Awakening from Stephen King's Nightmare.
By ice rivers
I have been institutionalized and remain institutionialized.
I have awakened from Stephen King's nightmare after reading 41 of his books. His nightmare was to be institutionalized somewhere and within the institution writing his stories that no one would read except inmates within the institution.
38 years of schedules and guards has an effect on a man even when he becomes "free".
It all began with "Carrie". Sometimes books are donated to the institution. Donated books have the covers ripped off probably to prevent inmates from ripping off the books by swiping them and selling them as brand new. The books donated are damaged goods delivered to damaged goods. Rip offs delivered to rip off artists.
Nobody had heard of King forty years so I wasn't expecting much from the novel. Instead I was amazed at all levels. Levels being coherence, rigor, authenticity, validity and engagement. I figured the writer whoever that he/she was would never be heard from again, what with the fake name and all. Steven King yeah right.....why not Johnny Crown or Lynn Sweet. Too bad, this was some good shit.
So I was astonished a few months later when "Salem's Lot" showed up in the institution. I'm not a big vampire guy as I'm surrounded by them but once again I couldn't put the book down. Best vampire story evah. Who the hell is this King guy?
Next came "The Stand" and this one was even better than the first two as it included a wider range of characters, a deathly plague, an unnerving evacuation, a charming villain who might be the devil, a series of massive journeys and a final show down between good and evil.
I thought I was the only person in America who was reading this guy. I raved about him within the walls but nobody ever heard of him. I told the inmates to read the books but no-one ever did.
Next was the effort that I consider and still consider the culmination of them all, "The Shining". Jack Torrance is suffering from alcoholism and suffocating writer's block. He believes that isolation will help him to confront his demons so he institutionalizes himself and goes crazy. Believe me, institutionalized isolation will do that to a man.
Shortly after I read "The Shining", a guard approached me and noticed that I had the book in my cell. She asked me if I enjoyed the book. I began to rave about the book, about isolation, about institutionalization. She told me to "shut up and listen for a goddamned minute."
It turns out that she had been listening to me all along and had read all four of the books. She agreed with me on their quality. She couldn't wait for the next one to come out and when it did, she would purchase it and get it to me.
It came out. She purchased it. She gave it to me. I read it and gave it back.
This happened again and again and again and again and again. "Firestarter," "Cujo", "Dead Zone, Christine", "Pet Semetary" and on and on.
Meanwhile I continued to write my own stuff. My guard started to read it. She thought it was good shit, too bad that no one would ever read it.