Stephen King on Violence and Violent Writing

I had a conversation today about the recent violence and how the perpetrator of these acts was said to have written disturbing fiction, with some in my group saying that these writings should have been a red flag to authorities. I took the opposite side of this, arguing basically that although now it does seem obvious that this person was deranged and it showed in his writing, it was hard to point to a person’s writing alone as a reason to, for instance, expel that person from school. My argument was that Stephen King writes some disturbing stuff, but no one would lock him up. Well, today on ew.com Mr. King addresses this very issue in a piece called Predicting Violence. Here is a direct quote from the article:

For most creative people, the imagination serves as an excretory channel for violence: We visualize what we will never actually do (James Patterson, for instance, a nice man who has all too often worked the street that my old friend George used to work). Cho doesn’t strike me as in the least creative, however. Dude was crazy. Dude was, in the memorable phrasing of Nikki Giovanni, ”just mean.” Essentially there’s no story here, except for a paranoid a–hole who went DEFCON-1. He may have been inspired by Columbine, but only because he was too dim to think up such a scenario on his own.

On the whole, I don’t think you can pick these guys out based on their work, unless you look for violence unenlivened by any real talent.

Again, what happened is horrible, but I don’t know if it could ever be predicted or unfortunately stopped. Of course, me heart goes out to the families of all those who have been lost in this senseless act of violence.

My Entry for the The “Endless Hour” Contest at The Clarity of Night

My entry for the “Endless Hour” contest at The Clarity of Night. Mine is entry #1. You’ll also recognize the author of Entry #3 from The Moon Topples. Check out all the entries there and look at the picture this is based on. Anyhow, I thought I would post my entry here. Remember, we only had 250 words to work with.

College

“Do the dishes yet?” said Gavin.

“I told you I’d get to it,” said Samuel. “Get off my back. I’ve got a Calc final Thursday and a Chemistry paper due Friday. Besides, those dishes aren’t even mine.”

“I know,” said Gavin. “I’ve seen your cup. Wouldn’t hurt you to wash it every once in a while.”

“I rinse it,” said Samuel.

“You pledges need to know your place,” said Gavin, ignoring the freshman. “My mom’s visiting this weekend.”

“She’s visiting me this weekend,” said Samuel under his breath.

“What’s that?” said Gavin stepping forward.

“Nothing,” said Samuel. “I’ll do it.”

“Good,” said Gavin, tossing a half-eaten plate of nachos into the mess. “I better see a clean sink soon.”

That Friday, following dinner at the Olive Garden, Gavin escorted his mother around the house, visiting the kitchen first.

Little punk’s lucky, Gavin thought. The sink looks better than when we moved in. He’ll have to do the dishes every week.

“Let’s see your room,” said Gavin’s mother motioning upstairs. “You must be hiding those textbooks someplace.”

“Sure,” answered Gavin. He had made sure to prepare his room for such a drop in.

Opening the door, nudging his mother inside, Gavin’s jaw dropped. Strewn across his bed was every single dish from the sink, filthy as ever. Spread prominently on the floor was his secret stash of magazines, open to the most revealing pages.

Placed neatly on his pillow was a note from Samuel which read, “I quit. Find another maid.”