Sixty-fifth and final installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.
Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.
Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.
As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.
Okay, I’ll admit it, I cheated. Last week when it came time to draw one of the last two names remaining in my Hall of Idols ballot, I didn’t even do it. I knew it was between Alice Cooper and today’s inductee and I chose Alice to be number 64 without a draw.
Why? Because as a beginning struggling writer, I thought it would end my hall in the highest note, if I closed it with a writer.
And not any writer, THE writer. In my humble opinion, probably the greatest of all time (I’m still in doubt between him and Anne Rice, but let’s say he is the best male writer and she is the best female writer. I hate to divide writers in genders – it’s actually ridiculous, but this way they can both be the best of all time). Yes, he is the one and only, Stephen King.
Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland, Maine in September 21, 1947, the second son of Donald and Nelly Ruth Pillsbury King. His parents divorced while he was still a toddler and he and his brother were raised by his mother.
According to his book On Writing, Stephen loved movies and sci-fi and horror comic books ever since he started reading and one day he re-wrote one of the stories he had read and showed to his mother, who replied: “Very good Stephen, now write one of your own.” Little did she know what would be the consequences of that statement.
Stephen went to grammar school in Durham and then High School in Lisbon Falls, before going to study English at the University of Maine. In his sophomore year he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper. Also in the university, he met Tabitha, a poet with whom he fell in love and married just after graduation.
After the University, Stephen would sell a story or two to men’s magazines and collect rejection slips from agents and publishers. He used to put them all in a nail he had on his wall. Until one day, while working as a janitor and cleaning a female school bathroom, he thought about a story of a girl being bullied. She wanted her to fight back, but didn’t know how. Then he read an article in a magazine about telekinetic powers, Carrie was born and the rest is history. He actually didn’t like the story and threw it in the thrash. It was Tabitha who rescued it and insisted he should go on.
After Carrie it was like a Force of Nature, you couldn’t stop him. From the Spring of 1973 (when Carrie was published) till now, Mr. King sold approximately 350 million books and counting.
Besides, although he is mainly known as a horror writer, he did it all. Time-travel, vampires, end of the world, sports (Blockade Billy, anyone?), prison break, science fiction, fantasy, you name it. Stephen did it all and he did it better than all.
When I read 11/22/63 (probably my favorite book of all time) I read almost 300 pages no-stop because I couldn’t put it down and that’s just one example. This happens to all his books. I don’t know how he manages to do it (if I did I would write worldwide bestsellers myself) but no one has the gift to write a real page turner like Stephen King.
And he considers himself just a guy who works hard (that means writes about one thousand to two thousand words every day and reads a lot) and not a genius. However, as much as I hate to disagree with Stephen King, I must say he is a GENIUS, one of the greatest of the XX century.
Therefore, Mr. King, as they say, the last shall be first, so you are the last of my idols to enter the Hall, but you’re definitely the first among writers. Welcome!
Flying Colors – s/t
Crazy Lixx – s/t
Fleetwood Mac – s/t
Sodom – In the Sign Of Evil / Obsessed By Cruelty
Imelda May – Tribal
Cream – Fresh Cream
Queen – Greatest Video Hits I
Bruce Dickinson – Anthology
Summer of ’49: The Classic Chronicle of Baseball’s most magnificent season as seen through the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry – David Halberstam
Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”
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