Monday, February 20, 2012

On Inspiration (Or, I Owe It to Stephen King)

It's been over a year since I last posted, and truth is that probably very few people will ever read this post because I've been forgotten. But that inspiration, that kick in the pants I'd been waiting for to spike my blogging fever...well, it had eluded me.

Then I read the opening paragraph to Stephen King's The Body, a 1982 novella long-ago turned major motion picture...almost a relic by literary standards. But I read it this morning, and it inspired me. Just look, if you will, at how simply yet eloquently King describes such an intimate fear.

The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them - words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought is was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.

Concise. Honest. Perfect.

I started reading King when I was twelve years old and considered myself quite the enthusiast throughout high school and college. I even read some of his books in Spanish when I was trying to learn the language in my twenties. (Pet Sematary is just as creepy en español!) Eventually, however, I moved on...until last year, when I read On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft. Then I was reminded of why I had admired him in my adolescence and why he is such a successful writer.

No matter the genre, a good writer finds a way to take language and turn it into something more than just words in print. A good writer taps into the soul of words, the spirit of the message, to deliver the reader to that other world where our hearts can sing the words to the song it has felt for so long.

I know I am not that writer...not yet. But with inspirational passages like the one quoted above, I feel hope. And to quote King once more, hope springs eternal.


  1. You're not forgotten, Wendy! I hope all has been well with you. And yes, always hope springs eternal! I love Stephen King's books. Started with 'It' when I was in my teens and fairly rocketed through his whole back catalogue. Not read the new one yet, letting anticipation build (and waiting for the time to read a day away.) Glad to see you back here again!

    1. Thank you, Jayne, for noticing when I reappeared on your blog roll. (did I spell roll right?)