A Tale of Two Kings

Actually, it is one King.

Or, one could argue, nine Kings or more.

As readers and my colleagues here know, I am a fan of Stephen King. I do not usually recommend his work to people, however.

The reason for this is that although I like the way King writes and I enjoy many of the stories, I don’t often like what he throws in because his audience expects it.

I saw a couple of his movies and asked, “What is all the noise about this guy?” My mother also assumed that he was pandering and stupid from the bits she saw.

As is most common, I found that the movies were modified shadows of the man’s work, losing all of the art of the way he strings words together.
That isn’t to say that I like all of the words he strings together.

The exception is “Stand By Me”, which I have yet to read/ hear the story on which it was based. I knew that the man wanted to say more, but the audience and publishers obviously demanded more blood and crudity and some supernatural aspects. He pays that price.

When I started reading, (but mostly listening to), his books, I realized right away that King writes deeper than just ‘scary’ stories. He has insight and much social commentary, if you listen, (and don’t just look for scary parts.)

Not that I agree with all of his outlook, mind you.

He started out with ‘nice’ stories, but ‘nice’ stories don’t sell and get you to ‘livin’ the author’s life’, and he went there.

Some of us can’t go there, many writers whom we all know personally have gone to worse places.

My mom was probably right about the pandering, but King gets to step up on his platform and say what he wants to say to many, many people…
 how many of us can say that?

Stephen King’s “Hearts in Atlantis” was made into a movie that I watched only because it featured Anthony Hopkins, but the movie completely bored me and I was also left wondering what in the world was going through all of their heads,  King, the screenwriters, the director, everyone .

I came across the audiobook online and listened while I cleaned and cooked, as is my habit. First of all, Anthony Hopkins was completely the wrong person to play the part of the man who is more than he seems, the rest of the story was cut beyond comprehension in the movie. The book’s story is good, if rough and unsavory in places, (which is what gets King his $$$).

At the end of the story, ‘Gunslingers” are mentioned. I had started to listen to his story of a gunslinger and found it really graphic; I had given up on “The Stand” for that reason, as well. I hear that later on there is much to be said; I may go back sometime, but I digress.

The second part of “Hearts in Atlantis” has nearly no supernatural elements but is a running story of people whose lives touched, beginning in the first part. However, Part II is truly a commentary on the “experience of the sixties”, mostly from the eyes of certain college students, with some being in or protesting the war in Vietnam.

I was not anything near a hippy, I was against the war but never protested, (I guess you all know by now about my brother’s life being taken there; his body came back, and is still functioning on a low level, but my brother lost himself there). I never did any drugs, although it was all around me, I stayed on the straight and narrow, which made me a real oddball. I don’t have the ‘experience of the 60s’ and more identify with James Earl Jones’ character in “Field of Dreams” than anything else: “OMG, you’re from the sixties! OUT!”

(If you don’t know that movie, you need to see it.)

Hearts in Atlantis is deep, it is riveting. Again, I do not agree with everything that King says while on his soapbox, but there is a lot of keen insight as to why people do what they do, and why right is better than wrong,

And he says it well.

I really believe that is what he wants to write, but supernatural and unsavory elements sell.

Two Kings:  One is what he has to say and writes it well; two is the over-the-edge elements he writes to get people to read them.

Nine or more are/is the Dark Tower saga started by one mention is H-in-A and continues through eight books and a short story. I don’t know if I will ever get through them all; there are more stories to listen to out there. My TBR list is huge and my TBL (To Be Listened-to), list is now growing.

Any comments? Have you read Stephen King? Do you only know him from movies? (You don’t really know his work, then.)  If you do want to test the waters,   “11-22-63” or “Joyland”  would be good places to start. Or with Hearts in Atlantis. You could even read the second part and not miss a great deal if you skip the first. And, I suppose, since my guest did not get back in time, this is technically a ‘review’ of “H-in-A”, (if not all of King’s work).

Oh,Gosh, do yourself a favor,please read “On Writing”.

None of us here now has written or published to please the masses, although some former Foxes have left to write more risqué work. How much do you think you would compromise to get your stories and ideas across, plus make Big Money in the process? I’d like to say that I would resist, but even Abraham Lincoln beat up a man who tried to bribe him. “Why?” the man asked Honest Abe, to which Abe replied,
“You were getting close to my price.”


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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4 Responses to A Tale of Two Kings

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Love that Lincoln quote.
    I’ve seen a few of King’s film adaptations — but, oddly, hardly any have I been able to watch straight through, start to finish. Not because I’m squeamish, but just a matter of timing vs. the broadcast schedule.
    If King-based films were someone I sought, no doubt I would have acquired a DVD by now or made some other arrangements. And I think that fact — that I’ve not sought out his films — speaks volumes about his appeal (or lack of it) to me.
    I do recall sitting down one time — when we had a cable service “premium” channel like HBO — and watching the first 30 mins. of Langoliers. All I can now recall — from 25+ years ago’s viewing — was a bunch of un-interesting characters sitting on a plane, looking confused and distressed. Then one of them — the “scientist” figure who always appears in sci-fic — suddenly announces, “it must be the Langoliers.”
    I’m going, “huh?” what are langoliers, and what — since the characters had neither seen nor heard anything from outside the plane — little tidbit of info led that scientist guy to that conclusion?
    From there, I just started channel surfing. Stupid & boring.
    The only King-based film that I’ve seen a lot of — though in many bits and pieces — is the first version of The Shining. And I found that movie pretty engaging. However, since learning — from an interview with King — that it was the WORST film adaptation (in his eyes) of his stories, I’ve wondered whether I like the King story or the Movie that is supposedly a poor adaptation of King’s story.


    • I saw several, including “The Changling” many years ago and I really did not like it or any of them. Forget Pet Semetery and others; like you, I quit watching, but I read a few short stories after I saw Stand By Me and realized there was more to what the man had to say and how he said it.
      The movies really butcher his books. So far the closest adaptation that I have seen (and quit watching) was Misery. They changed the situation a bit and Kathy Bates was nothing like the nutjob in the story.That one had no idea that she was asking and being completely, insanely unreasonable, and Kathy played it as being mean.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I haven’t read or watched any of Stephen King’s works, and can’t drum up the ambition to do so, therefore I really can’t comment on any of this. I’ve heard good things about his book On Writing, but again, I’ll need to find the time and desire to read it. As for your last question, the Lincoln quote speaks to me, too. It would be wonderful to have a wide audience and live comfortably on my author earnings, but I’m not willing to produce anything that I can’t have my kids and grandkids see or read.

    Liked by 2 people

    • A lot of people, especially actors and actresses, regret a number of things that they have put out there once they realize their children will be impacted by it all. I guess our consciences or how far we are stressed and offered is what we would only know faced with a real decision. I know that I have lightened up about a number of things as I have grown older, in reverse of many other people’s situations.I was quite an uptight little thing with hard rules to live by.
      On Writing is short and worth your time,Patty.


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