There are people I know waiting around for a Led Zeppelin reunion tour. For years, fans hoped the Beatles would get back together. Millions of people who worship James Dean and Marilyn Monroe weren’t even born when they were alive.
When I saw the schedule for Stephen King’s “End of Watch” tour, I started making plans. I didn’t have as much trouble convincing my wife to take an 11-hour road trip as I thought I would. Our son needs to see his granny, I said. Mid-June is the perfect time to get away.
And, oh by the way, Stephen King will be in Salt Lake City on the 17th, I said. Can we go?
The yes gave me much joy.
Like so many of King’s “constant readers,” I often refer to him as Uncle Stevie. He doesn’t know me from any other fan out there, but to me he’s like family. Once a year – twice sometimes – he sends me an eagerly anticipated letter. Yes, they are a few hundred pages long, but when you only hear from your favorite relative a couple times a year, long is good.
When your favorite relative starts getting up there in age, every letter could be the last and any chance to visit with him or her should be taken as sacred.
So I messaged my aunt Pam. She’s a big fan, too. And then we waited for the ticket information. She saw it first and snagged us tickets that soon sold out. And then we waited more.
There’s a story that a woman wrote to King asking him how “The Dark Tower” series ended because she was elderly and needed to know how King’s fantasy-western epic concluded before she died. I had assumed King would die before I ever had the chance to be in his presence. The likelihood of a photo op is slim to nil. But being in the same room as someone I admire so much is enough to give me chills.
Uncle Stevie was there for me in my adolescence, a time when I needed a strong male in my life. I didn’t understand many of the situations in “Misery” but I still grew up to be a writer. I learned to avoid the dreaded sentence “I’m your number one fan!” I learned some rather choice words, too, repetition of which at age 11 would have garnered unknowable consequences.
Unknowable consequences, however, are part of the fun of reading King. There are some known quantities: we will be given great detail about a town and its inhabitants; we will fall in love with one or two of them; one of the characters we love will die.
Someday, hopefully years from now, Stephen King will die. There will be no new books until a hundred years later when someone finds a lost manuscript because that seems to be what is happening so often these days.
For now, I can bask in the joy that I got to see my hero. He probably didn’t see me and that’s OK. That’s how it should be. My level of hero worship is a step above anonymous but not to shaking hands level.
I didn’t want to creep him out, after all.
Tranchell’s King-inspired debut novel “Cry Down Dark” is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and by asking your local bookstore to order it. If you want a signed copy and to become his number one fan, visit www.blysster.com