sought the , and he found his way
written August 2004
My very favorite author is Stephen King. And my favorite books are his Dark Tower series. And my all-time favorite character is the main character from this series, Roland Deschain. (My first born son bears his name: Joshua Roland.)
When I open a book I am captivated. I enter a world not my own and I get to pretend it is. I fall in love, feel the hate, the sadness and the joy. I am in it.
My favorite author is Stephen King (as stated above). Whenever I mention his name or someone sees me with one of his books, and they've never read him, maybe only seen a movie, their opinion is the same. "Oh, scary. How can you sleep? He's a freak." Etc. Etc. And what I say to them is, "You've never read one of his books, have you? It's amazing what he can do." And of course only an avid reader of anything would be able to relate, even if they haven't read King. He is amazing. And when an author is amazing, you are wrapped up in every... single... word...
The first of his books I read was Carrie. And I read it when I was in fifth or sixth grade. And I've come to find out that it was his first published novel. I read it first because it was the first one I heard about from watching the movie. And since I'm 25 now, I can't remember all the details but it was good enough to start me on the rollercoaster of reading King books. And for that I am forever grateful.
My favorite of his books is The Dark Tower series. All of the books. When I first picked up The Gunslinger I put it right back down. I just didn't think I'd enjoy it. But after finishing Rose Madder and buying Bag of Bones, I picked up The Gunslinger again, and I started. And I had no idea what was to follow. Not only did I enjoy the book, I didn't want Roland to end.
And this isn't new to me. I've read a lot of books and most of the time I become very emotional about the characters. Not just with King characters. VC Andrews characters as well. And others, like Judith Guest's Ordinary People. But with Roland, it was more powerful. It wasn't romantic or anything. It was just awe. He was perfect without being perfect. He was a hero without being corny. He was a gunslinger, an excellent fighter, tracker, thinker, without being a hokey cowboy. You could be proud of him in a way you can't be proud of so many characters. It was like the pure pride one only has for their children. Perfect and clean. And when The Gunslinger ended I was extremely happy to find three more books waiting for me at the library to continue his story. (Written before Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower was published)
Because it was an excellent story. It is an excellent story. In fact it is the best story I've ever read. and I've read a lot of stories, from VC Andrews to Charles Dickens to William Shakespeare to Edgar Allan Poe. And Roland had to have a series of books to tell his story. Seven. Number five is on its way. With six and seven to follow. And then I'll have to say goodbye to any new tellings of his tales and make do with returning to the places he's been. (re-reading the series, again and again)
He had the intelligence. The skills. The quick hands matched with his quick thinking. He had the courage to stand up to men who have been fighting for longer than he'd been alive. And he has a trust in something he has never seen, yet he believes in it like he's seen it a million times. He is an angel without having wings. He is brave without needing medals. And he is pure and true without being innocent and childlike. He is Roland. And he is the character I can't bear to give up.
When I finished with the fourth book Wizard and Glass in March of 2002, I felt sadness. A sadness so deep that it shocked me. I didn't want to let him go. He was too much in me. He was mine. I needed to know his actions and if he was all right. Then I saw the only newsstand magazine I ever bought after picking up and leafing through. Entertainment Weekly headlined that Stephen King was retiring!!!
But what about Roland?!?! What about all the stories that his leaks into. What about all the stories he could tell? Please let it be false!
But I was saved. Roland's story would continue and it would be complete. Three more books awaited me in the quest for The Dark Tower. King promised to complete the series, then retire.
I could breathe again.
My love of reading, and my summer of change, introduced me to a love and escape that I'll never have to give up. It introduced me to great books. It introduced me to Roland Deschain of Gilead. A gunslinger. A hero. The perfect character I can never let go.