A letter

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auralyn

Member
May 19, 2020
6
40
30
Kansas
I just wrote this out by hand after thinking about writing for 20 years, then realized that I couldn't send it. I figured posting it here is as good as anything. I've removed the swears (assuming they aren't allowed). CW: child abuse. Here goes.

Dear Mr King,
I have wanted to write this letter for over 20 years, but was always worried about my motivation. Did I want to tell you I enjoyed your work? Yes, but I'd already said so the 'merican way: by buying your work. You're an internationally famous author, so it was almost like saying thank you was condescending in a way. I think I know my reason now, but it's coiled up inside my life.

I was born in Kansas, January of 1990 to a father who was obsessed with modifying barbie dolls for his sexual gratification and a mother who so hated getting out of bed that by the time I was 8 she had rigged up an intercom system. After school I was at the beck and call of that teeth grinding buzzer, ferrying water, books, movies, Tums, TV dinners. I have an elder brother who was classified as "developmentally delayed", so my mother took him out of school. It was occasionally my job to home-school him after my own classes, which he hated me for.

I promise this isn't all going to be a sob story, but I do have one example I'd like to share for context.

I was about 4 years old when my father, who was employed by the National Guard, needed to prepare for drill. He took my brother and I with him to the track. I think my mother had a part time job at the bank then. Anyway, my brother and I start running around and playing. We're being noisy, so dad tells us to be quiet. I was in one of those sandpits that track people jump in. I remember the moment when I (censored) up not like yesterday, but like now. The sun is in my eyes and I can see the far away shape of my brother as I shout for him to come see what I've found. Dad was there in an instant. he tugged me over to the track. He stooped over and his breath was hot on my ear. "I told you to be QUIET. Now run."

He grabbed a fistful of the side of my head - ear, hair, scalp - and started running.

It wasn't long before I couldn't keep up. I felt my legs get wobbly. I cried and begged but of course he wouldn't stop. I remember thinking, "he's gonna kill me", and then my legs gave out. he dragged me for what seemed like forever. My ear and scalp and legs were all on fire. I remember how my rubber tennis shoes bounced and skidded on the asphalt.

There was another runner on the track. To me she is The Lady in the Pink Jumpsuit. I remember how she turned her eyes away and kept jogging. I remember realizing that no one was going to help.

I've always hated that woman. I have vowed to never be like her and to always intervene when I see something bad happening. If I die and she is still out there, I'd come back as a bee and use my one sting on her.

Anyway, he stopped eventually (I'm here, ain't I?). Both my parents were abusive, so long-parade-of-memories short, I became phenomenally good at "escaping". through drawing and reading, mostly. I could read small books before kindergarten. I noticed that every book had a little publisher's logo, so I made my own. To You: Books, enclosed in a heart. I slapped that baby on all my stories.

It was more than just reading and writing. It was a trance. More than once I was plunged back into reality by pee running down my leg. I would get so enchanted I couldn't tell when I needed to go to the bathroom.

I was around 8 when horror books first caught my attention. It was horror for kids, yes, but darker content all the same. RL Stein was a huge favorite.

I have a theory that these books fed some part of me that was very hungry. In those books, something abnormal happens and somebody (maybe only the protagonist) reacts to it. People notice the monsters.

It wasn't long after that I picked up my first book of yours. I wish I could remember which one it was, but I was too young to really understand it, particularly any references to sexual content. My dad, mercifully, limited his sexual interests mostly to barbie dolls, which I didn't stumble upon until I was 12. (With the exception of groping me once when I was 17, but that was "punishment for not listening.)

But I do remember how it made me feel - hungry for more, more, MORE! I wrote and read non-stop: at school, at night, while eating, while bathing.

It was around this time I realized I had a lot of "sleeping giants" in my brain - thoughts I couldn't think but traversed all around them until you could see their outline and knew what they were anyway. One of the sleeping giants (too personal, redacted).

Another sleeping giant was the idea of being "chosen". There was this fantasy I couldn't look at directly, something alluring that would burn my eyes out. It went something like this: I would write an amazing story and you, Stephen King, would be so impressed you would descend to Kansas and take me into your care as your apprentice. (I didn't want a parent, because I believed parents were tyrannical dictators).

There it is on paper (now online, haha): my childhood secret hope that if I was talented enough you would adopt me. It's absurd, impossible, comical, and it feels good to get it out.

I thought if I wrote to you I'd out myself, so for 20 years I've entertained the notion and never actually written. And funnily enough, I have ended up waking the giant and politely telling him he can go now.

I didn't become a writer and I don't think I was ever very good at it. After many years of tears, pain, and alcohol addiction, I am now happily married (second time's the charm) and a piano teacher. I have over 40 students and I love the snot out of every single one.

I know this is for me more than it is for you, and it's okay if you don't read it. it is okay that I had a secret silly obsession. At the end of the day, your stories helped me through the dark.

With all my heart, thank you.
 

mal

content
Jun 23, 2007
4,682
27,017
57
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Welcome! Thanks for sharing your story. It can be hard to open up yourself but I truly believe in that old chestnut 'the truth shall set you free'. I've always suspected that most of Mr. Kings long time readers were slightly broken in their youth and he seems to help with that by showing us we are not alone. If music be the food of love then play on. All the best, mal
 

auralyn

Member
May 19, 2020
6
40
30
Kansas
Welcome! Thanks for sharing your story. It can be hard to open up yourself but I truly believe in that old chestnut 'the truth shall set you free'. I've always suspected that most of Mr. Kings long time readers were slightly broken in their youth and he seems to help with that by showing us we are not alone. If music be the food of love then play on. All the best, mal
Thanks for reading! : ) I agree with the first notion and wouldn't be surprised by the second.
 

Doc Creed

Well-Known Member
Nov 18, 2015
17,146
82,314
43
United States
I just wrote this out by hand after thinking about writing for 20 years, then realized that I couldn't send it. I figured posting it here is as good as anything. I've removed the swears (assuming they aren't allowed). CW: child abuse. Here goes.

Dear Mr King,
I have wanted to write this letter for over 20 years, but was always worried about my motivation. Did I want to tell you I enjoyed your work? Yes, but I'd already said so the 'merican way: by buying your work. You're an internationally famous author, so it was almost like saying thank you was condescending in a way. I think I know my reason now, but it's coiled up inside my life.

I was born in Kansas, January of 1990 to a father who was obsessed with modifying barbie dolls for his sexual gratification and a mother who so hated getting out of bed that by the time I was 8 she had rigged up an intercom system. After school I was at the beck and call of that teeth grinding buzzer, ferrying water, books, movies, Tums, TV dinners. I have an elder brother who was classified as "developmentally delayed", so my mother took him out of school. It was occasionally my job to home-school him after my own classes, which he hated me for.

I promise this isn't all going to be a sob story, but I do have one example I'd like to share for context.

I was about 4 years old when my father, who was employed by the National Guard, needed to prepare for drill. He took my brother and I with him to the track. I think my mother had a part time job at the bank then. Anyway, my brother and I start running around and playing. We're being noisy, so dad tells us to be quiet. I was in one of those sandpits that track people jump in. I remember the moment when I (censored) up not like yesterday, but like now. The sun is in my eyes and I can see the far away shape of my brother as I shout for him to come see what I've found. Dad was there in an instant. he tugged me over to the track. He stooped over and his breath was hot on my ear. "I told you to be QUIET. Now run."

He grabbed a fistful of the side of my head - ear, hair, scalp - and started running.

It wasn't long before I couldn't keep up. I felt my legs get wobbly. I cried and begged but of course he wouldn't stop. I remember thinking, "he's gonna kill me", and then my legs gave out. he dragged me for what seemed like forever. My ear and scalp and legs were all on fire. I remember how my rubber tennis shoes bounced and skidded on the asphalt.

There was another runner on the track. To me she is The Lady in the Pink Jumpsuit. I remember how she turned her eyes away and kept jogging. I remember realizing that no one was going to help.

I've always hated that woman. I have vowed to never be like her and to always intervene when I see something bad happening. If I die and she is still out there, I'd come back as a bee and use my one sting on her.

Anyway, he stopped eventually (I'm here, ain't I?). Both my parents were abusive, so long-parade-of-memories short, I became phenomenally good at "escaping". through drawing and reading, mostly. I could read small books before kindergarten. I noticed that every book had a little publisher's logo, so I made my own. To You: Books, enclosed in a heart. I slapped that baby on all my stories.

It was more than just reading and writing. It was a trance. More than once I was plunged back into reality by pee running down my leg. I would get so enchanted I couldn't tell when I needed to go to the bathroom.

I was around 8 when horror books first caught my attention. It was horror for kids, yes, but darker content all the same. RL Stein was a huge favorite.

I have a theory that these books fed some part of me that was very hungry. In those books, something abnormal happens and somebody (maybe only the protagonist) reacts to it. People notice the monsters.

It wasn't long after that I picked up my first book of yours. I wish I could remember which one it was, but I was too young to really understand it, particularly any references to sexual content. My dad, mercifully, limited his sexual interests mostly to barbie dolls, which I didn't stumble upon until I was 12. (With the exception of groping me once when I was 17, but that was "punishment for not listening.)

But I do remember how it made me feel - hungry for more, more, MORE! I wrote and read non-stop: at school, at night, while eating, while bathing.

It was around this time I realized I had a lot of "sleeping giants" in my brain - thoughts I couldn't think but traversed all around them until you could see their outline and knew what they were anyway. One of the sleeping giants (too personal, redacted).

Another sleeping giant was the idea of being "chosen". There was this fantasy I couldn't look at directly, something alluring that would burn my eyes out. It went something like this: I would write an amazing story and you, Stephen King, would be so impressed you would descend to Kansas and take me into your care as your apprentice. (I didn't want a parent, because I believed parents were tyrannical dictators).

There it is on paper (now online, haha): my childhood secret hope that if I was talented enough you would adopt me. It's absurd, impossible, comical, and it feels good to get it out.

I thought if I wrote to you I'd out myself, so for 20 years I've entertained the notion and never actually written. And funnily enough, I have ended up waking the giant and politely telling him he can go now.

I didn't become a writer and I don't think I was ever very good at it. After many years of tears, pain, and alcohol addiction, I am now happily married (second time's the charm) and a piano teacher. I have over 40 students and I love the snot out of every single one.

I know this is for me more than it is for you, and it's okay if you don't read it. it is okay that I had a secret silly obsession. At the end of the day, your stories helped me through the dark.

With all my heart, thank you.
Welcome! And I echo Ms. Mod's sentiments.
 
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