I know, you were worried that there wouldn’t be any more Stephen King news, but lucky for you, the legendary author of horror and suspense novels has recently released a free short story, Laurie, on his website. You can read it here!
King wrote the story about his wife’s dog, Vixen, who recently passed away. The story is a heartwarming tale about an old man and his pup. It’s just, you know, written by Stephen King so it’s bound to have a twist somewhere. It is only thirty-two pages, so why not read it on your lunch break?
Several people have asked me about the dedication at the end of “Laurie,” the story I posted. Vixen was my wife’s dog. We all loved her, but she was a one-woman Corgi. A sweeter, gentler dog you’d never meet. She died early this spring. pic.twitter.com/QtWhu5sIOh
If you’re a fan of the Dark Towers series, or a fan of Stephen King in general, then you may already know about this children’s book:
The book, which was published November 11, 2016, is titled Charlie the Choo-Chooand, at just a glance, may come across as your seemingly average, run-of-the-mill children’s story about a talking tank engine and his engineering friend (well, despite the deeply chilling and creepy smile of said tank engine; Thomas the Tank Engine never looked at me that way) but, you can trust me when I say it is oh, so much more.
According to the cover of the book, the author is stated to be Beryl Evans. The cover also contains one very positive review from the master of novels himself, Stephen King:
“If I were ever to write a children’s book, it would be just like this!”
King has proven his intense commitment to the fictional worlds he creates once more, seeing as Beryl Evans is actually a character from the Dark Towers series, and King, in fact, is the true author of Charlie the Choo-Choo.
The eerily haunting children’s book is purchased by Jake Chambers in Dark Towers III: The Wastelands:
“On the bright green cover was an anthropomorphic locomotive puffing its way up a hill … its headlight was a cheerful eye which seemed to invite Jake Chambers to come inside and read all about it…As he looked down at the cover, Jake found that he did not trust the smile on Charlie the Choo-Choo’s face. ‘You look happy, but I think that’s just the mask you wear,’ he thought. ‘I don’t think you’re happy at all. And I don’t think Charlie’s your real name, either.’”
The book existing at all is an elaborate part of King’s expansion of the story; he’s taking a world he created and building it past the covers and pages, making it all the more real.
King even went as far as to hire an actress to play the role of Beryl Evans and sign copies of Charlie at Comic-Con.
via Lilja’s Library
This entanglement between the fiction and the real is so complex and interesting; it’s not at all surprising that none other than Stephen King would be behind all of it!
George R. R. Martin asked Stephen King the question we’ve all wanted to ask at a recent event in Albuquerque. Martin and King sat down for an hour to discuss many things involving their writing styles and character development. At the end of the hour (around 50:14), King asked Martin if there was anything he’s always wanted to ask him, to which George R. R. Martin said, “Yes, yes there is something I want to ask you. How the fuck do you write so many books so fast?” This is all of us, am I right? You can check out the whole video below or just skip to the end to hear that last bit!
I think we all know why this was Martin’s question considering we’ve been waiting for The Winds of Winter for about six years now. Vanity Fair reported that we can hopefully expect a book from Martin in 2018. It may not be The Winds of Winter, though, as Martin said that he has two books in the works – the other being about the history of the Targaryen family. He mentioned having “good days and bad days” throughout his writing process, which he mentioned again when talking to King, as he asked him if he had a similar experience.
While King said he is still human and has to keep living his life, he somehow writes about six pages a day when he’s working and says that finishing the first draft of a book should only take about two months. Sorry buddy, but King’s got it down to a science here!
So let’s talk about King’s writing process a little bit since he’s even written a book about that! King’s memoir, On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft, discusses the valuable writing lessons he’s learned during his career spanning over fifty published novels. Business Insider wrote up a list of twenty-two lessons that Stephen King wants you to know about his writing process. Basically, he comes up with an idea and writes what he wants without trying to please everybody or seem overly sophisticated with unnecessary jargon. He commits to writing about six pages a day and makes sure that he does this to ensure that the characters and the story are fresh in his mind and don’t begin to lose focus if he’s distracted by something else. Usually, the entirety of the first draft takes about two to three months. After that, he sits for six weeks and gets his mind off of it before he begins to edit, to make sure that he comes back with fresh eyes in order to spot plot holes and undeveloped characters. With the editing process he gives himself full license to cut as much unnecessary writing as possible. Lastly, he believes it is extremely important to have a good work and personal life balance and says, “The combination of a healthy body and a stable relationship with a self-reliant woman who takes zero shit from me or anyone else has made the continuity of my working life possible.”
What works for Stephen King clearly does not work for all of us or we’d all have a ton of books out already. Don’t worry, George R. R. Martin, we trust you and your writing process and know that you’ve been hard at work for six years to give us the perfect ending to our beloved Westeros that we all need! No pressure…
On Thursday, August 17, Rowling shared a photo of a TV channel broadcast that reads: “Iran and Israel condemn Trump’s Comments.” Though the Middle East showed an unfavorable response towards Trump’s efforts, Rowling commented on the rare occasion that Iran and Israel have come together.
Albeit inadvertently, Trump and his condemnable Charlottesville response enabled an unforeseen union between these two long-time hostile nations. His most recent foreign policy scheme on the consistent feud amongst the Middle East has been sending his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to the region to engage in peaceful negotiation.
On Wednesday, August 15, Rowling’s Twitter reaction to Trump’s defense of white supremacists displayed a similar style of dry humor.
One good thing about that abomination of a speech: it’s now impossible for any Trump supporter to pretend they don’t know what he is.
It has been said that “art begets art.” Never has this been so true than in the case of bands inspired by books!
We’ve compiled some of the best examples of musicians who have written songs about their favorite works of fiction. From Taylor Swift to The Velvet Underground to Kate Bush, here is the bookworm’s essential summer playlist, guaranteed to get you in the mood for some sunny summer reading!
One of Taylor Swift’s most catchy hits is inspired by Shakespeare’s timeless ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ The song tracks the lovers from their first meeting ‘We were both young when I first saw you / I close my eyes and the flashback starts / I’m standing there on a balcony in summer air’ to an imagined happier ending for the famously doomed pair ‘I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress / It’s a love story, baby just say yes”
Jefferson Airplane’s most famous song, written by frontwoman Grace Slick, was directly inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The children’s classic was read to her often as a child, and every lyric references it. Slick stated that for her following ‘the white rabbit’ meant following her curiosity, and the song became an anthem for 60s psychedelics.
Written when she was just 18 years old, Bush’s song was inspired by Emily Bronte’s haunting tale of love and obsession. The famous lines ‘Heathcliff, it’s me, it’s Cathy, I’ve come home/ I’m so cold/ Let me in at your window’ references the chilling return of Catherine Earnshaw’s ghost. This year, thousands gathered in locations across the globe, on July 15, to imitate Bush’s iconic dress and dancing in the video. That day became coined as The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever.
This emo classic references Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi classic Ender’s Game. Though the lyrics are vague, there is much discussion online about how they link up to the text of the novel. This song will be a nostalgia trip hard enough to send anyone who listened to it as a teenager flying right back to their youth and their favorite dystopian world.
Bowie’s 1974 track from the album Diamond Dogs was originally written for a staged musical of George Orwell’s 1984 (the musical never came to be). This is not the only song inspired by Orwell’s seminal work; Marilyn Manson, Coldplay, and The Clash are just some of the other artists who have been inspired by it!
Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong was forced to read J.D Salinger’s coming-of-age novel, The Catcher in the Rye, while in school. He was not happy about it. While this book is universally beloved of angsty teens, the fact that he had no choice in reading it enraged Armstrong. Years later, he wrote this song as a tribute to teens feeling apathetic as a result of adult authority. That’s something Holden Caulfield could definitely relate to!
Another Lewis Carroll-inspired hit, this beloved Beatles track references the poem The Walrus and the Carpenter. John Lennon received a letter from a school student saying that his English teacher had been analyzing Beatles lyrics in class. Lennon was so amused by this that he decided to make the lyrics of his next song the most confusing yet. No wonder he turned to Carroll for inspiration!
This dreamy ballad is an ode to J.R.R Tolkien’s epic The Lord of the Rings and was used in the closing credits of the 2003 movie The Return of the King. It’s sung from the point of view of Elvish queen Galadriel and several phrases are taken from the book.
Oscar Wilde’s only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray is referenced in this track from the Peter Doherty-fronted indie rock outfit. They use Dorian Gray’s fixation with maintaining his youth at any cost to critique modern day society’s obsession with beauty: ‘all your models in magazines and on the walls/ You wanna be just like them/ Cause they’re so cool/ They’re just narcissists/ Well wouldn’t it be nice to be Dorian Gray?’
This punk classic is inspired by the Stephen King novel appeared in the 1989 movie adaptation. King is a huge Ramones fan and apparently gave Dee Dee Ramone a copy of Pet Cemetary. Ramone, in turn, used to write the lyrics to this hit!
This haunting melody is based on Flannery O’Connor’s short story of the same name about a boy who is brought to a river baptism by his babysitter, and, feeling neglected by his parents, agrees to be baptized when told by the preacher that this will make him ‘count.’
The opening track of Bloc Party’s album A Weekend in the City is inspired by Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. The song pays homage to Easton Ellis’s main character Clay, and many images from the text appear in the lyrics, including the sign “Disappear Here” and the line “people are afraid to merge on the freeways.”
This song, first released in 1967 and sung by frontman Lou Reed, references the two lead characters from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novel of the same name from 1870. The song deals with themes of sexuality and dominance, and it is from von Sacher-Masoch’s name that the term “masochoism” derives. “Venus in Furs” is an iconic song of the 60s and 70s as The Velvet Underground were key players in the music and art scene during that time, hanging out with the likes of Nico, Andy Warhol, and Edie Sedgewick.
This song is a direct reference to Penelope Farmer’s classic 1969 children’s novel of the same name. The titular character Charlotte, when sent to boarding school, discovers she has traveled 40 years into the past and has taken the place of a girl called Clare. Frontman Robert Smith claimed this novel was the most direct literary influence on the band.
Written for Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of F. Scott FitzGerald’s beloved novel The Great Gatsby, this song references some of the key images in the text, including Daisy’s yellow dress and the green light of the lighthouse across the bay. Florence Welch frequently talks about the impact that literature has had on her music. According to her band’s fan club site, she even hosts a monthly book club for fans called “Between Two Books!”
Featured images courtesy of Film Forum and Plan Wallpaper.