Stephen King is one of those writers who can just spew it out, tons of it, like, hyperemesis style, a term I learnt not too long ago, and in a way that’s super readable, because it’s stream of consciousness stuff, written in the way that people talk, and think, and not so much in the way so many folks write.
His stuff is not all super readable for me, no matter how readably written, because he does tend to spiral off into some pretty sick and twisted horror, and some stuff just so cheesy (and I love cheese) in its silliness or gore or out there unbelieveableness (a word I just invented, so easy to understand, readable, even) that it does nothing for me and no matter how well developed the characters (most of them are, another of SK’s skills) and how quaint the language, I’m not interested.
But I decided while staying in Machias, a place where the fog is thick and the woods dense and rusted out old single wides are scattered among fine old mansions and huge, ornate churches and broken down barns and gun shops and the general vibe of True Mainers, a tough lot indeed, that reading Stephen King’s new one while I was in the basement in Bangor might be fun, that maybe I could channel a little of Steve’s action, don’t know if he goes by Steve, probably not Steph, funny how ph can be pronounced like a v, fun with vonics, language is so odd, at least English, and so I downloaded his latest, called the Outsider, since I so frequently feel like one, and read it over the course of a couple of days.
I’m not the wormy kind of outsider in the book, at all, thank goodness.
It’s reasonably well written cheese, good character development, gruesome gore, right off, awful stuff, and man, it’s spooge covered, Steve calls it splooge, but then he also writes fracking instead of freaking or fricking, I mean, fracking is about natural gas and dirty water, but then, he’s a Mainer, which explains the fact that he talks funny, and a man, which explains the spooge, but yeah, he didn’t quite capture Oklahoma, he got Texas a little bit, but then, he’s a Mainer, so, not all that much, but that’s fine, and his riches will grow through production of that work, I’m sure. And given his level of riches, I’m pretty confident he can write whatever he wants, and add to them, and he seems to, so I hope he’s doing something good with all that wealth.
But I digress.
It was readable. I wasn’t ever afraid, and my horror wasn’t the same kind of horror that Misery or Cujo elicited, those stories that weren’t so far out and could have actually been true. The Stand, well, it was way cool, I kind of dug it, even if kind of far out, and what’s funny is that it’s not nearly so far out to me as it once seemed to be, particularly if I stretch my metaphorical imagination a bit.
But the thing is, Stephen King’s most exceptional work (IMHO) is to be found in his non-horror stories. Stand By Me, or I guess it was called the Body, I just saw the movie for the first time a few weeks ago, have seen almost none of the movies had of his work, but The Body, beautiful. The Shawshank Redemption (saw that one, too). Epic, even if it was hard to read now and then, kind of like watching Schlinder’s List, painful as hell, gruesome and brutal sometimes, right up until the Redemption at the end of it.
I so wish Stephen King would move away from little boys raped with big sticks and focus that brilliant and creative mind of his on the beautiful, on the kid standing by the train tracks communing with the deer in the Maine woods, the two old jail mates living out their days on the beach after wrongs had be righted.
There’s more than enough horror in the world without imagining more of it into existence.