Stephen King Came to Me in a Dream and Gave Me Advice I’ll Never Forget

I dreamt I was on vacation with my family in Vermont. I’ve never been to Vermont. Neither has my family. But that’s not important.

Photo Courtesy of National Geographic 

We were perched outside beneath the shadow of clouds as black mountains loomed all around us. Again, Vermont is a foreign land to me and I’m not a geographer, so I’m not sure how my subconscious was aware of this topographical feature.

My family and I were playing a card game where the objective was to collect as many horror movies as you could. Each card had a picture of a classic horror film, and I don’t remember a single rule, but damn I was good. Card after card kept coming my way until I won.

Out of nowhere appeared the Master of Horror himself: Stephen Edwin King.

Mr. King —or Stephen, if you will— congratulated me on my victory. Apparently he was an avid player of the card game, and it was rare that someone beat him. I felt sheepish, had I known my favorite novelist was playing with us the entire time, I would have let him win. Like a genie or a wily trickster, he said I could ask him any question as my prize.

As waking often steals bits and pieces of our dreams, I don’t remember what I asked him. But it must have been for some kind of advice, because I do remember what he told me.

"Keep trying,” he said in his Maine accent. “Never give up. If you wanna be a writer, then be a writer. Just keep writing. No one can stop you from writing. And you just keep getting better.”

If my dream-self had had any time to process this, she would’ve remembered to tell him what I’ve wanted to tell him since I was 13 years old.

In eighth grade I read “The Shining,” and it immediately cemented itself as one of my all-time favorite books. It was the first grown-up book I read, kinky sex scenes and all. But the book ends differently than Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 interpretation. Jack Torrance, the father of the Overlook-confined family, doesn’t die trying to kill his son. He dies trying to save him.

"The tears that heal are also the tears that scald and scourge” never felt more true as I cried my way through the last chapter. I had lost my own dad to cancer less than two years before and was still mourning. It wasn’t the first time a book made me cry, but it was the first time I desperately wanted to talk to the author, to thank him for what he wrote.

So thank you, Stephen King. Thanks for being a dynamite writer, an anti-Trump fighter and a Rock Bottom Remainder. Thanks for being your weird, cool, inspiring self. And thanks for stopping by in my dreamscape. Come again sometime.