POST CARD FROM THE MUSE
The Constant Reader
By Nandy Ekle
Anyone who reads Stephen King recognizes what a “constant reader” is. If you haven’t heard this phrase before, it’s the term of endearment Mr. King gives his fans, especially those of us who have been around since the 1970s, when Carrie came out, followed by Salem’s Lot, and then The Shining.
So what is it about his work that we crave? Some of his stories are unbelievable, some border on absolute silliness. But I find myself devouring even these as if they were coated with the fudge syrup I pour generously on my ice cream.
Well, I can tell you exactly why this genius’s words keep me glued to the page. And it’s exactly what I just said. He’s a genius with words. When a writer can make you gag with disgust after one sentence, that’s talent. If, after reading a page or two from a book, you find yourself hiding all the alphabet letters from the refrigerator, you’ve been immersed in greatness. If a hotel becomes a living character in a novel, and standing in the door of the hotel makes you feel like you’re shaking hands with a celebrity, that’s the work of a word genius.
My personal favorite Stephen King book is The Shining. In my opinion, this book is a masterpiece. I’ve read it more times than I can count, and I find a new layer every time I open the cover. The last time I read it I noticed something I had never noticed before. The first three or four chapters are back story. However, he does not info dump on us, the readers. What he does is place us inside the characters’ heads. We see, hear, feel, taste, smell, everything they do. And it’s in this state we learn why the characters are the way they are. And it is so real that it took me 30 plus years to analyze it.
In some places during the reveal of this backstory, Mr. King writes continuously without the interruption of punctuation. I believe the absence of commas, periods, and even spaces between words gives the feeling of swirling, as going down a drain.
And that’s incredible.
So, hear’s to you, Mr. King from a consummate Constant Reader.
Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.