Last Saturday, June 11th, my step-daughter and I travelled to Nashville, TN to see Stephen King at the home of he original Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman.
When I learned months ago that this most prominent writer would be within driving distance, I set out to secure tickets as soon as they were available. They went on sale weeks before, and within 90 minutes they were sold out. I had lost all hope as it seemed I wouldn’t get access on the Internet to secure seats, but a writer friend of mine, Di Brown, sent me a private message and suggested I call the Ryman directly.
It was worth a shot. I called and got two tickets, seated apart, with an “obstructed” view.
But dammit, I had them!
My goal was to get Kim in that building no matter what. King is her favorite author, and I wanted to do this special thing for her. She needed a break from her kids and husband, from being a stay-at-home mom, just to focus on something other than another person’s needs.
The whole trip was exceptional. I was pleasantly surprised how much I was getting out of it.
Kim and I spent our first girl’s day out together in the over three years I have known her. We had a blast. We ate at Cracker Barrel on the way, listened to music, and talked.
The heat was crazy, so we slipped into a bar where a live band was performing…none other than country music. We tossed back a couple of drinks and tapped our toes to the beat.
We did the requisite shopping and got some gifts for our husbands and the boys, matching Elvis shades, and contemplated tattoos. But we didn’t have time for the latter. Stephen King was almost ready!
As we parted to go to our separate seats, we kissed each other on the cheek and we waited as he was announced by the events coordinator and introduced by author Donna Tartt.
I don’t know what I expected, maybe nothing, but for the next 80 minutes Mr. King regaled us with stories about his writing and had the audience in stitches. Who knew? The master of “scary” is hilarious!
A couple of things he said stayed with me:
1. Writing a novel is like taking a row boat across the Atlantic Ocean. It’s tough work.
2. The only time I didn’t write every day was after my car accident and I spent a couple of months in the hospital. After that, I started back writing 30 minutes a day and worked my way back up to about four hours a day.
And this one filled my soul down to the marrow:
3. I guess I knew when I wanted to write when I found some old books that belonged to my father in the attic when I was about 9-years-old. One day there is an awakening and you realize, this is what I’m supposed to do. So you must do it.
One final thing will always stay with me, and it was the look on Kim’s face when we walked out of there with his new book, End Of Watch, in our hands. She told two strangers who chatted with us on the way out, “Hey, this is my step-mom and she’s a published author and has her own column!”