So I read, “The Shining”…

I scare a little too easily to take much of a shine to the horror genre, but in the past months I’ve been experiencing a severe emotional shakeup that reaches back to the roots of my childhood. All the raw and repressed pain and anger I’m dredging up has been attacking me in my sleep, filling my dreams with rejection and abandonment.

You may think it strange that I chose a time such as this spend my leisure reading on things that go bump in the night, but I did it on purpose. I wanted to be frightened by something that I knew wasn’t real for a change. I wanted to be able to wake up from a nightmare, brush the perspiration for my brow and say, “well, good thing spiders can’t mate with pirañas. Even the mutant ones,” then roll over and return to slumber bliss.

It worked, with a slight misfire.


I started reading Stephen King’s The Shining on Saturday. I was feeling crappy, so it seemed a good day to spend reading and hiding from people in general. By bedtime, I was a long ways through. It was dark out. My bedside light was on. My husband was reading beside me while stealing glances at the MLS game on the television.

I’d love to tell you exactly what was happening in my mind during this particular chapter, the tension and discomfort I was experiencing vicariously through the poor five year old hero, but it contains spoilers (for those of you who’ve read it, I’ll say “shrubbery” with the high pitched sharp intonation of a knight who says “NI!” and say no more). I squirmed a little on the bed. I was developing that uncomfortable feeling I used to have as a child, like something could come up behind me if I didn’t sleep with my back to the wall. My back pressed firmly to the mattress, I continued to read.

Five pages later, I slowly lowered the book and said, “Hey babe?”

My husband looked at me. “Yeah?” he said.

“This book is scary.”

This didn’t seem to surprise him as much as it had me. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting it to be this intense. “Yeah?” he said again.

Assuming his apparent disinterest was only due to a lack of communication on my part, I expounded on the current situation with the words, “And I’m scared.”

He cracked a smile. “I’m sorry,” he said, with a sort of amused sympathy.

“What if…” I laid the open book on my chest and looked around the room. “What if we had to sleep with the lights on?” My eyes landed on the closet and I swallowed. “Could we do that?”

I looked back at him. He was just smiling at me. “If you like,” he said. He followed my gaze back to the closet. “Do you want me to open the door?”

“NO!” I checked myself, put my back safely against the mattress again and said, “No. Because I won’t be able to see the bit behind the wall there and…I’ll wonder. No. Better to leave it closed.” I looked back at the book. “And the light on.”

I kept reading, hoping that I would finally hit a spot where things leveled out so that I could repose with a little less fret. I gave up eventually, and spent the majority of the night willing my eyes to stay open in the event of…things. When I did finally sleep for a few hours early in the morning, I had two dreams related to the book. They were significantly less horrifying than any of their predecessors in the last few months. So basically, my plan worked. *gives herself pat on the back*

It was an excellent book by the way and I’m super glad I read it. If you’re not into horror as a genre, but you’re into writing fiction, I recommend getting a copy from your local library and just reading the (not very scary) part one. It was a perfect example of a flawless opening. The background information about the family, including flashbacks, were seamlessly worked in with the current action of the plot, so you never felt slogged down by an “information dump” like you find in the beginning of so many novels. Writing peeps should check that out if nothing else.

15 thoughts on “So I read, “The Shining”…

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  1. I’m glad you did because it is a cracking book, and yes, very scary. ‘IT’ by the self same man is another that instills fear and is well worth it. i’ve read a great deal of his work and ‘The Stand’ is one of my favourite books of all time. I may have already said this at some point in the past *laughs*. The best thing a writer can do is read, read, read!

    – esme of Cloud fame.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know the feeling. But for an antidote maybe you should take a look at the recent poem on my site, called just ‘Shining’. Based on my own experience it is about comfort and peace an the light that seems to flow from the very special people you meet once or twice in a lifetime.



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  3. I probably would’ve been a little different–when I was a kid, I had this thing where I had to sleep toward the wall incase someone came in and wanted to hurt me. I’d lay there sometimes and think someone was behind me pointing a finger… I just started reading King’s book, On Writing. I was never into the whole horror genre. I get scared way too easy. I love the way this book is little blimps of his life and how relates it to writing. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “On Writing” was the first book of his I read. Afterwards, I picked up “Carrie” out of curiosity. I’ve read several of his books since then, just because he’s such an amazing writer.


      1. I found “Carrie” less frightening but more violent. I read “The Green Mile” and that wasn’t really scary at all. That was just a story, not horror. And “Joyland” was more like a murder mystery and not horror.


      2. “The Green Mile” might be best after this Violence and murder mystery aren’t interesting to me right now, but I’m going to check em out after this. Thanks for telling me about the books ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

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