During my re-read of Four Past Midnight, I found yet another excerpt which is part of Stephen King’s response to questions about when he was going to write something serious.
The following excerpt is from “A Note on ‘The Sun Dog'”:
“I am doing what I do for the most serious reasons: love, money, and obsession. The tale of the irrational is the sanest way I know of expressing the world in which I live. These tales have served me as instruments of both metaphor and morality; they continue to offer the best window I know on the question of how we perceive things and the corollary question of how we do or do not behave on the basis of our perceptions. I have explored these questions as well as I can within the limits of my talent and intelligence. I am no one’s National Book Award or Pulitzer Prize winner, but I’m serious, all right. If you don’t believe anything else, believe this: when I take you by your hand and begin to talk, my friend, I believe every word I say.”
Maybe if I was a published author, I’d concern myself with whether I was an award-winning one, but while being able to cite awards during introductory remarks to an appearance by an author makes a crowd go “Ooh, Ahh,” Stephen King doesn’t need any awards for me to rank him among the great authors and one of my favorites. Not that he needs my endorsement; you can just do a quick search and see how many millions of books he’s sold…and he’s still writing. I’m hoping to get his latest, 11/22/63, very soon.
It is a bit insulting, I’d imagine, for authors of genre fiction to not be considered “serious writers.” It’s asinine to think the only way to be considered serious is to write those boring, overly dramatic, literary fiction stories. As Mr. King states in this excerpt, irrational stories are great for exploring how human beings respond to myriad situations and emotions. The setting and impetus for their reactions matters only in what the characters have available as tools to cope.
I’ll take most genre fiction of literary fiction any day, and Stephen King over just about any author, as well.