Back in junior high school, when I first saw classmates carrying black-covered mass-market copies of King's novels, I thought too scary for me. I was the kid who had nightmares just watching a Friday the 13th trailer on TV.
In high school, I took the snobbery approach. Yes, even then I thumbed my nose at "mass market trash". My buddy Ken read about a book a day during school and would relay the plot to me over a Dairy Queen cheeseburger that evening. He always hit the sensational parts of King's plots, the sex and the murder.
I didn't pick up a Stephen King novel and devour from beginning to end until I read 'salem's Lot three years ago. The man is a genius. My high school self? Not so much.
I'm now reading On Writing. There are sections which make this English teacher say "well, duh" (of course, not everyone is an English teacher), but the book is brilliant. Even better than the "how to write" portion, in my opinion, is the first section--C.V. It's a compact biography of King's life up through the mid-eighties.
To me, it reveals how an author is formed. King doesn't pull punches. He doesn't candy-coat or whitewash anything.
So Mr. King, as if you need an apology from this hack, I'm sorry for my teenage snobbery. The high school me didn't know what the hell he was doing. Most days, I still don't.
But I will keep trying.