April 24, 2015 by Ray Yanek
A Friday Reads Blog:
Stephen King is easily the man most responsible for turning me into the reader I am today.
King pulled me back into the pages during those impressionable teen-age years. I remember reading The Stand way into the night, and I remember having to stop reading Salem’s Lot because, even though I had stayed home from school and it was the middle of the day, I was too freaked out to read anymore.
I loved it.
After a while though, I floated away from King. You never forget teen-age friends however, and it was with a lot of joy that I found myself teaching a Stephen King story out of an anthology to a 2nd semester college students a few years back.
That story was “All that You Love Will Be Carried Away” and it was originally published in The New Yorker--the grand-daddy of the “Literature” mags. I admit it was weird, but I felt great pride in the fact that my old friend from those high school years was finally getting some critical attention to accent his commercial success.
Then time came back and I took some time off from teaching that college course. I forgot about King being in The New Yorker until earlier this year when I was looking for some new stories to use in a creative writing course. I found “The Man in the Black Suit” which won King the O’Henry Award. That story (which by King’s own account was his homage to Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”, also a personal favorite of mine), was also published in The New Yorker.
Again, time rolled on and few months later, on a whim, I asked the librarian at the high school where I work to hold old copies of The New Yorker for me, thinking that I needed to be reading the fiction in there to help with my own.
Two weeks ago the fiction entry was a story called “A Death” and it was written by, yep, Stephen King.
All three of these stories are definitely worth reading. “A Death” is still available online, but you would have to purchase the other two which you can do from The New Yorker website for $1 each.
In “All that You Love Will Be Carried Away”, the protagonist is a travelling salesman who collects graffiti from bathroom stalls along the interstates he travels and saves them in a tiny notebook. Find the story here or in the collection titled Everything’s Eventual.
“The Man in the Black Suit” is set in the woods of Maine like so many of his other
“A Death” is the story of Jim Trusdale, a man accused of murdering a young girl in a small, South Dakota mining town. Find the story here.