Not The Next Stephen King
Guest Post by Isaac Thorne
So why, you might ask, would I not want to be the next Stephen King? I write horror. It's nice to have people appreciate my work. And, like everyone else, I could always use fistfuls of money. The thing is this: in spite of my social media presence and persistent marketing of my written work, I lead a rather quiet, unsophisticated, and full of personal freedom lifestyle. Sure, I work a job separate from my fiction to provide for my needs, and sometimes providing for those needs can come at a somewhat worrisome cost both financially and in terms of the time I'd rather spend writing my fiction. But I enjoy having the freedom to walk through life without worrying about being recognized in public and being able to comment on political policy without it becoming a headline publicly.
Furthermore, I think itâs important to point out to all other writers that there simply canât be a ânextâ Stephen King, just like there canât be a next William Shakespeare or a next Elvis Presley. A specific series of life and career events had to occur at a given place and period in history for young Stephen Edwin King to become the Stephen King he is today. No one else can chart that course on this little rubber raft we all ride through the giant pond of popular culture, nor should anyone else try. The more you try to be the ânextâ someone else, the less âyouâ you become, and the more your work suffers because of it.
I have the utmost admiration and respect for King. I still read his work. I watch the movie adaptations of his work. Some of my work is influenced by King stories I read when I was very young. Like the man himself has said throughout his career, I write because I feel like I have to. If I weren't writing, I wouldn't know what to do with my hands. But I also know who I am, and I don't think I would have the constitution to survive being as rich and famous as Stephen King. I'm quite happy to continue writing my own stories out here on the edges of the great cultural pond and making a ripple here and there instead of a King-sized splash.