My name is Jay Wilburn and I am a writer. I have published novels and short stories. I’ve been paid pro rates. I work full-time as a writer. I have ghostwritten for men and women more important than myself. I am a writer.
I have A LOT to learn. I writer horror, science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, and more. There is still a struggle in my work with varying sentences and showing instead of telling. I’m virtually never satisfied with my work.
I love to read. In my professional status, I focus a good bit of my reading around nonfiction and short stories. I have read more Stephen King novels and stories than any other author. He is a master of the art. People don’t realize how great he was and still is until they revisit his work. Most of what I have kept of his writing are the short story collections. There are a few of his novels that I have never read.
Richard Chizmar of Cemetary Dance is endevouring to reread all of Stephen King’s novels in the order of publication. His journey will be tracked and this is his opening post.
I decided to play along too.
I went to the bookstore with my sons and picked up copies of King’s first three novels which I have read before, but quite a while ago. I had a bad habit of going to the library when I was a kid and another habit of trading books at used bookstores for new books. So, I bought these. One goal of mine is to own all of them by the end of this adventure.
While at the bookstore, I let my sons pick out books they wanted. I also took them to see my name in an anthology of zombie stories. Zombies are shelved over in Science Fiction and Fantasy now. Stephen King is in Literature and Fiction.
Carrie was a long ago read for me. I read the novel IT before any of his other work. Carrie came later. I saw the original movie not long after that, but still in high school. I saw the new movie in the theater during a vacation to see friends and family back in Atlanta. I actually saw the new version of the movie with my friend Brandon O’Dell who played the role of Bobby Eagleton in the film version of The Mist.
When I bought these first three books to read again, the first copy of Carrie I found was the new movie tie-in cover. The words were all the same inside and the price was the same, but I got the version that did not show the movie still. I’m not sure why that matters. Maybe some part of me wants to believe I am something special because I did not just come to Carrie. I am hoping to find a few old, beat-up paperback versions of some of these novels too in order to feel their age. I could have gone with the ebooks which I do most of my reading with now, but I prefer the paper. I want to touch the pages and read anywhere without the hassle of the device. Especially with this project, I want to feel the books.
I’m doing this for the love of the stories, but I also want to get better at the art. Maybe I could learn more by casting my net out farther, but I feel something important for me as a writer coming from revisiting King this way.
As I read, I will be posting before and after each novel. I invite you to follow along as I rediscover the art of fear by revisiting Stephen King.
I’ll keep you posted.
— Jay Wilburn, writer