I love the satisfying structure of circular stories.
Wuthering Heights was my favourite book for years. Catherine and Hareton coming together at the end turns the book into one of hope. Out of all that ugliness, all that sorrow, come two people capable of kindness, strength, love.
J K Rowling does a similar thing in Harry Potter. I know some people don’t like the end – the happy ever after – but I do. Not the marriages, but how the orphaned Ted Lupin isn’t shoved in a cupboard like Harry was. Ted is surrounded by loving families and treasured. Hope out of sorrow.
When I was growing up I was scared of the dark. Whether to spite myself or to seek some kind of understanding, I read horror stories. I read until I could barely keep my eyes open, then I’d shove the books away and weigh them down with my school bag to stop the monsters escaping. It didn’t work.
Stephen King robbed me of a thousand night’s sleep. He also showed me it was possible to create a world so vivid it could live outside the book it was written in.
When I started to write, I thought about going back to those books to see how he did it. Age had robbed me of courage though – I couldn’t risk the loss of sleep. Even when I learned he’d written a book called On Writing, I was too scared to read it. King talks of a time-travel connection that exists between the writer and the reader. I was afraid of that. On Writing sat on my library shelf for about three years.
Every unpublished writer wonders when it’s time to say ‘enough’. By the end of last year, my life had got pretty stressful . The farm was a struggle. I’d had yet another rejection – those good rejections really do hurt sometimes don’t they? I thought I’d reached the magic marker of ‘enough’. I’d stop writing, concentrate on the farm. My agent had a couple of new scripts of mine, I’d see what happened with those before I’d pick up my pen again. Ideas mulled around in my head but I was firm.
For about three weeks.
About the time I could bear it no longer, when I realised I was grouching at my family because I wasn’t writing (junky), On Writing fell into my hands .
King’s book is an easy to read master class. He shares. It’s full of how and what and, importantly for me, why?
I’m a writer.
I can no more give up writing than I could give up skin. It’s part of me, it makes me happy, I need it.
King was there at the beginning of my writing life and up he popped, when I thought I was at the end, to tell me that I wasn’t.
Thank you Mr King.
Circular stories. I love them.