Once or twice while reading, I have stumbled across a voice that reaches out to me with a soul-seizing grip. A voice that immediately resonates deeply across the psyche, and upon further exploration of that speaker's works becomes profoundly nourishing. In a roundabout way, I guess I'm saying that there are writers whose words speak to the soul and feed it.
For me, there are two of these writers. One is a man I consider my spiritual big brother: Neil Gaiman. When I read The Wolves in the Walls, I knew I had found someone who spoke my language, and when I read Coraline, I knew I'd found a hero. I felt as if he had gone into the same realm that I inhabited and come back with a bit of a map. Not a complete map in any way, but certainly a fragment of one of the mysterious land's shores.
The other man is the father of my Writing Self, Stephen King. Now, I loved Stephen King as a young reader, but I didn't realize that he would be my spiritual guide until I read On Writing, a book that just about made me cry with joy. It gave my inner writer CPR after I'd nearly drowned it in angst and literary fiction. You see, I'll never be a writer of literary fiction, but On Writing made me proud that I heard the call of spec fiction. And yes, it made me proud to be me.
Tonight, I'm raising my glass to Stephen King. He saved me. He inspired me, and every time I just about give up on my latest project, I pull out some of his wisdom and feel a whole lot better. Thanks, Steve!