Other Worlds

Go then, there are other worlds than these.

 – The Gunslinger, Stephen King

Sometimes I need to get away.  And I’m not talking about a kid-free vacation or a girls’ night out or even a regular date night with my husband. Don’t get me wrong, all of those are welcomed (and awesome). But sometimes, I need to go live in a completely different world for awhile. Preferably one in which I am only a spectator, watching someone else battle demons or defeat vampires or confront those monsters who do indeed live under the bed.

And, this week, I will be traveling to one such world — as soon as I get my hands on Stephen King’s newest novel, The Wind Through the Keyhole.

I grew up in a house of avid readers, and books have always been a treasure and an escape. I’ve been carried away by other captivating stories – Harry Potter; my old friend Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles [also adding a new book to his series this week]; even the guilty pleasure of Hunger Games…just to name a very few. . .

But I’ve loved Stephen King since I borrowed my brother’s copy of Firestarter when I was about ten years old. It scared the crap out of me and I was hooked. Over the years, King’s books have become my favorite reprieve from reality.

And, luckily for me, King is one of the most prolific authors out there. I can always count on King, twice a year, to provide me with some nail-biting respite from reality – rich characters and storylines that command my attention and haunt my dreams for a few weeks…or longer.

I won’t reveal the full depth of my SK-Fan-geekiness by gushing about my impending reunion with the characters from the Dark Tower series , but let me show you how powerful good storytelling can be for me. Calgon ain’t got nothing on Mr. King:

The Gunslinger as painted by Michael Whelan

*****************************************************

I am sitting at my kitchen table, a crisp new 4-inch-thick hard cover King tome open in front of me. My kid is home after school, which means I’m off work and we are having one of those rare afternoons when we’re not running to one therapy or another. I’m a responsible parent, so I had set my child up with an after-school snack before I disappeared into that other world where sadistic clowns terrorize children and super-flus threaten to end the world.

At some point, I have a vague sense that my son is no longer sitting at the table with me, but is pacing back and forth between the kitchen table and the living room. I am doling out a pretzel to him each time he returns, not caring a bit that he’s creating a nice little crumb trail to mark his route. I’m in the zone.

After awhile, I happen to glance up as I’m turning a page and my son is grinning at me, grabbing another pretzel. It takes me a moment to register that something is wrong. His face is covered in blood. His shirt is streaked with it. Angry red smears coat his hands and arms.

Carrie, De Palma-style.

I jump up and examine him – did I mention that I’m reading Stephen King?

He’s not screaming, though, so I don’t. There doesn’t seem to be any broken bones or huge gashes calling out for an emergency room visit.

As I corral my still-blood-spurting child into the bathroom, I pass more evidence of the carnage that was going on while I was otherwise engaged. On the kitchen counter, a sticky, wadded-up dishtowel. The pretzel crumbs that cover the floor are dotted with splatters of blood. A grisly red handprint marks the edge of the coffee table. Geez, how long was I out?? One bloody nose, and my house looks like a crime scene.

Well, I had to get to cleaning it up pretty quickly so I could get back to my book!

 *****************************************************

That was not one of my finer mommy moments. I try to be careful where and when I disappear into other worlds now. But, you’ve got to admit, that’s some pretty powerful stuff.

I hope … that they did for you what any good story should do–make you forget the real stuff weighing on your mind for a little while and take you away to a place you’ve never been. It’s the most amiable sort of magic I know.

— Stephen King, Afterword to the short story collection, Different Seasons

So, I’d love to hear – what’s your favorite escape from reality?

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10 comments

  1. Tawnya Schoolitz · April 24, 2012

    Reading is my escape, my celebration and my solace.

    • stayquirkymyfriends · April 24, 2012

      I so agree! Thanks for reading this, too.. 🙂

  2. averagechildhood · April 24, 2012

    There’s a NEW Gunslinger book!!!!!???? I was just reading about the efforts to make it into a movie recently… I gotta get to the book store…
    Good luck with the crime scene!

    • stayquirkymyfriends · April 24, 2012

      Yes! Coming out today…He’s calling it DT 4.5..yippee 🙂

  3. Wendy Rosen · April 24, 2012

    My husband continually teases me about how no one can ‘reach” me once I get lost in a book! I love the irony of the bloody nose event while reading Uncle Stevie.

    • stayquirkymyfriends · April 24, 2012

      You and I are just alike, then! 🙂 Uncle Stevie…he’s the creepy uncle.

  4. Shenta · April 28, 2012

    I don’t think you are alone in your “Not finer Mommy moments”. I do something similar which is why I try not to read at home.

    • stayquirkymyfriends · April 29, 2012

      Thanks…It seems that I have a lot of those moments, but at least they are the fun ones to write about… I don’t think my kiddo is too scarred… 🙂

  5. Scott Pietrzak · May 1, 2012

    I couldn’t agree more…I may not be an avid reader, but when I do it’s sci-fi or some sort of adventure, or a good horror story. It’s the same with movies…why watch real life when that’s what we live day after day? And lets face it, sometimes real life ain’t (yeah, I said ain’t) that great! It’s nice to whisk away to another galaxy for a few hours to forget about life for awhile…Read on, Robin, read on…

    • stayquirkymyfriends · May 2, 2012

      Ain’t it great? 😉 I love that I was brought up to love reading – it is such a great escape! Problem is I’m not getting much sleep…or getting any new blogs written these days…too much good stuff to read…Thanks for reading!

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