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A night with a King of the writing craft

Tonight was spent at the Symphony Space down off 96th St. where I got to sit about fifteen rows away from Stephen King and John Connolly. Now, if I have to actually tell you who Stephen King is, I’m going to start checking you over for an extra appendage, or the spacecraft you just stepped from. (actually, I’m pretty sure any aliens would know who he is too, if they were any sort of decent extraterrestrials and monitored our planet) John Connolly, who might be less known but no less deserving of being read ( was the fellow who interviewed and chatted with Stephen King tonight. About 700 people waited in line for up to 12 hours outside (myself: 2 hours after work) in the bluster and chill of the evening to get inside and get the inside story on King’s new book, Lisey’s Story. I was given the chance through work channels, since I do work in publishing, to read this book a couple weeks before it came out in the stores. It isn’t standard King fare, ie. the usual hack and slash horror that makes you keep the light on at night. But it is still wrenching, vivid, and a tale of love, madness, marriage, and death. Find it. Read it.

So, aside from some funny stories and audience questions, and a marvelous reading of a selection of the story, I came away with this piece of advice…you’ll pardon me if it isn’t a perfect quote, but unless someone who reads this was there tonight, how else are you going to know if King said these exact words or not?

“To any writers here tonight, consider your writing as a craft, not as art. You don’t have the position to call what you do art. That is for someone else to decide. The critics. Your audience. What you are doing is labor, working for the rewards of your imagination and sweat. You produce something, like a carpenter produces a table. If someone else takes it and calls it art, then so bet it. But so long as you love the work you do, then it will be worth every moment. That’s all that matters.”

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