Thank you, Stephen King (or, a fan letter with nowhere else to go)

Dear Stephen King,

When I was a kid, I couldn’t fathom why people raved about you so much.

I tried to read a couple of your novels, the famous ones that’d been made into movies. They didn’t hit me. You took too long to get to the good stuff.

Possibly this is because I was an impatient kid and I couldn’t appreciate a slow build toward something. I’d always loved reading, but I also loved movies, and those got to the point in 70 minutes or less when I was young.

Later on, I started writing. Learned the craft. Read your On Writing, which made a lot of sense.

Then I thought, maybe it’s because I was trying the novels. Maybe I’ll try the short stories instead.

I did. I loved ’em.

So when Fairy Tale came out, I thought: it’s a huge hunk of book, and I’m not much of King fan, so that’s kind of intimidating. But I’m a different reader now–a writer now, too–and everyone’s singing its praises.

And, at bottom, I love fairy tales. Grew up on ’em. Not just the Disney ones, but the dark ones too. I know all the signs. I know what to do at the door. I know who to trust, who to help. Who to shy away from.

I wanted to see what you’d do with all the building blocks that make up so many of the stories I’ve always loved, and I wasn’t disappointed. (The nods to Bradbury and Lovecraft were delightful, and the reference to Cujo had me cackling.)

I’ve been looking for a place to send fan mail, to say something along the lines of:

Dear Mr. King,

I was never much of a fan, but my god! You’ve converted me.

Thank you for Charlie Reade. Thank you for Mr. Bowditch, for Radar, for the monarch of monarchs, for the fields of hope. Thank you for the towers, the tentacles, and the two bright moons.

Thanks for showing the darkness, as well as the light. For exploring the choices we make, and why. Thanks for all of it, you great sonofabitch.

I couldn’t find a reliable address for fan mail, but your acknowledgements mentioned that you have a Google alert on your name. So I hope this finds you.

Thanks, Mr. King. Thanks for Fairy Tale.

Here’s to whatever adventure you take us on next.

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