Discovering The Path in Mrs. Todd's Shortcut

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Christine62

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
493
3,124
57
Oklahoma City
Mr. King loves to drive and a true writer, he notes everything--roads, highways, byways--or maybe he just looks up the names on Rand McNally but he doesn't mindlessly drive down these small little turn offs --he eyes them and maybe he sees shapes of green and splashes of blue that are there but we don't see them because we aren't looking. Mr. King looks, and listens and smells and feels --that's how he knows there are secret places in them thar wood.

I love this story--it clings to me--it's ephemeral like the mist rising in through the leaves and branches leaving little droplets of mystery. This is language with a light hand. I can't pin it down but this one tells a story but stronger it leaves you with an other worldly feeling. This one leave me with ache of longing. It's one to emulate.
 

bobbo

Member
Jul 12, 2006
17
70
49
Bowie, Texas
Mr. King loves to drive and a true writer, he notes everything--roads, highways, byways--or maybe he just looks up the names on Rand McNally but he doesn't mindlessly drive down these small little turn offs --he eyes them and maybe he sees shapes of green and splashes of blue that are there but we don't see them because we aren't looking. Mr. King looks, and listens and smells and feels --that's how he knows there are secret places in them thar wood.

I love this story--it clings to me--it's ephemeral like the mist rising in through the leaves and branches leaving little droplets of mystery. This is language with a light hand. I can't pin it down but this one tells a story but stronger it leaves you with an other worldly feeling. This one leave me with ache of longing. It's one to emulate.

Wow, but--wow! Mizz Christine, but you can WRITE! Enjoyed your short post very much (and by the bye, agree completely about this one from long ago. I actually read "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut" in an issue of REDBOOK that my Mom saved for me when she noticed my "new favorite writer" at the time had a short story included. Blew my mind, for sure.
 
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fushingfeef

Finally Uber!
Aug 14, 2009
10,043
20,623
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I agree Christine, this is one of my all-time favorites, something about it resonates with me. I think it's the idea that there are other ways if we could only open our eyes and minds to them. I think unintentionally Mr. King may have been trying to show that these shortcuts are a metaphor for imagination--there's a whole world around us that people often seem to ignore, and the Mrs. Todds of the world see and use to their advantage.
 

krwhiting

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2015
258
1,077
52
Great story. I'm also a fan of just driving around, taking roads I haven't seen before. I had to cut back on that with gas prices so high, but now I could start up again. I've lived in Idaho, New York, Massachusetts, Washington and Louisiana. I've traveled a lot, almost always driving, and spent a lot of time in Georgia, Virginia, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. I really enjoy the terrain and surroundings when I drive.

But I've never cared much to find the shortest path. I like to wander my way there.

Kelly
 

Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
59,535
227,374
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Great story. I'm also a fan of just driving around, taking roads I haven't seen before. I had to cut back on that with gas prices so high, but now I could start up again. I've lived in Idaho, New York, Massachusetts, Washington and Louisiana. I've traveled a lot, almost always driving, and spent a lot of time in Georgia, Virginia, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. I really enjoy the terrain and surroundings when I drive.

But I've never cared much to find the shortest path. I like to wander my way there.

Kelly
That's how I got to find my way around the city of Winnipeg - kept going back and forth across bridges all the time, too! (Winnipeg is at the confluence of the Red River and Assiniboine River).

Great way to find your way around and better than trying to use a map (for me, anyway).
 

RichardX

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
1,709
4,285
I enjoyed this one as well. I couldn't help wondering though how it would be written today in the age of GPS. Mrs. Todd could have knocked herself out with that. Shortest time, route, scenic. LOL.
I didn't think the romantic angle worked all that well and kind of spoiled the ending. It seemed a bit contrived like King said to himself how do I fade to black here and tie this one up. Better to have left it more ambiguous in my opinion.
 

wolfphoenix

She-Wolf finally Risen and Strapping On.
Apr 24, 2019
480
2,951
52
This is one of my all time favorite King short stories.
I do wish i could go back and reread it right now.
(unfortunately I have lost my King collection and some other books in an accident involving a well meaning relative. Long story.)
I really liked the old man telling the story, what was his name?
I hope someone tells me, it's really kind of buggin' me now, in a good way lol.
He always reminded me so much of Judd in Pet Semetary . Another loved character in the King universe.
I agree that Mrs. Todd would have no need for a GPS.
And probably, like me would have had no use or liking for one. I love to drive too, and the few times I tried a GPS out we didn't get along at all.
I actually knew better ways to get around my town than the machine did.
Give me my Mapsco, anytime I'm going somewhere new or venturing into unfamiliar territories.
As always, the descriptive imagery and rich character development is extremely satisfying and captivating in this story.
I love it dearly.
 

Spideyman

Uber Member
Jul 10, 2006
43,675
174,262
74
Just north of Duma Key
This is one of my all time favorite King short stories.
I do wish i could go back and reread it right now.
(unfortunately I have lost my King collection and some other books in an accident involving a well meaning relative. Long story.)
I really liked the old man telling the story, what was his name?
I hope someone tells me, it's really kind of buggin' me now, in a good way lol.
He always reminded me so much of Judd in Pet Semetary . Another loved character in the King universe.
I agree that Mrs. Todd would have no need for a GPS.
And probably, like me would have had no use or liking for one. I love to drive too, and the few times I tried a GPS out we didn't get along at all.
I actually knew better ways to get around my town than the machine did.
Give me my Mapsco, anytime I'm going somewhere new or venturing into unfamiliar territories.
As always, the descriptive imagery and rich character development is extremely satisfying and captivating in this story.
I love it dearly.
Homer Buckland ?
 

Doc Creed

Well-Known Member
Nov 18, 2015
16,515
77,732
42
United States
This is one of my all time favorite King short stories.
I do wish i could go back and reread it right now.
(unfortunately I have lost my King collection and some other books in an accident involving a well meaning relative. Long story.)
I really liked the old man telling the story, what was his name?
I hope someone tells me, it's really kind of buggin' me now, in a good way lol.
He always reminded me so much of Judd in Pet Semetary . Another loved character in the King universe.
I agree that Mrs. Todd would have no need for a GPS.
And probably, like me would have had no use or liking for one. I love to drive too, and the few times I tried a GPS out we didn't get along at all.
I actually knew better ways to get around my town than the machine did.
Give me my Mapsco, anytime I'm going somewhere new or venturing into unfamiliar territories.
As always, the descriptive imagery and rich character development is extremely satisfying and captivating in this story.
I love it dearly.
Yes, Jud Crandall is among my top five characters. His relationship with Louis was reminiscent of Glen and Stu from The Stand.
 
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