Friday, December 5, 2008

Everything's Eventual

I won't watch a horror movie. I saw Nightmare on Elm Street in high school. I didn't sleep for a week. Five years ago, I caught Mel Gibson's face on HBO and watched Signs even though I was home alone. At night. Alone. My distaste for horror movies grew when I had Robby. My maternal hormones do not get along with all that adrenaline. Last year, my zombie loving brother conned me into watching 28 Weeks Later one afternoon. Although I never saw 28 Days Later I was hooked on this sequel's story line. I did have to forward through some scenes he deemed as "ultra gory". I've never even seen Scream and everyone tells me that is not really a scary movie. (I know for a fact Drew Barrymore gets offed in the opening scene. No thanks!)
Despite this, I still claim Stephen King as my favorite author.

I haven't read a Stephen King book since March of 2002. Up until then, I had read almost all of his books and couldn't wait for the next one to be released. My favorite has to be the introduction he wrote to Night Shift. (Oh Stevie, you had me at "Let's talk about fear, you and I.") When I read Pet Sematary in high school, the nightmares lasted more than a week. My AP English teacher even talked about her nightmares from that book. Lately, I've read several of his Pop of King contributions to Entertainment Weekly and enjoyed every single one. Even though I haven't read any, I've purchased new hardcover releases over the years. I've gotten a few as gifts, including the latest Just After Sunset.

In March of 2002, Everything's Eventual was released and I bought a copy right away. Like Night Shift and Just After Sunset it is a collection of short stories. I purchased my copy in Phoenix. I had been there to say goodbye to my dying father. Being a stubborn man, he refused to die the week I was in town. (I truly believe he waited for me to leave to die - out of love.) I purchased the book and planned to start reading it on the 2 1/2 hour flight home. I can see the book on the shelf from where I am sitting now. I know that on page 29, there is my boarding pass from March 25, 2002. While reading the first story Autopsy Room Four I was overcome with grief and put the book down. I knew I had just said goodbye to my dad for the last time. I could not read a story about a man who was alive, yet mistaken for dead undergoing his own autopsy. My dad died that night, when I was safe and at home.

King said: "What I did was take all the spades out of a deck of cards plus a joker.
Ace to King = 1-13. Joker = 14. I shuffled the cards and dealt them. The order in which they came out became the order of the stories, based on their position in the list my publisher sent me. And it actually created a very nice balance between the literary stories and the all-out screamers. Next collection: selected by Tarot."

I wonder if it would have changed things for me if Autopsy Room Four had drawn the Jack and not the Ace.

I've had serious thoughts about reading Just After Sunset. I even put it on top of the television in the bedroom. Maybe it's been enough time and the grief will be bearable and the memory of that flight a little faded. Maybe the Tarot cards will work in my favor.

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