When did you change your mind? When did you know that somehow, you no longer felt the same way about, dare we say…, your favorite all time author?
Did this knowledge creep up on you unexpectedly, or was it a revelation of sorts that smacked you in the face one day? What did they do wrong? Did they write something so different you didn’t recognize it as theirs? Or, did they write too much of the same thing over and over, and the initial excitement you felt when opening the book up to begin the first chapter went from a moment of intrepid expectation, to that flaccid and heavy feeling of disappointment? And you thought, “that’s the last one, never again.”
Then, like clockwork, they put out another book. And you think, “oooh, maybe this one will be like it used to be…, maybe this one is different.” Hope abounds, you buy the book, and it fails to deliver – again. And, that anticipation you used to have, that watchdog like following of the author’s writing and next proposed story somehow drifted into a land of has been, at least for you.
I used to read a LOT of Stephen King. If I turn in my chair right now, I can eyeball all of the books I’ve bought, from years ago. His time with me was when I was in my mid to late twenties. When I saw that he was due to put out something new, I was at the bookstore ON that date of release. It didn’t matter if I didn’t really have enough money to buy it. Somehow, I made due. After about the twentieth book (and some of his stories are still my favorites like STAND BY ME, MISERY, CUJO, and DELORES CLAIBORNE) something changed. They seemed to get more weird, just too weird, at least for me.
I think the turning point might have been FROM A BUICK 8. But, I really can’t say where my love affair with his writing fizzled, and that’s really the way I think of it, more of a slow erosion, and then, an awareness, “hey, sorry, but, you just don’t do it for me anymore.”
Once my love for his writing went <poof> I’ve yet to fall in love with another author like I did him. I used to be proud when someone asked me, “who do you like to read?” And I would say, “I don’t like, I LOVE Stephen King.” A lot of times they would look at me like I must be kidding, and a few said, “How can you read that crap?” But I did love his stories…, back then. I remember first reading THE STAND. A friend of mine up the street was pregnant with her first child, as was I, and we would get together and compare our morning sickness levels, and talk about reading. She’s the one who got me into reading King. He was a great distraction from nausea – although he really should have caused it, with some of his descriptions.
Sadly for me, there hasn’t been another author I could get so crazy about. There are a few where I’ve bought more than one of their books…, like Ann Patchett, Alice Hoffman, Dorothy Allison, Rick Bragg, Kaye Gibbons. And more recently, as of late, I’m “kinda” hooked on Larry Brown. I can’t say just yet if I will love him like King, but I’m keeping my hopes up, because I want someone to love again, someone I can have a long term relationship with – only…, and sadly, it appears my potential new love will have to be finite… as Brown passed away in 2004.
How about you? Is your favorite author still up on the love pedestal, or have you kicked them off?