King of horror quite funny

Published 12:46 am Sunday, June 12, 2016

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been an avid reader from an early age.

For as far back as I can remember, I always loved browsing bookstores, library shelves, even thrift stores and yard sales for something to whet my literary appetite.

As a child, I loved reading creepy tales, from “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” to the Goosebumps series.

Email newsletter signup

My hometown public library was where I was first introduced to the writings of who still is one of my all-time favorite authors — Stephen King.

I was probably 11 or 12 years old when I read “Pet Sematary.” I was already familiar with the film adaptation, and several other movies based on his work since my mother was a horror junkie.

While I now happen to love watching scary movies, my wild childhood imagination made for some sleepless nights following a screening of one of them with my mother.

But nothing is quite as spine-tingling as reading a Stephen King novel when you’re all alone on a dark night.

King, like some other writers, has been criticized to some degree for making his books too long and full of unnecessary details. But those little details are what paint a clear picture in your mind, just as if you were watching the events unfold on a movie or TV screen. Would you get the gist of the story without them? Probably, but it would be a very boring experience in my opinion.

Being scared witless after reading “Pet Sematary,” didn’t turn me off from reading King’s work. Instead, it only fueled my need to read more of his work and seek out other authors like him.

On Friday, I had the opportunity to hear King speak during one of his latest book tour stops in Charleston, West Virginia. I have been to book signings and other events by local authors before, but I didn’t really know what to expect from the Master or Horror.

King spoke at the Clay Center, which is a fairly large performing arts venue. And he packed the house like any rock star would have, receiving a standing ovation the moment he stepped out on stage.

Wearing blue jeans and a gray T-shirt, the author told various stories from his decades-long career and took some questions from the crowd.

Considering he makes a living terrifying people for a living, the man was surprisingly funny.

My favorite anecdote he told was about how he came up with the idea for “Misery,” which is also one of the first novels I read by him.

He had a dream while on a flight to London about a writer who was kidnapped by a psychotic fan who had a pet pig named Misery.

While staying at Brown’s Hotel in London, he couldn’t sleep that first night. He said he just had to start getting the story down on paper. He asked the hotel concierge if there was a quiet place he could sit down and write longhand.

King told the crowd he wrote for hours on one of the most beautiful desks he had ever seen, the staff bringing him pot after pot of tea. Finally King revealed to us that the desk was none other than Rudyard Kipling’s desk. And the concierge had told him that actually, Kipling died at that desk of a stroke while he was writing.

You’ll just have to trust me that it was much funnier the way he told it.

As a bonus, everyone got a copy of his newest book, “End of Watch,” and some (not mine) were randomly signed.

It was surreal hearing King speak but it was such a fun experience, one that makes me glad I grew up loving books and great storytelling.