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Dear Stephen King

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Dana Rosette Pangan

Staff Writer

Dana Rosette Pangan is a supervisor by day and a fangirl all the time. She holds a degree in Laboratory Technology but finds that she has more chemistry with language and writing. When she's not making embarrassingly lame puns, she can be found avoiding social situations and searching for something that can hold her attention for more than 30 minutes. She is from the Philippines and is probably doing something weird right now.

Dear Mr. King,

I used to be indifferent to clowns—for me they were just men with a horrifying fashion sense and too much make-up and who think making weird noises is within the realm of funny. But now they’re the stuff of my nightmares, and I have you to thank (or punch in the face) for that.

The first book of yours that I have encountered is The Dark Half, and I was thrilled by the horrors that are contained within its pages. (As someone who refused to go out of the house for a week when she watched The Birds at age 4, I was thrilled and appalled by some of the scenes.) But it was reading IT that made me think, “This author is freakin’ terrifying. I LOVE HIM.”

IT was the first book that gave me a nightmare. (I know this is nothing new to you, Mr. King. If you looked at the back of many readers’ nightmares, you’d see MADE BY STEPHEN KING stamped all over them.) It was this nightmare that made me realize what made your stories scary—they burrow into your subconscious and stay there, biding their time, waiting, until they find you at your most vulnerable (when you’re asleep, when you’re pooping), and they pounce on your conscious mind and scare the (sometimes literal) crap out of you. So one moment you’re petting and cooing at a big, fluffy dog, telling it that it has been a good boy, and it has been, but the next you’re NOPE-ing away from it because Cujo flashbacks, man.

Listen, I’m not whining. I love being scared, and it’s a privilege to be scared by you. I know others are as well, though despite your success, despite your reputation as a master of the macabre, I still think that you’re one of the most underrated authors of our time. When people see a Stephen King book, they automatically assume that it’s horror. But you’re so much more than a horror writer, aren’t you? You also write non-fiction (On Writing), crime (The Colorado Kid), fantasy, (The Eyes of the Dragon), and mystery (Mr. Mercedes), and damn, you’re killin’ it (not literally, I hope)! You love stories and storytelling, and I can feel that love radiate from the pages of your books, see it from every word of your introductions. And I feel like that’s something that makes you so endearing to us your readers, even though you usually scare us out of our minds. As a reader, I don’t want to read something that’s been mass produced, something that the author has written because he has to; I want something that came from the heart (or from the sex torture dungeon in their basement, wherever you get your stories, sir). People sometimes wonder how you manage to publish novels every year, where you get your motivation, how you don’t run out of ideas. But me, I don’t get too surprised, because I know that when you truly love writing, the ideas flow out of you like the blood of the characters that you’ve killed.

There’s just one thing I ask, Mr. King: Don’t ever stop. Please continue to write and write until you can no longer hold a pen (because pens have already been rendered obsolete and you can type your words by just using your mind). I want my future children and my children’s children to grow up reading your stories—not the best parenting technique, I know, but you’re awesome is what I’m trying to say.