College Prep English
5 December 2012
Stephen King writes some of the most terrifying suspense novels in the horror genera, using inspiration from his own life and personal fears to help fuel his wild imagination. Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland Maine, on September 21, 1947. His mother was Nellie Ruth Pillsbury, and his father was Donald King. King had an adopted brother named Victor King. When King was two his father went to buy a pack of cigarettes and go for a walk, and he never came home. King hasn’t had contact with him since.
When King was a child he often had nightmares in which he saw his mother lying in a coffin, and saw himself hanging from a gallows, with crows pecking out his eyes. This, some believe is a result of an incident from when he was four; King went out to play with a neighbor boy around his age, and later came home pale as a ghost, not answering any questions about what had happened. It was reported that the other boy he had been playing with had been struck and killed by a train. No one, including King knows whether he actually saw the incident or just found the body. To this day, he has no recollection of it.
This is not the only time King had seen a dead body first hand, in 1963, he discovered his grandmother’s body, and stayed in the room, just staring at her until his mother came home.
In 1959 King started writing; he wrote articles in his brother’s “newspaper”. Most of his early writings were based on science fiction, and were very good as far as imagination goes, but often would lack specific detail. King started writing horror in 1959 as well, because he had found a box of old science-fiction and horror magazines in his aunt’s attic. He was very interested in horror and took an instant liking to it.
King, had several ways to express his young, and dare I say, slightly morbid imagination. King kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings that had to do with the Charles Startweather case; he found it interesting. His mother found his clippings and told him that she believed he was “warped.” Things like that case only helped to fuel his imagination.
When King was in college he met his soon-to-be wife Tabitha Spruce. To Tabitha, King must have appeared to be a relatively normal kind of guy, because the two were married January 2, 1971. The couple has three children, Owen, Joseph, and Naomi.
King had always been a drinker, starting back in his college days and progressively getting worse as time went by and his writing career and his family put more and more pressure on him to succeed.
Rejection letter after rejection letter caused King to begin to drink more than ever. He would often get so drunk that he was tempted to take his growing frustration out on his children, “I wanted to grab them and hit them…Even though I didn’t do it, I felt guilty because of my brutal impulses.”
King finally had a stroke of luck. He got published after months and months of rejection letters and sleepless nights of writing. King’s first novel to be published was Carrie in 1974.
Carrie is about a girl with a secret. Carrie is telekinetic, and after being humiliated in a very public way, she snapped. “She made a lit candle fall, locked the doors and unleashed, full-force, her strange and frightening power upon a small New England town and all the people in it…”Carrie
With the sale of his first novel, King was put on top of the charts, and with the growing fame, he was put under unbearable pressure. Pressure to fulfill the expectations he set for himself. You are your own worst critic.
In the late 1970s King started to do cocaine. In a later interview, King had this to say about it; “One snort and cocaine owned me body and soul. It was my on-switch, and it seemed to be a really good energizing drug.” King was already drinking around two or three six-packs a night and kept that pace up as he started adding cocaine. For a little while, that was enough.