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Stephen King's Biography

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Stephen King's


"People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them that I have the heart of a small boy--and I keep it in a jar on my desk."

Stephen King

(New York Times interview)

Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947 at the Maine General Hospital in Portland Maine . His parents were Donald Edwin King and Ruth Pillsbury King , Stephen being the only natural born child in the family (his older brother David having been adopted at birth two years earlier). His birth was no joy for the family . " Instead of being a pleasant surprise, I was the one that wasn't supposed to be, a sort of living dead". The Kings were the typical family until one night, when Stephen was three, Donald King said he was stepping out for cigarettes and was never heard from again. Stephen will always suffer from this, and later on he will call his father " a jerk". At this point Ruth took over raising the family with help from other relatives of the family. They traveled throughout many states over several years finally moving back to Durham, Maine in 1958.

He started writing scary stories at a young age. His connection to this type of writings was first piqued by his father's collection of fantasy novels. This was the match that started the fire. As a teenager, he wrote and sold a couple of mystery stories to a local publication, a mystery magazine. But it wasn't all blood and guts: the adolescent Stephen King also used to play in a rock band and as a teammate in the high school's football team. Stephen King began his actual writing career in January of 1959 when David King and Stephen decided to publish their own local town newspaper named "Dave's Rag". David bought a mimeograph and they created a paper that sold for five cents an issue. Stephen King attended Lisbon High School, in Lisbon, Maine in 1962. Collaborating with his best friend Chris Chesley, in 1963 they published a collection of 18 short stories called "People, Places, and Things-Volume I". King's stories included "Hotel at the End of the Road", "I've Got to Get Away!" "The Dimension Warp", "The Thing at the Bottom of the Well", "The Stranger", "I'm Falling", "The Cursed Expedition", and "The Other Side of the Fog." A year later King's amateur press Triad and Gaslight Books, published a two part book titled "The Star Invaders".

Many of Stephen King's stories take place in Maine. This was directly inflicted by the fact that King himself was born, went to college, and currently resides in central Maine. A major element that changes not only his quotidian life, but his psychology as well, happened when he was five. As a boy he witnessed his best friend's death. His friend was hit by a train, while little Stephen was watching the whole hazard. The image of the human remains in a basket haunted him for a long time. Stephen comments afterwards this "event": "Ever since I have been sleeping with my lights on. Of course it was a tragedy, but maybe if it hadn't been for him too witness this tragedy, we wouldn't be have been able to read his work today. Maybe King became one of the every-day person, going to work every morning and coming back home every evening. Maybe not!

Stephen King made his first actual entree on the writing scene in 1965 in the magazine "Comics Review" . His story "I Was a Teenage Grave Robber" ran about 6,000 words in length. After graduating high school in 1966, he managed to take a scholarship to attend the University of Maine. Looking back at his high school days, King recalled that "my high school career was totally undistinguishable. I was not at the top of my class, nor at the bottom". Later that summer the first King novel began to see the light, a novel called "Getting It On". It was a piece of writing regarding some kids who take over a classroom and try unsuccessfully to ward off the National Guard. But his first full-length novel, "The Long Walk" came out during his first year of college. But the book was rejected by the Bennet Cerf/Random House-publishing agency. King took the rejection badly and filed the book away. The first ray of light came together with his story "The Glass Floor". The story was sold to a publishing agency for the ridiculous sum of thirty-five dollars. In June 1970, Stephen King graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a certificate to teach high school.

It was a poem by Robert Browning called "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" that provided King's next idea. His next work was called "The Dark Tower" saga and was written actually only on bright colored paper. Why this innovative way of writing, we can never know, but we do know that even this action didn't earned him the money he needed in order to survive. Due to the lack of money, the novel was also filed away. Hard times came upon King afterwards. He had to work at a gas station in order to eat. He was paid $1.25 per hour. Forced to apply to this kind of activity, his writing time was reduced to minimum. He began creating short stories, stories that actually provided a modest income when sold to men's magazines such as "Cavalier".

Then came the time for Stephen King to get married. The chosen one was Tabitha Jane Spruce. The couple got married on January 2, 1971 "for a very good reason: I had a typewriter and he didn't", jokes his wife. In order to continue with his new life and his new status in the society as a husband, King took a teaching job at Hampdem Academy in the fall of 1971. His annual earning of $6,400 seemed to be enough for him and Tabitha in order to keep on going.

After moving to Hermon, a town west of Bangor, Maine, King began writing a short story about a girl named Carietta White. But after a few pages, King decided that it did not worth the time or the effort and eventually he crumpled them and threw them into the paper basket. Fortunately for Stephen, his wife interfered with those pages and read them. She encouraged her husband to continue the story, and that's how King's first full-length novel, "Carrie", saw the light. In January 1973, King



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