I am not like Stephen King.
(I bet you are not surprised.)
I know this because I adore stories without horror that instead have sweet characters and even sweeter endings that hit me straight in the feels.
Wishtree is one of those stories. A few years back I wrote about The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and I can still feel the warmth of that tale every time I think of the gorilla character. In fact, I think of Applegate’s story when I walk past the statue to Ivan at the zoo with my skipping seven-year-old.
Her most recent book has a tree named Red as the main character. Red breaks the rules and talks to humans in order to save a girl facing prejudice and loneliness. It took me a few pages to sink in but then the author’s lyric style had me hooked and easily pulled me through to the last page.
Wishtree was the perfect read for a rainy fall day when the trees here have carpeted the ground with their brown, red, and orange creations.
In truth, I do have one thing in common with Stephen King.
I, too, have felt bad about the stories I love to read and those I want to write. I suppose he may be shamed much more for his horror than I am for my softly sweet tales, but I get what King says in this line:
“I have spent a good many years since―too many, I think―being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.”
And, ironically, a part of me feels a little tougher and cooler because Mr. King and I have that one thing in common. How funny is that?
I hope somewhere out there he might feel a little more accepted because a super softy like me admires him for keeping up his craft when others have tried to make him feel lousy about it.
Meanwhile, I keep writing and reading those happy endings.