Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stephen King, "Gray Matter"

The first book that I ever read by Stephen King was a collection of Short Stories entitled, "Night Shift." I was a Junior in high school when Stephen King spanned the miles to impart the character of the young, scared, lonely boy in the story, "Gray Matter," to me.
"Gray Matter" may not strike every reader the same way, but I brought to the story quite a bit of experience concerning alcohol. It's a great horror story in that the effects of a tainted beer wreeks havoc on the boy's father. What I delighted upon personally was the fact that the father became poisoned "gray matter," which is another word for the brain. The implication of the story is that innocent people were losing their lives because of his behavior. Another striking resemblence to my personal experiences was the fact that the father had to continuously feed the thirst of the gray matter. With beer.

Why this story delighted me, and endeared Mr. King to me for nearly thirty years now, is that I knew that I was not alone. What Stephen King did for me with that one story, besides making me a life-long fan, was show me that I was right. My feelings of isolation, fear, neglect, and anger, associated with my childhood were justified. I felt overwhelmingly akin to Mr. King. I felt that if the boy could get out alive, then I could too. I felt empowered for the first time in my young life.

I no longer read Stephen King's books. The last thing I read was more than fifteen years ago when I read "IT." One reason that I no longer read his stories is that I get too involved, can't put the book down, am unable to meet the responsibilitys of my "real" life. Another reason is, I've transferred my horror reading to the horrors of other realities.
Hats off to Mr. King for fantastic, believable characters and for helping us deal with the horrors in our lives.

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