I posted this to my main blog about three weeks ago, but as I find myself further developing Hanford Ground Zero, I feel this letter is more appropriately at home here.
Mr. Stephen King,
There have been a number of positive and encouraging influences in my life that I wish I had thanked. Many of them, some personally known and others known only through their public works, are no longer with us, and I regret not having offered them my gratitude (for what little it may be worth).
I grew up in an abusive environment. Those sacred places which ought to have been safe havens were neither safe nor sacred. To this day I find myself still working through many of the aftershocks with the hope of becoming a better mentor and model than the monsters which had been set before me by fate.
This hope and this willingness have been made possible by the havens -or outlets of escapism, depending on your vantage point- I found while dodging the bullets and bombs of life.
Reading, writing, and faith provided steadfast shelters against never ending storms. These three have continued with me through the years. They have provided the courage and strength to face down my demons and break the cycle of abuse which has been passed from generation to generation in my dysfunctional family.
Your writing has been a part of that. As much as I have enjoyed your fiction, it was “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” which impacted me the most.
I aspire to be a published author, and so I write, and write, and write, and write some more. Often I recall key points you made on the craft of writing as I strive to improve my work, but even this is NOT the reason why On Writing made such an impact on my life.
Your life story was inspiring. A reminder to always strive for your passion while at the same time never neglecting your responsibilities. The highlights of your marriage left me with a burning desire to be the best husband and father I can be; to place my wife and three girls at the top of my priorities.
Mr. King, this was never taught in my home or my church growing up. These were not the values I was given. It is why I have struggled as a husband and father. And while I have picked up good traits and put down bad traits over the years, the example you left me on the matter of marriage has tremendously improved the quality of my own marriage.
I am not saying I was the monster who had gone before me, but I will not deny that I have fallen to a place of complacency and neglect with my family now and again. Many times over the years I have taken my wife and children for granted. But this is the case no longer.
My conversion to Catholicism just a year ago, and the examples you have left in your writings, are the reasons that my family is still together.
Your writings are wonderfully immersive, and they have taught me much in the way of writing horror, but the example you have shared (even if unintentionally) of what it is to be a truly loving husband has done so much good for my life.
And all this is simply to say thank you.
Thank you, Mr. King.