R.I.P, Story

     I worship Stephen King.

     That may sound like a pretty extraordinary statement, but anyone who knows me very well knows that it’s true.  I’m just a shade or two under one of those scary, stalker-type fans (and that’s just because he lives too far away.)  I think he is a genius, one of the most gifted writers the world has seen, and I have read nearly everything he has ever written, most more than once.  In Janiceland, Stephen King is a god.

     Why?  Because the man can tell a damn good story.

     That’s it. Really.  It’s not because he has a firm grasp on the human condition in the post-modern era. Maybe he does–I wouldn’t know.  That’s a book snob evaluation, and I have no patience for book snobs.  Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t care particularly what anyone reads, as long as they are reading something.  I think more people should read as a hobby.  It improves your vocabulary, your thinking, and hell, maybe even the human condition in the post-modern era (whatever that means–maybe someone can tell me one of these days.)  Anyway, before I started off track there, I was saying book snobs annoy me.  I’ll tell you why (of course.)

     Book snobs have to have some “deeper meaning” in everything they read.  The book has to be about something, in the sense that it has to represent something in our culture, like political corruption, or man’s greed, or some other similarly “important” topics.  Book snobs pick a book apart looking for these things, and criticize the author if they are too difficult to find.  Here’s my question:  what can’t it just be a good story?

     I’m not much of a fan of movies that are made from books, even Stephen King books, but I did like “The Green Mile.”  I freakin’ loved the book, and I thought the movie did a pretty good job at getting the major point of the story (or at least what I perceived as the major point.) It doesn’t hurt that I’m also a huge Tom Hanks fan.  At the end of the movie, the main character is walking through a cemetery, and on the headstones in the background is the word “Story,” over and over.  Now, believe it or not, I actually caught this the first time I watched the movie, and then later on when I watched the “making-of” stuff that was extra with the DVD, the movie-magic guys said a lot of things similar to what I said before–it’s never just about a good story anymore.  His point was that the art of story telling is dead.

     I’d like to pick up a book and see the following review: “Well-written, great characters, great story, will scare the shit out of you!” I’d buy ten copies.

     I don’t think that will ever happen, because we seem to be getting worse instead of better.  Books are either total sap or total crap, and movies are almost as bad.  My goal for the summer while school is out is to read fifteen or twenty good books that I’ve never read before, and I hope I can find some gems in there.  I’ve swiped a couple of ideas from Selena over at “Because Motherhood Sucks,” and we’ll see how that goes.  Stephen King is semi-retired, so I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to get that many new books out of him.  Voldemort is dead, and Bella and Edward are in their happily ever after.  Yes, I read both the Harry Potter and the Twilight series.  This isn’t a literature class, and I have enough reality as it is. Leave me alone.

     So, here I am, mourning Story, and hoping that I can scrape up some really good books over the summer. I’ve read a lot, so it’s a challenge.  Plus, I’m picky. Maybe I’m the book snob, and everyone else is normal, I don’t know.  I’d love to consider that point some more, but I can’t.  I’ve just had a look at the human condition here in this house, and I have to tell you, it’s a mess.

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