in Sydney. Daylight saving finished at 2 am so I’m really writing this an hour ago. Your conversation with our mutual mate Steve K reminded me of something I said in Boston over 20 years ago.

    After a conference, a few out of towners and this Aussie curmudgeon decided to take a bus tour of the city. The guide asked each person on the bus to say where they were from and why they were in Boston.

    I told my fellow tourists my name and said I was a surgeon from Australia who was in Boston to fix Larry Bird’s ankle. I became am instant celebrity. Much to the delight of my co-conferees, everyone on the bus, particularly the guide, wanted to know precisely what treatment I was to give Larry, when I expected him to be back on court, what secret salves I had up my sleeve etc.etc.

    I retracted my statement and pointed out that I was an inveterate Aussie liar. That made things worse. They then assumed I was attempting to hide my true identity so that other teams wouldn’t know the lengths that the Celtics were going to to get Larry back on court.

    Even as they left the bus at the end of the tour, fellow tourists were shaking my hand and saying things like “Good Luck with Larry’s ankle” and “It’s great that you’ve come so far to look after Larry.”

    When in Boston, do as Bostonians do. But never, ever joke about Larry Bird or his ankle.

    Next time I’m talking to my mate Steve, I’m going to ask about your conversation with him. I hope that it turns out that you’re not like that Aussie surgeon that the Celtics brought to Boston 20+ years ago to fix Larry Bird’s ankle. I met him on a bus tour y’know. Can’t remember his name. But someone told me that he was a distant Down Unda relative of Bix Beiderbecke .

    Aint writing fun?

    Best Wishes
    Leon

    • Hi Leon,

      I am a die hard Lakers fan so I would have loved to watch those celtic fans squirm and hope that you were really going to find a way to get Bird back on the court. Man, so many good memories are tied up in watching them lose to the Lakers. 😉

      That is a good story and you definitely made me smile. Hope you are enjoying the beginning of your Autumn- I can’t stop smiling at the thought that summer is just around the corner here.

  2. LynnJohnsonHasselberger says:

    I’ll be a fan, Jack! So you’re up to at least 5 now 🙂 Clever post!

    • @LynnJohnsonHasselberger Hi Lynn. Welcome to the blog. It is a bit dusty and dirty around here but I promise it will eventually settle down…maybe. 😉 Hope to see you again real soon.

  3. Jack, I guess I am now officially your 4th fan and what a fan I am. (But I promise I’ll never be your #1 Fan because we all know how that goes. Except I must warn you that I am a nurse.)

    I never delete anything out of my drafts. Someday maybe I’ll get a show on TLC and they’ll call it “Shitty First Draft Hoarders” and it’ll be really sad and then my kids and husband will come and cry on the front lawn and beg me to give up blogging. Okay, the last part could totally happen. LIke tomorrow.

    I feel your pain, Jack. I wrote an open letter to Diana Gabaldon about the hot mess she’s made of her Outlander Series and my hopes that she’ll get that train back on track and, like, the bitch has totally ignored me. I know. I can’t believe it either. I even cowboy’d up and twittered it directly to her. Nothin’.

    Anyway, you’ve convinced me to go buy this book. Stephen King should thank you. And someday I hope he does.

    (btw, it has taken me four minutes so far to post this comment in case you are keeping track. Make that five because I can’t remember my fucking username. Okay, we’re at six because I can’t remember my fucking, fucking username and it won’t send me that information and I have no idea where to fucking find it. And it won’t let me make a new account because I already have an account. I’m about to give up and I guess you’ll never hear from me ever again, Jack.)

    • As you can see, I was finally able to figure it out. Bah humbug.

    • @Chloe Jeffreys Chloe, I am a big dumb man- we never fear the nurse- unless she has a needle and is taking our blood

      Save those drafts. I am not kidding when I say that they are valuable. They may not be the proverbial diamond in the rough but they have value, more than we realize.

      If Robert Jordan hadn’t died I might have written him a similar letter to the one you describe. Dude had a hell of a series and just lost it. But I get that, things happen.

      Stephen King really is one of my favorite writers and I love his book on writing in large part because it feels like he is speaking to me. He is, isn’t he. 😉

      • @TheJackB I like you, Jack. Thanks for the encouragement. Sometimes when I go back to a draft, I end up finishing it and find that it goes somewhere totally new and turns out to be something totally unexpected. I love when that happens.

        And I’m going to buy Stephen King’s book.

  4. Hi thejackb Whoa…I agree with @BetsyKCross …you are one focused dude. Really!. My age has taught me to do some letting go…that letting go isn’t a sign of giving up or defeat. Rather, letting go is a way of giving myself permission to redirect my focus occasionally. And, for me, the good news is that almost always, I return with new energy and, if I am lucky, new ideas. I haven’t deleted posts anywhere yet but that is not to say that I wouldn’t. I have a ton of drafts sitting in each of my WP homes and maybe they’ll see the light of day and maybe they won’t. For now, I am really immersing myself in one of the most stunning Falls ever in the Midwest. I push away the little guilt creature that tries to rear it’s annoying little head when I am not “working” at the computer and it’s getting easier for me to do that.

    And skdotcom_news is sure to “find” your creative home here someday!

    Claudia

    • @TheJackB BTW…SO glad you reconnected with @livefyre !!! Such a great commenting system!

    • @SocialMediaDDS@BetsyKCrossskdotcom_news Hi Claudia. Writing is something that is so very important to me. It is part of who I am and I have spent too long doing things that didn’t nourish that part of me.

      So, I am determined to fix that and that is part of why you see so much content coming from here. Those drafts are nuggets of gold, sometimes you have to work hard to brush off the dirt and the dust, but they are there if you look for them.

  5. I DO delete posts! Then I can pretend that I never wrote them and nobody ever read them! I’m not as brave as you. With all that you have had going on I really don’t know how you still feel like creating. I just can’t do that when I’m stressed. My soul goes out the window. So you must be a very strong and focused person. Maybe t’s a guy thing come to think of it. They can feel, but they also are very good at compartmentalizing!

    Maybe I could pull some strings for you and get Mr. King over here? Maybe..

    • @BetsyKCross I think I write more than most people do. It is part of how I clear my head. I am driven to write some of these posts. Just has to be done.

      My biggest challenge is that I often don’t like what I have written. But I still do it. Been working on a couple that will go up shortly.

      It is probably fair to say that when I want to focus I am pretty good at it. Don’t know what it is like to be female, but I definitely compartmentalize.

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