Some Guy Named Stephen King Begged To Join Our Writers’ Workshop. What Do You Think We Told Him?

My basement writers’ workshop is clearly the hottest ticket in Maine. But when our tech writer for outboard motor repair got a paying gig at the local Amazon warehouse, we needed a new member.

This tall guy who said he was King showed up for the interview. This poser hadn’t even combed his scruffy disheveled hair. That doesn’t display much respect. 

We reviewed his stuff but don’t think he’s that good. Our noir poet summed it all up. His stuff is all horror. Horror, horror, horror. You can do horror by just adding a couple of kitchen knives, a disturbed owner of a chain saw repair shop, or a batshit crazy travelling salesman. Check out my favorite horror novel “The Bridges of Madison County” if you want horror.

He tried to impress us with a bunch of signed novels. Good cover graphics but the stories are pretty routine. The one titled “Carrie” he must have ripped off from the movie of the same name. Same with “The Shining”. Same with “Misery” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” Next thing you know, he’ll say he wrote the Sound Of Music.

He was all smiley and jokey and told us he had been in some rock band with another bunch of writers (failed I’m sure) and that he was a highly regarded axman. That didn’t impress us.

He claimed he had sold 350 million books, and promised to buy a copy of anything we had written. Yeah right. Like we prolific word jockeys can be bought off by an offer to buy a single copy.

He told us he had a national Medal for the Arts. Bogus. Nobody in the writer’s group had ever heard of it. Why not just claim he had a No Bell Prize? Huh. We’d be more excited if he, like the rest of us, had published something on the Maine Rotten Turnip website.

To test his mettle, we asked him if he could explain, in 10 words or less, the concept of the humanist arc in the modern American novel, using Ernie Hemingway’s Moby Dick. He reacted with a scornful look, called us a gaggle of dicks, and walked out.

The day after the interview, I called to tell him the vote against him was unanimous. I counseled him about proper decorum in interviews, about getting to the point in his answers, and not spewing a pack of lies about writing famous books.

He didn’t beg us to reconsider and I don’t think there’s any chance of that. We already accepted my niece, a high school intern at the Orono library as the fifth member.

Your loss, Mister Stephen King.

John Hewitt is a former Army cook who now lives in fiery California. His latest novel is Freezer Burn, following the adventures of a not-yet-dead ferret.

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