LINK: Everything I Know About America I Learned from Stephen King

Here is a fun essay by Lydia Kiesling titled, "Everything I know about America I learned from Stephen King." (

About King's natural abiulity to write, she notes, " it just feels so easy for this guy."  Isn't that the truth!  King's stories flow so  naturally, it seems like any of us should have be able to sit down and hammer out his next novel before he does!  But that feeling of ease is the real gift, isn't it?  Like a public speaker, who makes it look easy, but the truth  is hours of work and refining have gone into the art.

This is great:
The success of a novelist has to do with the extent to which his work allows the reader to lose herself in the story, but the novels that really resonate are the ones that also invite the reader to apply them to her particular circumstances. In my case, Stephen King books appealed to my lingering sense, even in high school, of America’s fundamental glamour, that feeling impelled both by the act of circumnavigating the globe broadly in the service of America’s aims, and the foreignness imparted by its distance. And they achieved several things besides scaring and entertaining the hell out of me. At some level, Stephen King novels issued a necessary corrective to my wanton teenage materialism and overweening belief in American goodness.  They did their own kind of national myth-making.
. . . and this . . .
 Stephen King’s novels transmit deeper things than hometown nostalgia. As Johathan P. Davis points out in his book, much of King’s work is concerned with the American devotion, in theory at any rate, to individual liberty. When King isn’t being gross, with his bone splinters and clots of blood and patented semantic move of creating an appalling noun just by adding the word “meat” to the back of another one — e.g., “boymeat” or “greymeat” — he spends a lot of time on the freedoms of the individual. Glenn Bateman, the retired sociology professor of The Stand, spends most of the novel talking about the formation of society and the tension between freedom and social cohesion. When, at the end of that novel, spunky Fran and Stu, a laconic badass from East Texas, make the choice to leave the crowding and rules of the Boulder Free Zone for the rugged, dangerous liberty of the Maine coast, this is posited as a sensible choice, one that only a couple of badasses would make.
So the whole essay is really good.  I'm going to stop giving big quotes and just tell you to go read the thing!  (

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