~Chancellor Series at UMASS Lowell.
~Tsongas Center Arena.
Stephen King walked on stage to a standing ovation.
Of course he did.
Fellow author Andre Dubuse III (Townie, House of Sand and Fog) and a faculty member at Lowell moderated the event and began to count off Stephen King's list of accomplishments, Mr. King interjected with one liners as if he were on a comedy tour.
Andre stated that he has outsold Charles Dickens...
"He didn't have e-books in his day." Stephen King reminded the audience.
Andre brought up his many movie adaptations.
"Some of which were good." Mr. King allowed.
Andre revealed that he and Mr. King met 25 years ago.
"You made dirty jokes and I, (insert dramatic pause), talked about literature."
Andre told the audience that many years ago, his father was run over and basically crippled, Stephen King along with a few other authors, gave him money for his astronomical medical bills. "This is like Steve King's greatest hits. Let's play Freebird." King quipped without missing a beat. Then Stephen pointed out that John Irving put together the fundraising for Mr. Dubuse. Stephen King: Mr. Humble.
"I make all this shit up and you pay me!" He cried with glee. "You guys put my kids through college and I scared the shit out of you!"
The conversation turned to how Stephen is one of the most recognizable writers of our time and he regaled us with different tales. How people will just yell out from vehicles driving by. "Yo! Stevie! Cujo! Yeah!" How a cook at Nathan's in Coney Island mistook him for Frances Ford Coppola and Stephen gave him that autograph. But my favorite, (favorite, favorite) was when he had dinner with Bruce Springsteen in a restaurant in New York City. A teenage girl was out celebrating her birthday with her parents. She approached the table with her feet barely touching the ground. "The Boss" started to take out a pen from his inside jacket pocket. "Are you Stephen King?" She asked in adulation. "She never fuckin' looked at him!" Stephen exclaimed.
"Do you want to hear a story?" Stephen King asked and then proceeded to read Afterlife, which has never been published before. It's a tale about a man who dies and finds himself talking to a bureaucrat about going back and doing it all over again.
When someone thanked him for all his books, he replied. "I'm glad it was good for you. It was great for me."
One woman wanted to know when he did get that first advance for Carrie, did he and Tabatha repair their car or buy a new one? The Kings bought a Ford Pinto. "We loved that fuckin' car! It was brand new!"
When discussing the relationships in his books, he stressed that he sets out to tell a story and make the characters as believable as he can. What you want is reader identification and confessed, "I've got a reputation as a Horror writer, but I've really got a marshmallow for a heart." Stephen King: Romantic.
"Did you ever terrify yourself?" Stephen doesn't have bad dreams. He puts them in his writing. But after he wrote Pet Semetery it scared him so much that he put it in a drawer and thought no one would want to read it. The time he scared himself the most was when he was writing The Shining and counted down the days to the scene "...he knew was coming." Danny going in room 217. The room with a dead woman in a bathtub who's not really dead.