Stephen King – Author Bumping
Bumping into famous authors is one of my many peculiar gifts. I have gone so far as to bump into the belly of Robert B. Parker as I made a mad dash to escape from a cockney ladies’ loo lurker in London. But let’s begin with the original Authoring Bumping.
Years ago I was at my first writers’ conference. Excited to finally be pursuing my dream, I had signed up without paying close attention to the names on the speakers/attendees list. I’m a leap and then look person. The energy of a group of writers, particularly horror writers, can be like downing a six-pack of Red Bull on an empty stomach. My head was spinning with long submerged plots and characters. The encouragement I received at the conference made my knees weak and my fingers ache to be typing. The energy cast from a gathering of writers can be like the heat from the sun.
One room had been designated as a time-out zone. Needing a break from the heady vibes, I sought quiet in the “Movie Room.” Blade Runner was the film du jour.
I fumbled in the darkness and took a seat in the small auditorium. Ten minutes into the film a tall someone sat next to me. As Harrison Ford wandered the screen with a perpetually puzzled puss, the chap next to me struck up a conversation. The words weren’t important. It was the idea that someone would talk during a film. Movies are religious experiences to me. I enter them and disappear in silence.
The tall stranger didn’t say much, but he did break the Harrison Ford spell. I’m not a shusher. I’m a glarer. In the dark a “quiet, please” glare is as useless as a flyswatter in a hurricane. The stranger spoke with an accent. Boston? No. Maine. As the credits finished and the lights went on, I found myself sitting next to Stephen King. He was sweet and chatty and exhausted. He’d stepped into the darkness to collect himself, just as I had.
Later we shared beers in the bar. He was wearing a black t-shirt with fake seagull poop dripping down both shoulders. Childlike, he was tickled at his t-shirt joke. He suggested I sign up for the London workshop, which was set for that summer. From there it was a short distance to my sliding into Bob Parker’s belly. My career in Author Bumping had begun.