Our assignment for this week is…Tell me about the Super Hero in your life. Not from TV, but anyone that has been or is in your life that you have really looked up to or has made a impact on your life. It can one or many. You can share pictures if you like. Just have fun with it.
Heroes. I'm lucky - my life is full of people I consider heroes. There are even some of you out there reading this that I consider heroes. But to understand this, you need to know what my definition of a hero is.
Usually a hero is defined as someone of amazing courage and bravery. But a hero is made, not born. If the circumstances that allow for the amazing courage and bravery never come up, how would you know? It's not as easy as looking for white horses and capes. There's this:
A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
and I've heard this:
A hero is nothing more than an ordinary person dealing with extraordinary circumstances to the best of his or her ability.
So, without further ado, my hero.
Stephen King (author)
Interesting choice, no? Well, let me tell you why. First of all, I know the rules said that it had to be someone in your life. This guy has been in my life since the first time I picked up one of his books. I've only been in his physical presence once, but he's been in my head for years!
Stephen King grew up with a wild imagination. And he put that imagination to work writing whenever he got a chance. As the rejection slips piled up, he didn't quit. He married his college sweetheart and they are STILL married. He has overcome addictions to drugs and alcohol. And he was still writing.
Sure, not all of it was great literature, but between THE GREEN MILE and THE STAND, he managed to produce what I believe are two landmark books about the power of love, determination and forgiveness.
He has also overcome the obstacle of being severely injured after being struck by a van while taking a walk one day near his home in Maine. His injuries—a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of the right leg, scalp laceration and a broken hip—kept him in the hospital for three weeks. He continued to write through the pain of his still shattered hip (his inspirational ON WRITING, which lives on my bookshelf. I am now on my second copy).
In 2002, King announced he would stop writing, apparently motivated in part by frustration with his injuries, which had made sitting uncomfortable and reduced his stamina. However, he continues to write, but states on his website that:
"I'm writing but I'm writing at a much slower pace than previously and I think that if I come up with something really, really good, I would be perfectly willing to publish it because that still feels like the final act of the creative process, publishing it so people can read it and you can get feedback and people can talk about it with each other and with you, the writer, but the force of my invention has slowed down a lot over the years and that's as it should be. I'm not a kid of 25 anymore and I'm not a young middle-aged man of 35 anymore—I'm 55 years old and I have grandchildren, two new puppies to house-train and I have a lot of things to do besides writing and that in and of itself is a wonderful thing but writing is still a big, important part of my life and of everyday."
And three years ago, I got to see him in person. His hair was longer. He moved a bit slower. But he walked out on that stage in Ruby Diamond Auditorium and talked to a packed house. He talked a little about his trials and tribulations after the accident, then read to us, the first audience to ever hear it, a short story about his recovery. I have absolutely no idea how long we sat there. Because he did to me what his storytelling always does to me - it suspended time. I fall into his books and become a part of the story, relating to each character in some way. I find this man to be truly amazing.
His enthusiasm for his life - his wife, his kids, his work - remains as ever awe-inspiring.
For the heroes everywhere: