In 1986, I was sixteen years old, a sophomore at Woodbridge Senior High School, stricken and blessed with everything that comes with that age. I also had a paperback copy of Stephen King's IT--the one that showed the sewer grate on the cover, long before the editions that showed various versions of Tim Curry from the inadequate 1990 TV miniseries that ran two episodes and belittled one of the great novels of our time. I was lucky to have been living in a three story house, the lowest level of which included my room and also a billiards room. Under the pool table, I smoked Kool Kings--stolen from my parents--and I read IT, lying on my stomach, over a period of four days. That was an unthinkably quick read for me for such a massive tome...In 1986, some will recall, a book passing a thousand pages being read by a kid was likely either The Lord of the Rings or, under force, the Bible.
At that age, I was fueled by the story of the kids, especially Bill--Big Bill, the writer to be, the impossible child who was heroic and yet knew how to delegate, to say, "I can't do this. YOU have to." In the little 'burb of Lake Ridge Virginia, I had repeatedly dammed a little creek with my friends Everett and Kris at the age of twelve. There was a girl who belonged to our Boys' Club named Brenda, who was sweet and wonderful and maligned by people who did not know her. This book was meant for me to find. And, I may say, I grew up to be an English teacher of sixth graders, not far off from the age of Stuttering Bill, Haystack, Trashmouth, Eddie, Stan, Bev, and Mike.
The book scared the hair off me, I like to think--finding the excuse convenient. I'm a writer, too, publishing little bits here and there. In some ways, I became Bill, a far less grandiose version.
I'm forty-three now. I only just realized, reading IT again--most of the way through it, re-experiencing the terror and the joys and the tears of a book that is more than a horror novel--that exactly 27 years have passed. IT has called me back again, in the same space of absent time it took to draw the adult Bill and the Losers back to their childhood apocalypse.
I answered the phone. I came home. I am lucky--unlike the Losers, with whom I have so much in common--I am glad to be here. Wrap me in your dark apathy, grownups of god-forsaken Derry. I have found my friends again. They have been far, but never away.
I read the book sitting in a lawn chair, under a tree outside of my apartment. It was the summer of the in-between. I'd finished college and hated my major; no way to make a career out of years of school. Wasn't sure how to move on ... or what I wanted the move to become. I'd waited tables and tended bar all throughout school. So, that year I waited tables, full time. Long nights, longer than they should have been at times, and even later mornings. Time off, spent reading the book that blew me away. I moved on and up to the next challenge. But, never forgot that summer. At times, I thought "one day I'll be able to talk about this moment". And now I am ....
That's a great freakin' post. Hope to see much more from you, MDamanda!
I'm a writer-wannabe and am 52. Big Bill is a great inspiration, especially since I have a mild stutter. IT is one of my Stephen King faves, along with The Stand and Salem's Lot.
To all who have responded, thank you so much. I'm a little club-fingered when it comes to technology, so if I miss a "thanks" or a "like" or a friends request, it's not for lack of trying
For the record, here are my favorite tales from SK--all from the books, you understand. The movies would be a different list.
2) The Talisman (with PStraub)
3) The Long Walk (as RBachman)
4) The Drawing of the Three
6) The Dead Zone
7) Eyes of the Dragon
9) Under the Dome
10) The Body (in the collection "Different Seasons")
Obviously, there's a tendency here to favor the books that deal with children. SK has never lost his tether to his youth, to the mysteries and terrors and wonders that we're born to, and that the world slowly kills--or tries to. Here's to one man's effort to help us not forget!
Thanks, man. I hope you keep on with the writing. I only publish a little here and there, but I did finally get a book out in 2007--critical success, commercial flop. Even so, it felt great. What is it the guys in Journey sang?--Don't Stop Believin'!
Meantime, it's always nice to find a fellow under a unifying flag! Kudos to you, sir
Great topic. Yesterday, I was re-reading IT, for the 7th. time since I read it first as a 15 year old. A few pages through, I realized that I was now the same age as The Losers, when they returned to Derry and finally conquered IT. Then I realized that this year, is 27 years since that happened, and that had they not beaten IT then the cycle would have started anew - around this time. Today, I found this forum, and this post. That's not too bad, that's not too bad at all. Wonder what became of The Losers, since then.. - the ones that survived. We know they all forgot again, including Mike, forgot everything and eachother. What became of them? And Derry? I wish King would take this up, somehow.. - I'm not a writer, so I have no idea how. But I would love to see something from his hand, as to let us know what became of The Losers, the people around them, and Derry.