In 1977, in a small Massachusetts library, a bored housewife picked up a volume of short stories by an almost unheard of author. Thus, The Magic griped me in it’s fist before I finished my first King edition.
I became so spellbound by the words and workings of Stephen King; I guzzled everything on the library shelves bearing his name. Once I’d absorbed works already in print, new books and stories just didn’t happen fast enough. Have you ever harassed librarians and bookstore clerks? Tormented them as thoroughly as Pennywise plagued seven children in one of my personal favorites? It wasn’t a pretty picture.
The article in Time magazine first appeared in 1986. What a big mistake. Not only did the article feature a picture of his house, it printed his address. Needless to say, it took me no time at all to locate the big mansion in Bangor, then about four hours away. I burned rubber, making that four-hour trip in Maximum Overdrive – just content to Stand before the big black gates and gaze with Shining wonder at the Dark Tower of the most talented author of my time.
Soon I found a job and settled in the Bangor area to begin my phase of worship. I sent fan letters; I begged for an autographed photo. I even shot many pictures of the King mansion from every conceivable angle. I hate to admit it, but one Halloween in the late 80’s; I followed a group of pre-school trick-or-treaters right up to the doorstep and stood mere inches from the King Himself as he doled out treats to the youngsters. I was his number one fan . . .
Until I peeked into the mirror and spied Annie Wilkes peeking back. With the writing of Misery, I glimpsed Mr. King saying something important to his fans.
I’ve changed my behavior considerably since Annie Wilkes swung her ax. I no longer haunt the neighborhood of West Broadway in Bangor. The King’s Magic is still with me but in a different way; I create my own magic.
My house in Maine is small, dark, and hidden: it lies quietly on the outskirts of Bangor. As I blaze ahead to where every fiction writer has gone before, I can now look back on those days of idolatry with fresh eyes. My Dark Half has always been here: waiting for the ax to fall.
Note from the author: The King’s Magic first appeared in the September 1994 edition of SKIN (Stephen King Informational Network), a newsletter published for Stephen King fans. All first time article contributors had to answer this important question: “What does Stephen King’s writing mean to you?”
SK Tidbit: Stephen King’s The Graveyard Shift was filmed in the town where I currently live. The film was shot at a small woolen mill where my son worked. My son, a high school student at the time, is actually in the movie for a split-second. Each day, during the filming, he would fascinate me with stories of how the movie was made. At the end of shooting, the crew gave him a Graveyard Shift tee shirt for his on-the-set assistance in the making of the movie.
Stephen King's Graveyard Shift