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The Random - Discussion Threads > Stephen King Interviews Ruin Suspension of Disbelief

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message 1: by Sammy (last edited Jun 05, 2016 12:39AM) (new)

Sammy | 12 comments Does anyone else feel like I do when you are really into a Stephen King book and then listen to one of his interviews. Especially when he very comical like he is doing stand-up. I find that when I go back to his books I cant help but picture him as a person writing these lines on paper, and it totally ruins the thrill for me. He is just a regular, boring guy.

For goodness sake he talks mostly about going to college and how great obama is. Its a total kill joy. Its awfully hard to suspend disbelief in his fiction after listening to him meander about politics and mundane things.

Im asking for help. How can I enjoy King's books like I used to? Everytime I pick up a book, I can't get spooked or into it because my rational mind constantly reminds me the words come from some regular dude typing on a computer.


message 2: by Donald (new)

Donald Scott (writeondon) Sorry, but I don't get the dilemma. A writer is another human being, just like you - only with all these voices talking in his or her head that he has to get out on paper, maybe! It sounds like you've set up in your head that King is like a god or something, but it's on you and not him that you've set him up that way in your head. If that mindset can't be changed, it seems like the only way to solve the "problem" is to not read or watch any more King interviews?


message 3: by Doreen (new)

Doreen Petersen | 244 comments Sammy when did you ever get the idea that any author isn't just a regular person? I think you mean well but sorry I agree with Donald's statement. Best of luck in your choice but I hope you do realize you will have to choose.


message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 30 comments I also agree with Donald - authors are real people doing a job that they love. And as a side bar - I know your post is about King but when you write a persons name - you should capitalize it - as in Obama.


message 5: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (funkygman007) | 199 comments We are having a discussion like this in another group about Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game author who has some controversial beliefs). Some people choose to ignore who he is as a person and just enjoy his writing. Others choose to let their feelings about the author affect whether or not they will enjoy the writing (up to, and including, boycott). As the reader, that is up to you. The author is who they are - and for me, I don't really let that effect my enjoyment of the writing.

In fact, in the past, stories from King's real life have enhanced his books for me.


message 6: by Kandice (new)

Kandice | 3930 comments I try really hard to separate the writer as a person from their work, as in the case of Orson Scott Card that Matthew mentions, but with King, I just love the guy and it makes his work all the more entertaining to me. This semi-normal, sometimes goofy, but very down to earth guy writes this wacked out stuff? I love that!

I'm sorry it messes it up for you, but I also think maybe you shouldn't read about him anymore if you used to enjoy his books and now seem unable to because of his real personness. (yeah, not a real phrase, I know!)


message 7: by Sammy (new)

Sammy | 12 comments Thanks for the replies. This is really an issue of why read fiction at all? How can you suspend disbelief during fiction? Any advise on how to do this very appreciated.

And BTW, regarding Orson, I don't think there is anything wrong with being apposed to homosexuality. The Bible prohibits it and people who believe in their religion are obviously going to be against that, which is their right (not to go off on a tangent).


message 8: by Sammy (last edited Jun 05, 2016 01:03PM) (new)

Sammy | 12 comments "writes this wacked out stuff?"

So how do you get immersed in this wacked out stuff when you know it has no connection with reality nor written by someone who has by all accounts lived a normal life?


message 9: by Sammy (new)

Sammy | 12 comments Take my fav stories for example: so a couple visits a small town and they get eaten alive by toads or another town inhabited by children and corn-

great stories, but so what?
They can never happen.
They are made up.
How can you enjoy them?

PS: I hope I dont ruin these stories for any of you!


message 10: by Doreen (new)

Doreen Petersen | 244 comments You haven't ruined the stories for us Sammy but it appears you've made your decision. And just to remind you this is a group for Stephen King fans to talk about his and not to bring up any bibilical references. Certainly you're right to feel that way but it should be left out of this group.


message 11: by Sammy (new)

Sammy | 12 comments no I haven't made up my mind at all I want someone to convince me. and I brought it up because two other people brought up another author who they didn't like because he was anti homosexuality.


message 12: by Sammy (new)

Sammy | 12 comments I wish I could enjoy SK again


message 13: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (funkygman007) | 199 comments I will say that I did not give my opinion of Orson Scott Card - I just mentioned that he is controversial.

I sounds to me, though, that you could easily have this problem with any author writing fiction. So, I am not sure what advice I could give to help.


message 14: by Kandice (new)

Kandice | 3930 comments If you can't divorce the author as a person from his work I think you have to be more careful about avoiding personal appearances/publicity of a particular author you enjoy, or give up reading authors you don't care for personally. One or the other. Not advice, but it just seems black and white to me.

Do you have the same problem with actors? If so, do whatever you do there.


message 15: by Sammy (new)

Sammy | 12 comments thanks yes I have the same problem with actors. i have this itch that I need to scratch to find out everything there is to know, but it always ruins it. I'll try to avoid seeing how the salami is made in the future.


message 16: by Squire (last edited Jun 05, 2016 09:41PM) (new)

Squire (srboone) | 11 comments If I only read authors I agreed with philosophically, I wouldn't enjoy a lot of books I do read. I can separate the published from the public persona fairly well, though I get annoyed when authors throw in little lines about their political feelings on certain subjects into their books (King is bad about this, especially as he gets older; he never did that in his early works, which I enjoy a lot more.)

But I look at it this way: I have a way of looking at the world that works for me. It is easier for me to accept the oppposite view point in a book or a movie--which I view as fantasy, quite divorced from reality. Otherwise, I would never be able to read the wonderful fictions of such notable British hardcore socialists like Michael Moorcock and China Mieville.


message 17: by C.E.C. (new)

C.E.C. (milanesa) | 21 comments Sammy, it seems to me, and correct me if I get it wrong, that your problem is more related to the fiction itself than the author. For example, how could you take Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera serious if the author didn't experience the period it's set? Or how could you enjoy Zusak's The Book Thief when the narrator is Death itself? Is that more like it? If it is, maybe you just happen to be too literal or some such? I've met a couple of people like that and it really is very hard to give advise for such a situation. My personal opinion? Try to focus on something to connect you with the book, maybe the locations' descriptions or a character's behavior. Just my thought on the matter, no pretense intended. Have a lovely week you all.


message 18: by Terri (new)

Terri Edwards (teresaluvsbooks) | 149 comments I'm the complete opposite; I love listening to King lecture, especially when he gives a little insight as to how he comes up with the premise behind some of his books. I think his mind is fascinating, and when I read one of his books, I feel like I'm reading something by an old friend, precisely because of his very down-to-earth nature. :)


message 19: by Kandice (new)

Kandice | 3930 comments Terri wrote: "I'm the complete opposite; I love listening to King lecture, especially when he gives a little insight as to how he comes up with the premise behind some of his books. I think his mind is fascinati..."

Me too! That's what I was trying to convey in my first post. He gives the impression that he's just a guy like us, but still manages to write these amazing things. I find that fascinating.

You look at someone like Alan Moore, a complete left field, very strange guy, and you totally get where his ideas may come from, but King is just so everyday. For the record, I love Moore's stuff too.


message 20: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (funkygman007) | 199 comments Terri wrote: "I'm the complete opposite; I love listening to King lecture, especially when he gives a little insight as to how he comes up with the premise behind some of his books."

I love the intros to his short stories where he talks about his inspirations or what was going on in his life at the time.


message 21: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Authors have a very, very fine line to walk these days. No matter what you do or say publicly, you are potentially alienating someone who doesn't like it and will not continue to read your work because of it. This has always been the case, but since the internet has removed a huge amount of the separation between author and reader, authors have to be much more careful these days to manage their public persona than they ever had to before.

I wish I could say that I'm the type who can separate the author-as-a-fallible-human from the author-who-created-the-book-I-love... but I can't, so I do understand that struggle. But for me, it's a matter of what kind of info it is that the fallible human is revealing.

I generally try to keep a pretty good distance between an author and the stuff they write. I don't want to follow authors on Twitter, or want to know what they think about refugees or political candidates or their opinions on anything external to their writing. The more I know about any author's thoughts, the more I will pick up on them in their work. Knowing an author is a homophobic, misogynistic asshole using their platform to campaign to limit civil rights for a huge segment of society has ruined their work for me, because I will see that hatefulness in the writing. I can't unsee it. I begin to nitpick and every sentence I read becomes a painful slog through shit until I just give up and never look back.

It's impossible for me to separate the author from the work in such cases, so I have learned to avoid that kind of knowledge as much as possible. Sometimes it's not possible, such as the example I just mentioned, and losing me as a reader is the cost they must bear for publicizing their thoughts to such a degree.

But there are certain authors that handle their fame and publicity wonderfully and can add a lot to the experience of reading their work through interviews and such. Brandon Sanderson is one of those. He is constantly touring and very open with his fans... but only professionally. He answers questions about his work and about writing in general and is super receptive to questions, so he gives off the vibe that he is extremely accessible... but at least as far as I've ever seen, he doesn't talk about his personal life or his opinions on anything other than his work. So I have no problem reading interviews with Sanderson, because I can feel pretty confident that what he talks about will be carefully thought out and relevant only to his work - NOT his opinion on religion or who should be allowed in which bathroom, etc.

King CAN be one of those authors, though generally I find that I have to be very careful of where and what I encounter of his non-fiction writing and opinions. He has a level of fame that gives him a platform, and he's used it a few times in irresponsible ways, in my opinion. He's tweeted spoilers about HBO's Game of Thrones, which is just shitty behavior in general. ESPECIALLY from someone who should know the sanctity of the story. But I digress... I generally don't even read intros to books because I want to experience the story on its own, without any preconceived notions about its inspiration or contents.

Right now I'm listening to The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and each story is preceded by a small intro about the origins and inspiration for each story. If I was reading this, I would skip those sections, but as I'm listening, I'm trapped. It's generally OK because many of them are simply "I was inspired by this writer's work and wanted to try my hand at an homage style" or "I had this idea over breakfast and had to write it"... but I will never go looking for info about his personal life or personal opinions. They're personal and not my business.

Anywho... that's my 2 cents. *shrug* No advice... just my perspective and how I deal with this issue myself.


message 22: by Sammy (last edited Jun 06, 2016 03:53PM) (new)

Sammy | 12 comments Thanks Becky your comment was again helpful. I have to ignore that itch to know everything about them and just focus on the story and look for the truths within the fictional tale. I guess I'm like you but for different reasons. If someone is militant in their non-traditional beliefs (I.e. is a militant secularist) I can't enjoy their works....For every reader an author turns off though another one they might turn on.


message 23: by Sammy (last edited Jun 06, 2016 04:00PM) (new)

Sammy | 12 comments Matthew wrote: "Terri wrote: "I'm the complete opposite; I love listening to King lecture, especially when he gives a little insight as to how he comes up with the premise behind some of his books."

I love the in..."


So when you are reading a fictional story, do you really believe it is true while you are reading it? Is there ever a time you are actually scared? For me, the only way I enjoy them is looking for truths within the fiction that I can apply to real life.

For example, take the "...Hell of a Band" short story. I am someone who enjoys outdoors and quiet and hates rock music. So I could relate to the enjoyment found in the beginning of the story and the terror at the end (being forced to listen to music you hate). It is also true that many musicians ended up dying early. There is a real evil in that I suppose. This makes good fiction.

However, some stories do not posses much truth and are merely entertaining I guess. The "what if this spooky thing happened" type of tale. But the truth is, it can't happen, because it's impossible. These I cannot enjoy.


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