Friday, April 6, 2012

Slapping Stephen King


Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in the film adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining. 
Photograph: Ronald Grant


Damn you Stephen King!!! You brought it back. You pulled it from a place of rest. You hit me with it - hard. You hit me till my voice stammered, my body froze. You hit me till my fingers hovering silently above the keys.

You hit me with my own insecurities. All it took was a few lines from your book, "Stephen King On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft."

I was horrified by what you told me, "If I want to be a writer, I must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.  There's no way around these two things, no shortcuts."

My first apartment without a living, breathing man, was filled with dead ones - Yeats, Twain, Hemingway, Faulkner, Tolstoy... I fanned their pages, bent their binders, dented their covers, put markers at page 167, 240, 484, moved it forward and backwards, as if flipping through them meant I knew them.

When I studied Tolstoy's War and Peace, I pretended I was a speed reader and finger feed my way to page 842 before I lost interest. He was too intense.

So I guess I'm not a writer. I don't read enough. I don't write enough. I am just a women who spends a large chunk of her life, playing with the tic, tic, tic, space, tap, tap, tap, return, of her laptop.

I don't know how to dream up stories, or unfold complicated plots. I tap what haunts me. I tap what lingers at the back of my throat.

I am a blogger who thrives on your reply.

I blog because I don't know how to write a book. I blog because facebook status updates, and cancer discussion boards are not enough. I blog because of people like Chris.

Today, two days late for my INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP post, an unknown commenter named Chris tells me...

I've just now stumbled upon your blog. I've tended to peruse blogs relating to catstir, since my diagnosis back in September. I even drunkenly started one, though I am normally too shy and insecure and neglectful of it to comment and therefore leave a trace of it somehow. But, I'll take that risk because I have to comment tonight after reading what you said about catstir being a gift. Usually, I am loathe to call it a gift. I keep trying to find a different word like "lesson" or something else. However, you made me look at it differently tonight with these words: "...I received my first catstir gift - knowing I wanted to live". 

I was slowly recovering from one of the worst and scariest bouts of clinical depression I'd ever had right before I found out I had this. Catstir did, indeed, mysteriously (to me)take the word "suicide" out of my mental tape player. That truly is a gift. There is no other way of looking at it anymore. "Knowing I want to live and fight to live". I can't even express how heartbroken I am for the loss of your son. Thank you for speaking up about depression...I have to stop now because I'm really in need of a tissue (sorry, I can't help it). I just wanted to let you know that your words, and your willingness to share them, are a gift as well.  ~Chris


I blog knowing there are those who relate to my pain and my joy. People who are not afraid to speak their truth - who are not afraid to cry openly or laugh loudly.

Thank you for reminding me why I tap and slap away at what moves me, what stays with me, what demands to be heard.

With love and gratitude...

xo,MOnkeyME

P.S. There was this one day, after band camp and before reading Stephen King, when I was almost certain I was a writer.  And this is some of what I wrote:  MY WRITING



SPECIAL THANKS to the old man who blames his neighbors, republicans and fox news for all his woes.  Who enjoys throwing rocks at geese, printing out pages of my blog, and passing it round for others to read. Yes, I'll take all the readers I can get - especially the lonely ones.

28 comments:

  1. Lol Shannon, if you were me and I was you would you call me a writer?

    I think you would....

    Wander

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    1. now YOU are a writer! and you know I appreciate how you write from your heart.

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  2. Writing is like pregnancy - everyone has an opinion about how you should do it. I was always told that writers are people who write. You write. So there :-P

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  3. ....and all us "repliers" ...we are watching you and reading you and who gives a fuck what Steven K thinks or says. He is fiction , you are real. And real good I might add. Keep it alive. Love and write...we are waiting.

    ps Do I look a little bit like Jack N ???

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    1. you DO, you DO Jaybird! wild, truly wild!!!!!

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  4. I just read your short story...therefore you wrote...therefore you are a writer. Weird, I had just been thinking that I haven't seen you blog for a while. How are you doing? I too am a 27 year catsir fighter.

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    1. 27 years! That is a long fight. Love reading about those who kick catstirs ass!!!

      I am doing well. I am one of the lucky ones. I am cancer free!

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  5. Stop tattling on my Dad for the geese thing! xoxo Jennifer

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    1. Haaaaaaa!!!!! that made me laugh Jennifer (aka Inky, right?)

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  6. An even weirder thing is I may have forgotten how to write stories. I think I knew at one point.

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  7. With all such books, don't take the whole thing as gospel. Just take what speaks to you and leave the rest behind. I enjoyed King's book immensely. Mostly, because it gave me insight into another writer's process. Don't let anyone define you as a writer. You write and you touch people with your words. What more is there?

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  8. Seems like you're a writer to me. :) You write, and I'll read.

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  9. If you're not a writer then I don't want to be one either. I want to not be a writer as brilliantly as you are not a writer.

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  10. Writer, blogger, storyteller, survivor, much loved monkey. How many people can say those things (and so much more!) about themselves??? My dearest unique and gifted friend, whether fiction or embellished history, it's the way you put your humor and pain out there that keeps me reading. The words reach my own humor and pain and remind me that it is ok to feel, whatever it is.

    xoxoxoxo

    MG

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    1. the "much loved" part is my favorite part. xoxoxo

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  11. You could teach Stephen King a few things about writing with raw, personal, heart-rending honesty. Every writer has a different strength and a different process. You can be proud to claim and own your strength. SK never got a note like you got from Chris.

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    1. "SK" Stephen King
      "SK" Shannon Kennedy
      That SK sure is a great writer!!!

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  12. Hey Toots, you're a writer if you write. If I read Stephen King, I'd have to start going to on and on meetings again.

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    1. HA!!! "Toots" ... I haven't been called that in a very long time. It makes me smile :)
      It's hard to argue with the "you write therefor you are a writer" logic.

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  13. Your friend, BevApril 7, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    You are a writer because you do, Shannon. That is certainly more than I do. You write from your heart and that is what makes it good. Keep it up.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Bev! Love being a wall flower with you :)

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  14. I think we all know where we want to be in the writing pantheon. Steven King is undoubtedly an extremely successful writer. (Anyone who supports themselves by selling books is extremely successful & he's a bit beyond that.) In that book he goes on to confess that he had lied when he told an interviewer that he takes his birthday and Christmas off from writing and otherwise he writes every day. He spits out books at a rate that I can guarantee I never will, because I will never write every single day. Not ever.

    For me, I want to touch someone with what I write. I want them to have a place to go, inside the covers of a book, and people they like or relate to or who give them something to do with those who were cruel. I want to create a world that didn't exist before (I write fantasy) and I want you to feel as though it's real, it's just that you have to walk through the wardrobe or push your trolley through 9 3/4 and you could get there as easily as the characters do. I want to be happy, too, and trust me when I say writing keeps me happy.

    The writing books I tend to hold close though, are Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones and Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. Yeah, I basically stopped reading them in the '90s, though I did read King's.

    I figure I'll type away and see what happens.

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  15. Hi Shannon! I haven't read any of the previous comments, (just too lazy and in a hurry..and I mean that in the most sincere, honest way!) so I hope I'm not repeating what others have already said. I've also read parts of Stephen King's book on writing, and YES, I do consider myself a writer, even though I don't write in my memoir every day, or read anything in particular every day! We are all individuals and have to do things in our own way. AND just because you don't write fiction, doesn't mean you are not a writer! Creative non-fiction, essays, memoirs.....are beautiful types of writing and are more likely(sometimes) to make people "feel" something, than fiction! And as you said above: "I tap what haunts me. I tap what lingers at the back of my throat." << those alone are beautiful words...and also why all of us flock to your blog, to read those thoughts of yours. You once mentioned about writing a memoir, I think...and/or also a book about your dad and Alzheimers. I think you should! Do both, or bring them together in one amazing memoir! Love and hugs....

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Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing
greenmonkeytales@live.com

Shannon E. Kennedy

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Photo by Joan Harrison