I forgot to write about the most important thing I learned at Borders yesterday. I only remembered as I sat at my desk and let my mind wander (no headphones on today, as I finished Bram Stoker yesterday. LOVED IT, by the way. Would like to actually read it one day.). Anyway, back to the thing that I forgot to say.
I was standing in the fiction section looking at Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, but whatever it was I was hoping to see, I wasn’t seeing. I am not a horror fan, per se, but I LOVE Stephen King. He writes so well, and he captures American so vividly, particularly small town New Englanders. I recently finished Misery, and I’ve read Delores Claiborne and some of his short stories, and I wanted to see if there was anything else of his worth reading there. I was holding a copy of Carrie, a book I’d started and had to take back to the library, when the very helpful associate came over and asked me if I wanted to know something interesting. “Sure.” I like interesting.
He then began to tell me that, while he was writing Carrie, Stephen King decided that it was no good and he threw it away. His wife, Tabitha, retrieved it from the trash, read what he’d written, took it back to him, and told him he had to finish it. And he did, and here it sat, his very first book. Just imagine what would have happened had he been allowed to throw it away? True story.
I wasn’t sure that I believed it, but it was something to think about. So I bought it (I mean, it was only $4!). I read the introduction and discovered that, while he had some short stories published, Carrie was, indeed, his first novel. The reason he threw it away was because he knew it was going to be a novel, and he wanted to write short stories in order to supplement the family income–quickly. His wife asked him to go on with the story, and he says he did mostly to please her.
This struck me. How great could we all be with someone in our corner telling us to go on with the things we want to do? Someone willing to believe we could do something and just keep spurring us on. Someone to…I don’t know…read our crappy manuscripts and encourage us to keep going, keep revising, keep making the writer sharper, leaner, more forceful and haunting. I love that this someone was his wife. Talk about a life partner. You go Tabitha! And Stephen King! And love! And writing!
Even though I am still looking for my Tabitha, this makes my heart smile, and it inspires me to keep going. I hope it inspires you too.