Friday, April 20, 2007

Stephen King Weighs In

Every time there's a school shooting and the gunman is a writer, I always spend a lot of time thinking about what (if anything) teachers and other students could really do in advance of such a tragedy occurring.

I was a creative writing minor in college, and we had workshop classes where we had to turn in two stories a semester, and every week we would analyze one student's piece of writing. My personal writing style has never included a great deal of violence (I tend to suffer from "navel-gazing, depressive protaganist" syndrome) but violence--and we're talking the gory, disturbing stuff--is something that many other students explore in their writing. And, I don't know. I guess when someone wrote something terrible and scary, I would occasionally wonder what they were like outside of class, or what issues they might be working through... probably much the same way they wondered if I went home to drink booze, watch The Golden Girls and feel sorry for myself.

And I think about the writers that I read--Stephen King, and really any other horror, mystery or true crime writer. These guys have written some of the most disturbing stuff on the planet; for instance, I recently actually gagged when I was reading James Ellroy's memoir because I was so disturbed by a scene he described imagining as a child. But, as far as anyone else knows, these guys have, for the most part, been fine, upstanding citizens.

So it was with great interest that I read Stephen King's thoughts on the topic in Entertainment Weekly. I don't know that it puts us anywhere closer to a definitive solution on the matter, or what actions should or could be taken, but I think he makes some interesting points.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Every time I think about the Virginia Tech incident, and in particular, the gunman, I think about Tobey Maguire's character in Wonder Boys. He didn't possess the same homicidal tendencies as the Va. Tech gunman, but he was an English/Creative Writing major, his classmates hated his writings, and he carried a gun around, which he used to shoot the English department head's dog. And he was a loner, except for the fact that he was pretty good friends with Katie Holmes and the drug-addled Michael Douglas showed faith in him.

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