It takes a special kind of writer to open up the closets hiding his most glaring skeletons in the name of teaching. Freeing the ghosts of the past is a difficult task, but doing so for the whole of the world to see, takes rare and mighty bravery. Yet, Stephen King, in his biography/craft book, On Writing, did just that.
We learned what shaped him: farting, chubby babysitters, poison ivy in the worst place imaginable, (this involves playing in the woods with his brother, having to really, really “go” and not having toilet paper handy), and a blatantly honest confession of being too drunk/high to remember his mother’s funeral. Oh and there was that small little recollection of the day he was nearly killed by someone that could have been one of his characters.
On Writing is an examination of the writer’s life, on the sins and triumphs that made King the gifted writer he became. He holds nothing back and repeatedly imparts on the reader the importance of recollection and how it forms each of us. I’ve read many, many King novels and have loved them immensely. But, On Writing made that soft spot in my heart reserved for “Uncle Stevie” just a tab bit bigger.