Introduction to Stephen King Revisited by Richard Chizmar
Like many longtime readers, I can chart the course of my life by when and where I read most of Stephen King’s books. Bag of Bones was sitting by a friend’s hospital bed every day for a week. Insomnia while laying in a hospital bed myself. Black House in a three day frenzy at the beach after a surprise phone call from Akiva Goldsman asking me to help adapt the novel into a screenplay. And IT, as a college junior, the week after I walked away from a collegiate lacrosse career that I believed at the time defined me as a human being. In that regard, IT may have just saved the life of a very lost and very confused young man. At the very least, it carved the path for my writing and editing career and gave me something to dream about again.
Pretty much all of Steve’s books are like that for me. Personal. Meaningful. Special. Most of the early ones seemed to magically come along at just the right time for me. I’ve listened to many other readers, writers, and editors tell me the same thing about Steve’s books and their own lives.
— Richard Chizmar, from the afterword to PS Publishing’s anniversary edition of Christine
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Rereading Christine and writing the afterword was like traveling back to my youth in a time machine. I turned the pages, and I was a teenager again, carrying around a tattered, old paperback. Experiencing the novel for the first time. Walking the hallways of my high school. Hurrying to practice after the final bell. And hanging out with friends and classmates, kids very much like Dennis and Arnie and Leigh from Christine.
I was surprised by how personal my afterword became as I wrote it. Surprised by just how much I remembered about my teenaged self — who I was and where I was and what I was thinking — during the days I originally read Steve’s classic novel.
It felt like a kind of magic.
And I wanted to do it again.
* * *
That amazing experience — along with subsequent talks with Brian Freeman — planted the seeds for STEPHEN KING REVISITED, an exciting and daunting adventure in which I’ve decided to reread — in the order they were originally published — all 65 of Stephen King’s books. And then upon completion of each book, I will report back to you with my thoughts and memories.
Along the way, in addition to my own thoughts, Bev Vincent will be providing short “historical background” essays introducing each book, and guest authors will be sharing their own short remembrances/appreciations.
It’s also my hope that many readers will write in with their own comments and memories and questions, and maybe even join me on this journey.
For that is exactly what this will be…a journey.
I have no idea how long it will take or where it will ultimately lead. I only know that I’m excited and wary and anxious to climb back into that time machine and get started.
One note of warning: if you are looking for in-depth critical analysis, you should look elsewhere. That’s not what this is about. But if you’re looking for honest and personal remembrances from someone whose entire career was shaped and inspired by the writings of Stephen King, then you should stick around. There’s a good time ahead for all of us.
You should know that Steve and I have become good friends over the years. It’s a friendship based on our mutual love for books and movies and sports and family. And a deep mutual loathing of the New York Yankees (sorry, Chuck Verrill).
You should also know that I did ask Steve ahead of time about this crazy idea of mine. In fact, much of the framework for STEPHEN KING REVISITED was hammered out in email exchanges with Steve, and his initial responses ranged from “you should blog about it” to “go for it, big boy!”
He never talks me out of anything and I love that about him. I think.
Okay, enough rambling for now. It’s time to revisit an old friend, an awkward misfit of a teenaged girl. We all know her. Her name is Carrie White.
I hope you will all take my hand and join me, and turn the page…
Next, you can read Bev Vincent’s post about the history of Carrie, Ray Garton’s essay about Carrie, Richard’s essay about rereading the book, or Richard’s follow-up post. To be notified of new posts and updates via email, please sign-up using the box on the right side or the bottom of this site.