Stephen King at the Majestic Theater

Stephen King at the Majestic Theater with Liza Collins in background (Holga, Kodak 400 TMAX)
Stephen King at the Majestic Theater with Liza Collins in background (Holga, Kodak 400 TMAX)

It’s not every day you get to meet Stephen King.

I was part of the press conference for Mr. King at the Majestic Theater in Dallas. Mr. King was promoting his new book, 11/22/63 A Novel, and also doing a benefit for The Sixth Floor Museum.

I brought along my big brother, James, to take photographs. This left me free to ask a few questions of Mr. King and shoot off a roll on my Holga 120N.

Unbeknownst to me, my Holga was in the B shutter mode, which we all know stands for blurry. Actually, it stands for bulb and it keeps the shutter open as long as you finger is on the shutter release. This usually results in blurry and dark photos due to over exposure.

Under normal circumstances, these photos would be trash, but some other interesting variables took over.

I was taking photos while on the stage of the Majestic Theater. The background for Mr. King was very dark. I was using a flash with Kodak 400 TMAX film. The combination of the B shutter mode, flash and a mostly dark room gave some sharpness from the flash with a little ghostly after image from the ambient lighting.

I only got two out of ten shots to come out. The two were closer shots, about three to four feet. All the distance shots, about ten to twelve feet, were still too blurry for my liking. I honestly think these two close-up shots were better than what I would have normally gotten.

Click here to see the other shot on Flickr.

I still hate the B shutter mode setting. I should supper glue it to the N setting.

Stephen King

Meeting Mr. King was a pure delight. He’s the next best thing to meeting my favorite author and daisy delicacy, Ernest Hemingway.

Mr. King was casually dressed in a loose fitting white oxford, blue jeans and loafers. His graying hair is done in a slick backed wavy style. Mr. King’s long jowly face makes you think he could be someone’s mean old neighbor (You kids get off of my lawn!). He is a very animated speaker who expresses himself gracefully with his hands and sometimes a creepy smile or two.

Mr. King has a wonderful sense of humor. I liken him to a roller-coaster designer who aims to thrill and excite all in the same ride. He really likes his job.

If ever you get the chance to meet or be in the same room with Mr. King, then I highly recommend it.

11/22/63 A Novel

It took me a little while, but I finished all 850 pages of Stephen King’s 11/22/63 A Novel on my Kindle.

As you know, I’m currently on the hunt for the people, places and things associated with the Kennedy assassination. I’ve already been through the Who’s Who of the Kennedy Assassination, The Report of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (The Warren Commission), Assassination Vacation and am currently reading On the Trail of the JFK Assassins. So, I’m a little over informed to read Mr. King’s latest novel.

In short, 11/22/63 is about English teacher Jake Epping, who is befriended by the local diner owner, Al Templeton. The reason for the quick friendship is that Al, who’s suffering from a terminal illness, has a secret passage in the back of his diner that leads to September 1958.

Al wants Jake to use the passage to save President Kennedy from Lee Harvey Oswald. As you can imagine, this is no easy task, because the past is obdurate and does not change easily.

I think 11/22/63 is a delightful read, all 850 pages. It is a little long for my liking. I prefer shorter stories that leave some details to my imagination. I am sure most King fans will eat this book up and still want more.

I was at the press conference and the speaking event. I heard Mr. King say he spent some time in the Dallas area researching for 11/22/63. Mr. King admits he made some mistakes like misspelling Killeen (he used one L) and calling the local radio station K-Life, when it should have been KLIF (as in Oak Cliff). Those points aside, I really feel all Mr. King did was a drive-by. I have lived in the Dallas area most of my life, and I don’t really think he got a good lay of the land.

Mr. King was a little hard on the people of Dallas too. But that’s okay, we don’t much care for yankees either.

Unfortunately, 11/22/63 did not keep me on the edge of my seat like Misery, my all time favorite Stephen King novel, or give me a surprise ending. I could see where the book was heading a mile away. If anything, this novel was written for the big screen and it will need to be drastically pared down. 11/22/63 should make a wonderful movie for the fall 2013 season, in time for the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.

Can I see into the future? I knew you would ask that.

If you really like Stephen King novels, then you will like 11/22/63 A Novel just the same. If you are not a Stephen King fan and are looking for a little excitement, then I would recommend something else like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Cheers.

My Favorite Stephen King Novels

  • Different Seasons, 1982
  • Misery, 1987

Other Stephen King Novels I have read

  • The Shining, 1977
  • Night Shift, 1978
  • Christine, 1983
  • Skeleton Crew, 1985
  • The Stand, 1990
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, 1999