So I don’t consider myself the type of person who gets all gaga for celebrities, but every rule has an exception.
And that exception was recently brought to life when The Bookworm in Omaha (a.k.a. The Awesomest Independent Bookstore in the World) hosted An Evening With Stephen King.
Do you remember the first book you read–for fun? I’m not talking about stuff that you were forced to read in school, or half-assed “read” when you were required to pick out a book and do a report.
I’m talking about the first time you picked up a book and said, “Hey, that book actually looks cool.”
Back when I was a kid, there was really no YA section at the local bookstore (remember those?). We didn’t have Harry Potter or Hunger Games.
We had Stephen King.
And that was mostly all we read. By “we” I mean my small circle of friends who actually liked to read in high school. The first book I read on my own was Cujo. The next was Christine. And that really rocked my world.
What King did for me, more than any of writer, was tell me that it’s okay to read. That it can be fun and you don’t have to be ashamed to do it in public.
And it was awesome.
But what was really awesome was something he taught me later in life. WAY after high school. It was in his book On Writing where he taught me that it was okay to write. And not only that, but that it was possible to achieve minor success doing so.
And that if you didn’t follow your dream of writing, then you have no blame but yourself.
So anyhow, when it was announced he’d be giving a speech in Omaha, I made sure to click the mouse repeatedly until I got a ticket to the event. And it was freakin’ awesome. They shoved 600+ of us into a auditorium that had trouble keeping us cool in the hot June Nebraska air and we listened to our favorite legend talk about his life, his books, and his journey as a writer.
As for the speech itself, it was great. He mostly told funny stories and inserted stuff about horror and Nebraska at the right times. It was really nothing groundbreaking, but that wasn’t the point. The point was just to see a literary hero hold the crowd in his hand for an hour. And that was exactly what he did.
You know, I can tell you all day long how important it is to stay positive and keep writing as we chase this writing dream, but seeing Stephen King live helped it hit home for me. Here’s a guy, the guy who got me into writing and reading in the first place, who is living proof that you can make it writing.
And really, he’s no different than you; he’s no different than me. He knew at an early age what he wanted to do and he just started doing it. Just like any of us–he got up early, he stayed up late, he tracked his rejection letters and he kept at it through thick and thin until he got his first major publishing deal.
I know it may sound cheesy, but Stephen King is still an inspiration to me. So if you’re into his genre and can see him live, do it! And if you’re not of his, stalk your favorite author and find a speech or a book signing and get there to see them. I promise you won’t regret it.