Monday, May 05, 2008

Fun Monday - Heros

Fun Monday's host for this week is Kitten - this is what she wants to know:

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.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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:


Aoj & The Lurchers said...

A very interesting choice! I'm not a fan of his writing but I can see why he is an inspiration to you.

kitten said...

I'm with you, I think I'm going to need a whole box of tissues. Thanks for sharing the story of Stephen King. Beautiful!
The video just fits! Thanks for sharing it as well.

jennifer said...

I found Stephen King in High School and read him voraciouly for years. I introduced his work to my English Teacher. I began collecting his work in hardback.

As "real" life got scary, I found that I couldn't read him anymore. It rattled my nerves too much. But to this day, The Stand is still one of my absolute favorite books.

I love the spin you put on this challenge and the way you honored King's impact on your life.


Jettie said...

He is a marvolous writer!! good posst you would of made him smile I think!!

Jan said...

Stephen King is one of the best writers out there. I have different faves, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Gunslingeer.

You forgot to mention that he plays a mean guitar and is a founding member of Rock Bottom Remainders.

nikki said...

Aw hell....excellent job my friend and well said.

storyteller said...

I love the Emerson quote today. It’s perfect! I enjoyed your tribute to Stephen King. He’s been one of my favorite authors for decades too! I’ve read everything he’s written, and just read his latest DUMA KEY. … enjoyed it very much ;--)
I’ve written of my brother at Small Reflections this week.
Hugs and blessings,

Lil Mouse said...

i read 'thinner' in reference to a term paper and was intrigued but not enough to get 'creeped' out by some of the other books.

i have a mental thing with creepiness. it doesnt matter if i read it or watch it, i will have vivid nightmares. so i dont do creepy. but i get where you're coming from. nicely written!

IamwhoIam said...

I myself never got into the Steven King books, but he is an inspration on how he over comes hardship and can still give to others. enjoyed your post and your chooses Thank You

the planet of janet said...

i love your choice and the well-thought-out reasons for it.

bravo. excellent post.

Anonymous said...

I'm not your hero? :(


Sayre said...

Aw, John... Actually, I thought of you first. You've been on my mind a lot lately - that usually means something is happening. Talk to you later?

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow what a brilliant choice. I really get what you mean about how a writer can transport you and change the way you think and feel. I enjoy Dean Koontz and have done since a kid, even though I went off him for while his new stuff blows me away and I love the ideas he comes up with.
Have a fab week. :D

thefoodsnob said...

Really great reasons!


hulagirlatheart said...

I love Stephen King. I have followed his life trials and love that he used to write in the mornings before he went to his low paying teaching job and that the publisher had to call his school to tell him they were buying "Carrie" (his first book) because his phone had been turned off for nonpayment. Determination and dedication always pay off.

Melanie said...

I also love Stephen King- his imagination is wild and I know that once I start one of his books I won't be able to put it down. Great choice!!

Our Happy Happenings

Anonymous said...

Well, I can't say that I love Stephen King because I have never read him. I do enjoy the movies made from his books.

karisma said...

He was one of my favourite authors when I was younger. I was really into a lot of supernatural type books.

I kind of went off his later books though. They were getting too violent and too much use of the F word in one chapter that I gave up on him!

I am still a big Dean Koontz fan, funnily enough his books went in the other direction!

Patience-please said...

What a different perspective! Very timely for me personally, as I struggle through my self doubt while my novel is writing itself through my unworthy feeling fingertips.

Rose said...

We have something in common.
I Loooove Stephen King and I must have all of His books.

I like the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote:
A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.

Alison said...

wonderfully written post..interesting choice in hero!! very well said.

Faye said...

I can so identify with your hero choice Sayre. There are some writers that are just like friends to me--Jane Austen, for example. I appreciate the life she led and the works she produced. Anyway, sometimes what's on the page is more real than our day to day lives--as all bloggers may understand!

Sauntering Soul said...

I want to read his stuff so bad but it scares the bejebus out of me and I've never been able to get through one of his books. I like all of your reasons for choosing him as your hero. His recovery from the accident has been amazing.

Sandy said...

An interesting choice and very well thought out reasons for it! Thank you for sharing this and also for the Emerson quote. I'll try and remember it the next time I need to hang on another 5

Junebug said...

I think you followed the instructions correctly because they said someone who has made an impact on your life. Oh my gosh, I love that song "Hero" by Enrique. I simply lovet to hear him sing. Hot!

Nekked Lizard Lady said...

While his books and movies scare the crap out me, I certainly agree with you. He had a passion and pursued it and overcame obstacles along the way. I think you chose wisely.

Pamela said...

I would never have thought of writing about someone who influenced me like that. King's books scare me, so it wouldn't have been him... (:

But I have some authors that are inspiring!

Gattina said...

Very interesting ! I have read some of his books but only knew a few little things about him.

lisa marie said...

I love this choice! Like you said, we have many heroes in our lives and I guess he's one of my heroes too. He hooked me on a good thriller many, many moons ago and fed my love of reading. If not for him, I may have stopped as I reached puberty and outgrew the kid books. But King was there and oh what good reads!