Open letter to Mr. Stephen King
Hey, man! What´s up? I apologize if the familiarity of this letter bothers you in some way. I tend to see the people I admire like old friends with whom I hold imaginary conversations. So one day you may find me talking in my mind with my pal Slash, the guitar legend of Guns N´ Roses, and another one drinking coffee with Dostoievsky´s Ghost. That’s normal.
I´m a constant reader of your stories (right now I´m finishing “Everything´s Eventual”, which is not one of your best, by the way), and most of all I admire how you see life, and live yours. I basically grew up with the movies inspired by your stories, too: Children of the Corn, Pet Sematary, The Stand… Darkness and horror attract me, simple as that. Sometimes I feel like a writer and I think is partly because of your influence. So, thank you.
I don’t want to over extend myself, just felt the need to tell you about the little creepy town where I live, far away from civilization. That place is in the middle of the Venezuelan plains, a wild land of infernal sun. You sure have heard about the political situation in here, right? The dictatorship, the violence, the misery. If not, take a look at the news on that matter, I assure you you´re going to end up scared to the core of your spine. Well, it´s not like they say in the media. Not exactly. I´m not going to lie to you: it isn´t worst. But it isn´t any better, either.
The history of my country is complicated. We people are, deep inside, still (and maybe perennially) savages. What is true is that now we´re living terrible times, and the places we used to know -our “public spaces”- are devastated after the long-lasting collapse of a Revolution. The streets are a post-apocalyptic, tropical mess. A considerable amount of the people (a whole mass, indeed) became authentic half-living zombies in desperate pursuit of food. Weird diseases like “chikungunya” (yes, this is a name) or ancient ones like malaria and tuberculosis are spreading in the rural zones, and just nobody seems to care. Delinquency is the law and the political system is a curious looking pirate-style confusion that is sincerely too intricate to explain right now. My point is that if you see how this place looks like sometimes (like “just after sunset”, for instance), I know you´ll be fascinated and terrified.
People live in constant fear. Anxiety is the predominant feeling on the streets. You can easily perceive the subdued violence in the air, ready to explode at any minimal temperature increase. From eight in the morning the narrow, dusty streets get filled with junk-cars making their way like exhausted beetles for a barren day of work. Everyone is poor and wearing rags. They all look like medieval folks. But in some way, we´re always happy. Euphoric is a most appropriate word. That’s our special power. That is, besides the superpower of making fun of everything.
Meanwhile the diabolic sun has eaten away the facades, and the occasional and unpredictable rains have washed the color of almost every surface, leaving walls like a brown stained canvas. Have you ever played Silent Hill?
I can´t stop thinking about this, it´s like I´m living (and this is important: not in a very uncomfortable way, to be sincere) in a peculiar version of one of your spooky and creeps-populated townships. Only this is real.
With all due respect, Mr King, I´m positive none of your characters can survive with sanity to this forgotten wasteland, and not even your razor-sharp intellect could figure out what the hell is happening here.
Thank you again for sharing your imagination with us!
Note: This picture came from my personal Instagram account. I highly recommend this book, It’s actually the first collection of short stories that I read and I enjoyed every page.