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Firstly a footnote on my rant concerning On Writing by Stephen King. I felt that I was being rather unfair, perhaps taking too much to heart regarding the writing process because I have had aspirations of being an author. I burnt chapter 4 and 5 off for my girlfriend, who has read more than I ever will, and whose grammar it perfect, I got her to proofread my first novel, A Hero called Tim, due to her aptitude for such things. She came back to me with the following comment. ‘And Stephen King! Ignore him, he’s a fucking wanker!’ Apparently the discs annoyed her so much that she almost ejected them and threw them out of the car as she drove home that night.

I however, felt that there is something more going on here. Listening to On Writing felt like unraveling a huge clump of entwined cables, knowing that in there somewhere is a single thread of gold, amidst the grease stained, twisting copper and iron.

So, I thought I’d add this little pseudo review after On Writing, because, while On Writing left me with a variety of feelings, listening to Dance Macabre, had a more definable set of emotional considerations.

The audio version being voiced in a constant Comic Sans-serif by William Dufris, which I firmly believe is far from as satisfying as if King had narrated it himself.

Despite Kings reassurance that writers are made, which reminded me of On Writings undermining elements, I must say I really enjoyed it. King was a teacher at one point, and after listening to this entertaining and insightful journey through all that is horror and fantasy fiction, I envy anyone who was lucky enough to have attended his lessons.

King strikes me as both arrogant and self-opinionated, but maybe this irks me because so do I.

However Dance Macabre is highly entertaining despite occasional reminders of On Writing, which was not. I also liked the level of research into the chosen subject and the in-depth section on The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting film was a joy, with it being one of my favourite films of the genre, while the repeated mention of Lovecraft and its pivotal role in his personal direction was also enjoyable. As noted I listen to Lovecraft repeatedly, and while King is less than enamored by The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, which is one of my favourites, I find it comforting that he recognises the sheer literary weight that Lovecraft left as a legacy for the genre.

I could go on, but there is little need to be honest. While On Writing will be filed away and probably never listened to again, I look forward to revisiting Dance Macabre because despite the overly comical narration, the information and study involved shows that the subject is a passion to King which is enjoyable. Passion like talent, is fundamental to creation. If I disagree with his personal analysis of being a writer, I wholeheartedly agree with the simple fact that the subject is worthy of such passion and indeed love.


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