stitching & stephen king


I didn’t get a lot done this weekend. I felt more like reading than watching movies.

Starting The Dark Tower must have whetted my appetite for Stephen King, I read Night Shift for the first time in about 20 years. Some of the stories have held up well; some of them are cheeeeesy as hell. One thing that consistently annoys me about old Stephen King is that almost none of his female characters had jobs. It’s like they only existed to nag the male characters so they could fantasize about popping them in the mouth and the reader could go “Wow, they’re both pieces of shit”, and then not mind too much when they get carved up by, say, psychotic religious brats and their Old Testament corn god.

I love The Shining, and it’s truly a great novel, one that I think will still be in print 100 years from now. But it drives me CRAZY when Wendy is dithering about how she can’t leave Jack because the only place she can go with Danny is back to her mother, who she hates. What the fuck woman, get a damn job! Aren’t you a college graduate?! I mean, it was the late ’70s, not the ’50s. There was plenty of precedent for single women supporting themselves; my mother did it with THREE kids and NO college education.

Sometimes I wonder if the strong female characters he wrote in the ’90s — Dolores Claiborne, Tricia McFarland, Rose Daniels — was not an effort, conscious or unconscious, to make up for the fact that so many of the female characters in his earlier works were useless dishrags. (Not ALL of them, just what seems like a disproportionate number.) It’s funny, because nearly all the main characters — good, bad, and ugly — in his first novel, Carrie, are female.

I think I’ll read Nightmares & Dreamscapes (I already own Skeleton Crew and read it not too long ago) again… maybe ‘Salem’s Lot, too. Shit, I haven’t read that since junior high.


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