Monthly Archives: March, 2014

stephen king: why master of horror doesn’t scare us

stephen kingStephen King.

If you ask what I know about him, I will only mention to you titles.

“Carrie,” “Firestarter,” “Stand by Me,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Secret Window,” these are movies I’ve seen growing up based on the novels by Stephen King.  I’ve also read two of his many books “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon” and “The Dead Zone” which I really liked.  So I was delighted to come across this article about him in the newspaper which, instead of being thrown away after use, I decided to post it here because I really like Stephen King.

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Stephen King:  Why master of horror novels doesn’t scare us

by Ruben V. Nepales
Only in Hollywood, Philippine Daily Inquirer

LOS ANGELES– “I don’t get [scared] all that much, really; I pass on the fears to the people who read my books,” Stephen King quipped with a smile in our recent interview via Skype. The author who has sold over 300 million copies of 70-plus books talked to us from the North Carolina set of “Under the Dome,” the hit TV series based on his novel. Silver-haired, bespectacled and looking benign and relaxed, Stephen is not at all what you might expect from the writer of those horror and suspense novels that have gripped us.

“When people ask about my childhood, I feel like it’s always a masked question—‘What screwed you up so badly?’” Stephen said, still grinning. “I had a fairly normal childhood [but] I had a big imagination. I still have nightmares. The nice thing about what I do is kind of psychoanalysis turned inside out. If you have fears and anxieties, you go to a psychiatrist and pay maybe $120 an hour to vent those fears.”

Laughing, he added, “I put my fears down on paper and people pay me to have a scare alone at night. So it’s good. I’m just there to enjoy scaring the s**t out of people.”

Stephen, who wrote the first episode of the second season of “Under the Dome” (he also serves as an executive producer alongside Steven Spielberg and Brian K. Vaughan, among others), explained, “When I’m writing something, I sleep very well. I get rid of the nightmares as part of the writing process… so that’s a terrific deal for me.

“When I’m not writing, I tend to dream a lot. Some of the dreams are very unpleasant. I have a theory that, once you train your mind to fantasize, you can’t turn it off. It runs on its own circuit so that if you’re not venting by writing stories or making things up, it tends to go under your subconscious and come out as dreaming.”

Giving an example of how story ideas come to him, he unintentionally cited how his imagination is wilder than most of us. “I remember being in France last November, going to some kind of public event. I was in an SUV, which was very high. We came to a stop light. A bus turned up right next to us. I looked out the window and there was this man with a little newspaper in the bus. I was thinking, this is interesting. I’m here and he’s less than two feet away but we’re in two different worlds, going in very different directions.

“I thought, what if it wasn’t just a man? What if it was a man and a woman and I look over and the man cuts the woman’s throat? I thought, that’s a story. I want to write that down. I had no idea what would happen in that story or where to go from there. It’s like being on roller skates and touching the bumper of a truck. You can just ride along behind it.”

And that’s why he’s Stephen King and we are not.

Deluge of ideas

The former high school teacher, who also worked once as a laborer at an industrial laundry, admitted that, when he was younger, he had more story ideas flooding his mind. “There was a time I had so many ideas in my head that, it felt like my skull would burst, literally. At that time, I almost hated working on a novel because it meant I couldn’t be working on another one.”

He cited a humorous parallel to penning novels. “It’s like being married; you have to be faithful,” he said, again breaking into a smile. “You see a beautiful woman and you say, ‘Oh, wow, look!’ You have that kind of experience working on a novel, too. You’re [writing] and everything’s going okay. Then one day, you say, ‘Oh my god, I have the most wonderful idea. I have to write this.’ Then you go, ‘No, you cannot go off with the new mistress.’ ”

Woody Allen told us once that he jots down story ideas on pieces of paper and puts them in a drawer. Not Stephen. “It seems to me that keeping a notebook of ideas is a way to keep really bad ideas. If it’s a bad idea, you’ll forget about it; if it’s a good idea, it will stick around. If you asked me at 40, did I have a drawer full of ideas, I’d have said, ‘Yes, I do.’ Now at 66, the ideas still come and I’m thankful… but not at the same speed and without the same kind of hit-by-lightning (impact).”

There’s one book series that he’d like to revise if he had the chance: “I should rewrite all ‘The Dark Tower’ books because they’re really one novel. They were produced almost without editing. I would really like to go back and pick up all those inconsistencies, speed up some of the action, add things and take things away. But there wouldn’t be huge changes.”

Not surprisingly, Stephen said he’s a voracious reader. “I read pretty much anything that I can get hold of. I like fiction. I read some nonfiction and sometimes, I’ll read it if I have to do research. But fiction is what I love. I like suspense fiction. I just discovered Harlan Coben. I like him a lot. I’m on an Emile Zola kick. I had never read Zola before and I was like, where has this guy been? Well, he’s been dead for 100 years but he’s terrific.”

Quirky, eclectic

We told him that we miss reading his Entertainment Weekly (EW) column, “The Pop of King,” which ran from 2003 to 2011, because of his quirky, eclectic taste in film and TV, as reflected in his year-ending Ten Best Lists. One of Stephen’s first jobs was writing an entertainment column for the newspaper of University of Maine at Orono, his alma mater. “I’ve always been interested in popular culture—every aspect of it—movies, books, TV shows, music but also what kids are wearing,” he said.

“I’m interested in TV ads,” he pointed out with a chuckle. “It’s the just the way I’m built. I love movies. I try not to call them films because ‘films’ seem silly to me. I like movies and I enjoy writing about them. I feel like I can write about them and about TV in a way that I can’t write, for instance, about music because to me, music seems almost indescribable.

“Doing the Ten Best Lists was tough because I never saw a movie that I absolutely hated. There’s only one movie I’ve walked out on in the last 20 years and that was ‘The Transformers’ movie. That was the most ridiculous thing that I had ever seen. It was wildly stupid and I lost track. But mostly, I find something that I like in everything.”

On his 2013 list of best films, which he still did for EW, Stephen said, “I can’t remember everything that was on that list—‘Blue Jasmine’ was, and ‘American Hustle’ which I thought was absolutely terrific.” He dished, “I usually put a movie on my list that has Jason Statham.”

Asked about his oft-stated dissatisfaction with Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of “The Shining,” Stephen was firm: “My opinion of ‘The Shining’ really hasn’t changed. I don’t think it’s a very good movie. It’s beautiful to look at but you can say the same thing about a perfectly maintained Cadillac whether you have a motor in it or not. It’s cold. I felt that in the novel, Jack Torrance, the main character, had an arc if you saw the tragic hero in the sense that he’s trying to do the right thing for his family. Little by little, he’s drawn to a point where he snaps. I had a very clear image (of Torrance) taking a piece of metal and bending it back and forth, back and forth until it snaps.

“By the same token, I had a picture of his wife as a conventionally pretty woman who had a real heart, soul and courage inside. I wanted Wendy Torrance to sort of look like a pretty woman who had been a cheerleader, say, in high school and college, who had a really remarkable soul. I thought that Kubrick created the kind of characters that Jack Nicholson had been channeling in some of the motorcycle movies.

“Shelley Duvall (as Wendy) was sort of an antifeminist caricature, a scream machine. I had problems with that but, mostly, I felt that [the movie] was more style than substance.”

Other adaptations

Several of his books that have been adapted successfully to the big screen include “Carrie,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Stand By Me” and “The Dead Zone.”

He is deeply involved in CBS’ “Under the Dome,” which stars Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre and Natalie Martinez, and expands on his book premise about how a mysterious and invisible force traps a small town.

Writing runs in the King family. “I have two sons who write novels,” he said proudly. “Joe Hill has published three novels and Owen has published one novel and two books of short stories. They have these wonderful ideas.” He also has a daughter, Naomi, with his wife of 43 years, Tabitha, a writer whom he met in college.

Stephen almost turned his back on writing about 15 years ago. “I had a bad accident in 1999. A van hit me and I nearly died. I’m really grateful that I got to come back. I turned into a human cabbage because I hit my head pretty hard. In 2002, I was still in a lot of pain. Creative flow and writing was difficult. I was not in a happy place. I thought, probably the best thing to do was retire. The one thing I don’t want to do is overstay my welcome, when it gets old and I feel as though I have said everything I have to say. I want to very quietly leave. I felt like that time had come in 2002. Then my body did a miracle. I became interested in my craft again. The ideas started flowing and here I am.”

King with "Under the Dome" actors, Mike Vogel (left) and Colin Ford (Photo courtesy CBS Broadcasting Inc.)

King with “Under the Dome” actors, Mike Vogel (left) and Colin Ford (Photo courtesy CBS Broadcasting Inc.)

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a look inside

31082“Never lose your childhood enthusiasm and things will come your way…  No matter what happens, always keep your childhood innocence.  That’s the most important thing.”

–From the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun

kindness of strangers

As I write this post using only one hand, typing letters one at a time while my left arm is in a cast and sling, I just wanna say thank you Lord for the strength you blessed me with and for continually showering me with Your love even if sometimes I don’t deserve it.  And I feel your love through the love of my family (for the moral and financial support), relatives (I have a cousin who is a physical therapist with whom I would consult about my condition whether through text or by phone, and an aunt who would encourage me to think positive always), friends (who make me feel less lonely), and kindness of strangers, like the dispatchers in the jeepney terminal who would help me get a good seat, like this old, kind-looking poor man who just out of nowhere opened the door of a taxi for me, like the waiters and waitresses in my favorite restaurant who’d always say “Welcome back!” whenever I eat there, like this boy I sat beside with inside a bus who let me take his place so I wouldn’t feel so cold and directly under the aircon, like ordinary conversations with colleagues I just meet along the way, who I rarely get to talk with that would leave me breathless, inspired–these chance encounters with strangers are like gasoline to keep me going amid all the bullshit and what-the-fuck moments.

Right now, I would like to remember the stranger, the woman who helped me and brought me to the hospital when I had an accident.  I’ve forgotten already her face but I remember her name, her name was Lorna, and that she got wavy long hair (below the shoulders I think), and with fair skin.  When I’m okay and no longer in a cast, I will look for her.  If not, I will pray that God will also protect her from harm.  And that should I find myself in her position, seeing somebody in harm’s way, I will also help that person the same way she did for me.

a bright future ahead

hardships

miss peregrine’s home for peculiar children (Ransom Riggs)

When I was a kid, grandpa Portman’s fantastic stories meant it was possible home for peculiar childrento live a magical life.  Even after I stopped believing in them, there was still something magical about my grandfather.  To have endured all the horrors he did, to have seen the worst of humanity and have your life made unrecognizable by it, to come out of all that the honorable and good and brave person I knew him to be–that was magical.  So I couldn’t believe he was a liar and a cheater and a bad father.  Because if grandpa Portman wasn’t honorable and good, I wasn’t sure anyone could be.

–Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)

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If there is a bright side to my accident five days ago, leaving me temporarily handicapped (I miss you my left arm!  Please get well soon!), it would be giving me lots of time to rest at home and to finish this book by Ransom Riggs.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a unique treat.  Remember the time when you were young, reading children’s books that contain pictures or illustrations?  This book reminds me of that childhood experience but in an odd, twisted way.  And this is the thickest children’s book I’ve read so far.  And like any children’s book, it is filled with suspense and adventure!

A book that contains an engaging story about Jacob Portman and the impossible but fantastic stories of his grandfather that he used to regard with wonder and amazement as a kid, then hate and disbelief as a teenager, it was only when he witnessed the tragic death of his grandfather that he would learn that they might be true after all.  Then like one thing that led to another, he would meet enemies without heart and soul, with power-hungry monstrosity called the hallowgasts out there to eat him and friends with mysterious abilities that would force him to realize that he could be a peculiar, like the peculiar children in hiding in Miss Peregrine’s home.

This book also contains real vintage photographs that belong to the strange and bizarre which, according to the author, where he based his story from.  Sometimes, when I’m still awake in the middle of the night and my eyes would catch a glimpse of the book’s front cover with a picture of a little girl from ancient past, it would give me the creeps so each time I would turn it over so that what I’d see was just the back cover.  It was only when I’m done reading it that I was no longer afraid and have come to like the strange little girl.  Her name’s Olive, by the way.

second life

It was my first ever accident in my 35 years of existence.

Ganun pala pakiramdam. It was scary.  Wish I could use a more descriptive word or metaphor or be more poetic to describe my experience.  But it was really scary, that’s for sure.

It happened while I was getting out from a jeepney in Litex, Quezon City.  I was carrying my big, bulky bag and my netbook and the hassle of riding a jeepney is that the pathway is so narrow and its ceiling is low-level you have to be mindful not to step on anyone’s toes or hit a knee you have to bend yourself like a hunchback and see where you’re walking on in order to get in and out safely.  Riding a jeepney has been a part of my life.

As I tried not to hit any knee while I come out, while carrying my stuff, there were these steps that I had to climb down to.  So as I was climbing down, I just don’t know what happened, maybe I had a misstep or became out of balance that I fell and quickly dived into the pavement.  And there I was hugging the ground, with my things scattered all over, including my left shoe and shattered sunglasses.  It was embarrassing.

Then somebody lifted me up (I learned later it was the konduktor) and the driver of the jeepney ran towards me to ask me if I was alright.  I said I was okay thinking I only had bruises. Then he left. I remember  there were people surrounding me then I felt this excruciating pain at my left elbow it made me weak that I had to kneel down.  I thought I just suffered a large wound but when I checked I discovered something more shocking–the bone in my elbow got dislocated!

And while this was going on I remember the mediation that I was supposed to attend later that day between me and this “collenemy” to be facilitated by our director.  I am sad that it didn’t push through because of my accident.  While this was going on I worried more about my netbook, my work saved in there and not yet finished.

But my left arm hurts like hell so I asked one lady passenger (I learned later her name was Lorna), the one who picked up my things, if she could bring me to the hospital.  She reluctantly said yes. (She was in a panic mode when we got into a taxi so I tried to relax. She was the one assisting me to pay for my sling, my xray at the cashier, and to charge my phone at the hospital.  When she was able to contact my younger brother and my father, that’s when she decided to leave me for she has a meeting later that day.  I said thank you and asked for her number and address.)

At the hospital, a doctor requested me to lay on my chest.  And when I did he just suddenly grabbed my broken arm then did something to it.  I growled.  I felt or heard a snapped.  The doctor said my bone has been relocated (without anesthesia mind you!) but needed an xray to make sure.  I also needed a CT scan to check that there was no internal bleeding in my brain.  Thank God the results are okay–my bone is not broken, but since it got dislocated and it’s swelling I was advised to wear a cast and a sling for 3 to 6 weeks for it to return to normal.  For it to heal.

I am on  sick leave for three days now because of the accident.  I got abrasions on my face, an aching left foot, and a weak left arm in a cast.  In fact as  I write this, I am using only my right hand to type letters one at a time.  And there are things I’ve realized during/after the accident.

First, that even in desperate times, there are opportunistic people who would take advantage of your situation.  I didn’t tell you that the taxi driver who drove me and Ms. Lorna, who drove like an ambulance driver, attempted to overcharge us of P300 taxi fare instead of P207.  Ms. Lorna just gave the driver P220 while telling him to have compassion to me.

Second, that I am lucky I got extra cash.  I didn’t tell you that I paid for all my medical expenses (except for the CT scan wherein the other half of the expense was shouldered by my father), including the taxi fare, because I had P3000 in my wallet  intended supposedly for other things.

Third, that whenever I leave home, I must make it a point that my cellphone is fully charged and with load! Because when the accident happened my phone was dead.  Good thing I was able to turn it on and was able to retrieve the number of my brother which I gave to Ms. Lorna, the woman who helped me.  Seconds later my phone completely died.  But there was another problem.  Ms. Lorna didn’t have load! She was able to borrow the taxi driver’s cellphone with unlimited text and call but she couldn’t get through.  Signal problem, I guess.  But you know what, we really cannot say that we are ready to face an accident.  Nobody’s really prepared when an accident happens.  If it happens, it just happens.  And we just deal with it accordingly with a hope of surviving.

And last but not the least, that despite my misfortune, I am still alive and writing about it here.  My friend’s boyfriend told me that I was saved by an angel.  He said it could have been worse.  He said I am lucky that the pavement I dived into didn’t have any pointed object that could have pierced me to death.   Or a speeding jeep that would have ran me over killing me or if not, paralyzed me for life.  He said I am lucky I didn’t hit my head towards the cement and lose consciousness then become brain damaged.

I didn’t know that he believes in angels, something that I’ve already forgotten about because of too much preoccupation with some issues and problems at work.  He said this is my second life.  Because it could have been worse.

kung isang langaw ang pagmamahal

Halimbawang isang langaw ang pagmamahal
na laging maruruming bagay ang hinahagkan;
may kagitingang dapat pag-ukulan ng pansin
na taglay ng langaw sa pag-ibig sa karumhan.

Hindi laging dalisay ang pagsintang taimtim,
may nagtutunggaling liwanag at dilim
Bawat pusong sumusugba sa pagsinta
lagi’t laging kumakain ng patalim.

Bago kamtin ang pangarap na ligaya
may nilalakarang tinik ng pagdurusa.
Hindi laging ang tatahaki’y landas ng rosas
may mga pagsubok na kinakabaka.

Sa karumhan sumisibol ang pagliyag
upang sumupling ang dalisay na pangarap.
Kung ang pagmamahal ay isang langaw
hindi hadlang ang karumhang niyayakap.

Naroroon sa paglalakbay ng puso ang panglaw
sa paghahanap ng tunay na ilaw.
Nakatuntong tayong lahat sa lupa,
damahin ang pagsintang umiilalim-umiibabaw.

Taken from the book “Mga Tula sa Pag-Ibig” by Teo T. Antonio

book_mga tula ng pag-ibig