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text 2016-08-10 01:11
Stand by the King, Stand by Your Brother
The Shawshank Redemption - Stephen King
The Body - Robin A.H. Waterfield,Stephen King
The Shining - Stephen King

When I received the incredible opportunity to meet Stephen King, I pondered for days beforehand about what to tell him, what I wanted to share with this man who had shared so much with me through his words.

And then I knew.

But If I were to get the words out in the moment, it had to be a just-us.

 

My husband went first. Then I stepped forward and King's eyes smiled into mine and held them. I leaned forward, the distance balanced between no one can overhear/this is special and I'm a crazy stalker who is going to bite off your nose. His eyes told me he understood. And then I told him.

 

I told him that "The Body", the novella that became Stand by Me, helped me, with every reread, with my delayed and complicated grief from my little brother's death. In the obvious ways at first, but, finally, as I aged--

 

through Chris, as he cried about wanting to go somewhere where no one knew him and start over (unable to shoulder my identity as the Older Bereaved Sister, wanting to drop it)

 

and as Chris, in the quoted scene below, tells Gordie that he is stuck in his grief, stuck thinking the wrong brother died, stuck in his anger, and that he has some writing to do.

King had looked down while I was explaining, to carefully sign my first edition of The Shining. When I got to that last specific bit, he finished, dropped the pen, and met my eyes again. His eyes were damp.

 

"I am so very glad," he said, "and so, so very grateful you were able to tell me."

 

We looked silently at each other for another moment. He slid me my book, and said, "What was his name?"

 

"Eric."

 

He nodded as a man does when he mentally puts something in his pocket. "Eric."

 

--

 

The movie came out when I was in high school, still in the middle of it, still trying to figure out the answer to the question about how many siblings I had. The truth--one but he died? Way to bum everyone out, Morticia. None? Betrayal. Just being tasked with that (tasking myself with it) ramped up the grief-anger. Perfect timing. This movie owns a piece of my heart, and I don't want it back.

 

Gordie: Fuck writing, I don't want to be a writer. It's stupid. It's a stupid waste of time.
Chris: That's your dad talking.
Gordie: Bullshit.
Chris: Bull true. I know how your dad feels about you. He doesn't give a shit about you. Denny was the one he cared about and don't try to tell me different. You're just a kid, Gordie.
Gordie: Oh, gee! Thanks, Dad.
Chris: Wish the hell I was your dad. You wouldn't be goin' around talkin' about takin' these stupid shop courses if I was. It's like God gave you something, man, all those stories you can make up. And He said, "This is what we got for ya, kid. Try not to lose it." Kids lose everything unless there's someone there to look out for them. And if your parents are too fucked up to do it, then maybe I should.

 

--

 

Thank you, sweet, loving Naomi King, for sharing so much of your father with the rest of us weird motley fools and discontents. Please accept this story as a token of gratitude from one Constant Reader, who is a better and healthier person for it.

 

Impetus: http://wilwheaton.net/2011/03/though-i-hadnt-seen-him-in-over-twenty-years-i-knew-id-miss-him-forever/

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review 2013-04-23 00:00
Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves - Joseph Bruchac,Kersten Hamilton,Sara Zarr,Mitali Perkins,Mari Mancusi,Stasia Ward Kehoe,Ellen Hopkins,Dave Roman,Don Tate,Cynthia Leitich Smith,Caridad Ferrer,Jessica Lee Anderson,Melissa Walker,Carrie Jones,Charles Benoit,Jo Whittemore,Mariko Tamaki,Jenn Tempting though it may be I am not going to extrapolate from these letters, not to authors at large, not to anything. This is a collection of letters from mostly still quite young authors, offering advice, encouragement, support, and insight to their younger selves. Everyone had bears to cross, some were finding love, others were bad hairstyles, some were alcoholic, absent, or abusive parents. For all of these writers, it did get better: they found their voices, their people, their partners, their safety, their recovery, their looks, whatever. Some advice is general, some incredibly specific, and a fair few offer glimpses of joys to come.An excellent reminder that no matter what our problems are, we are not alone. And no one thinks high school is a high point.Library copy.
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review 2013-02-03 00:00
Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (True Stories (Zest Books))
Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves - Joseph Bruchac,Kersten Hamilton,Sara Zarr,Mitali Perkins,Mari Mancusi,Stasia Ward Kehoe,Ellen Hopkins,Dave Roman,Don Tate,Cynthia Leitich Smith,Caridad Ferrer,Jessica Lee Anderson,Melissa Walker,Carrie Jones,Charles Benoit,Jo Whittemore,Mariko Tamaki,Jenn I checked out this book to read the Sara Zarr letter. Each letter is short and easy to read. Enjoyable, not life alterting but I enjoyed the ones I read.
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review 2012-12-25 00:00
Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (True Stories (Zest Books))
Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves - Joseph Bruchac,Kersten Hamilton,Sara Zarr,Mitali Perkins,Mari Mancusi,Stasia Ward Kehoe,Ellen Hopkins,Dave Roman,Don Tate,Cynthia Leitich Smith,Caridad Ferrer,Jessica Lee Anderson,Melissa Walker,Carrie Jones,Charles Benoit,Jo Whittemore,Mariko Tamaki,Jenn "And yes, It does get better.Much better" Anthologies are not something that I enjoy but I came across Dear Teen Me during Zest Books Blog Tour.There were a lot of positive reviews and I thought I'd give it a try.Dear Teen Me i a collection of letters from YA authors to their younger selves.I loved the format-mostly it consisted of letters but there were a few Q & A sections and some of it was narrated in the form of comic strips.Another feature that makes Dear Teen Me a cool read is the photographs(CUTE!) of the authors during their teens and their signatures!Still not convinced that you should go grab your copy of this book?Read on then...The confessions range from heartbreaking to downright hilarious!Some of these stood out for the first reason namely Ellen Hopkins,Saundra Mitchell,Stephanie Kuehnert,Cheryl Rainfield,Gretchen McNeil,Kersten Hamilton and Jessica Burkhart.It was moving and I could not help but be inspired by them because you come to realize that they have risen above these barriers to become really successful people.Some of the authors touch on sensitive issues like all kinds of abuse,body image issues,sexuality and suicide.And some of the authors shared sweet stuff like crushes,crazy hairdos,insane moments that they shared with their BFFs and their most embarrassing moments!It was really adorable and kept me laughing out loud!Most of all Dear Teen was relate-able,it wasn't too preachy and at the same time it gave excellent advice.An Amazing Read-Go Get It Now!"Remember we define ourselves. Define yourself as awesome."More Reviews @ my blog, Say It With Books
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review 2012-12-03 00:00
Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (True Stories (Zest Books))
Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves - Joseph Bruchac,Kersten Hamilton,Sara Zarr,Mitali Perkins,Mari Mancusi,Stasia Ward Kehoe,Ellen Hopkins,Dave Roman,Don Tate,Cynthia Leitich Smith,Caridad Ferrer,Jessica Lee Anderson,Melissa Walker,Carrie Jones,Charles Benoit,Jo Whittemore,Mariko Tamaki,Jenn I loved getting to know each other more personally that I ever would. As the reader, you get into the depths of who the author was and who they became. Some struggled harder than others. Reading each story is unique and totally different style of writing. I didn't read all of the authors stories only the ones I knew. I did skim a few authors I have not heard of and made a mental note to be sure to check those authors out.Dear Teen Me is raw, real stories of the past coming to life in front of the reader. Each author bravely puts their life out there for the whole world to see, bearing the soul. I like, that they were too, a teen, making plenty of mistakes and still moving forward.
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