I wrote this months ago while in Cyprus, and, even though it was written in a spur of the moment and I don’t necessarily agree with it all in hind-sight, I have tried not to change too much.
Anyway, it’s kinda fun to look back and the ending still makes me smile.
Chapters 7 & 8 of Stephen King’s novella, ‘The Body’, are two of the most inspiring, interesting and thought-provoking chapters of fiction I have ever read.
Chapter 7 is a short story; making it a story inside a story. This technique is also used in Rob Reiner’s film adaptation, ‘Stand By Me’ when our protagonist, Gordie, tells his friends a story around the campfire.
However, the story in chapter 7 is a far cry from a tent full of projectile vomiting; it tells of an older kid, known as Chico, and the turn of events that lead him to go off and explore the world for himself.
In this fictional ‘The Body’ universe the reader is absorbed in, this is Gordie’s first published story. And, like with most things, the first time is the most important, as Gordie describes in the following chapter . . . . .
We start chapter 8 with a sense of self-deprecation; he focuses on the bad elements of the story and talks about how derivative it all seems in hind-sight. He talks about writing the way he had been told or the way his favourite authors did.
He goes on to talk about writing things he knows very little about (in this case sex) and about creating characters that are more experienced than he is and, in turn, more interesting and exciting. He also mentions writing along the lines of pre-set, dull and occasionally offensive, stereotypes. But then we have a silver lining . . . . .
He tells the reader that it was the first time that something felt like his story. The fact that despite – and possibly because of – its problems, it was a turning point and he had finally written a story that felt personal.
I, for one, find this incredibly moving and powerful for one simple reason: I am that guy.
I write occasionally and it would be a more frequent occurrence if it wasn’t for some the same issues Gordie had; especially the one about finding your own voice when all you really hear are other peoples. I feel like a baby; I try to speak but just find myself babbling nonsense, and, if I do manage to form a word or two, they are simply replications of what I have heard from those around me. I am waiting for the day when I can turn what I have learnt from others into something personal, something that belongs to me and me alone. I’m waiting to grow up, essentially.
These two chapters have led me to where I am now; sitting writing this.
So, whatever you think of Stephen King, you can’t deny that he has a gift. For he has done something extraordinary; he has inspired someone to be creative; to sit down and write something. And that is something people often take for granted; the gift of inspiration.
Pretty fucking melodramatic, right?