Here’s the second instalment in my series of inspiring stories, Walt Disney was first.
I’ve chosen another person who’s story will inspire you. Throughout these series I’ll be choosing inspiring people from all different areas and backgrounds just to show you that no matter where you come from and what you have been through, you can make it with the right attitude and determination.
He is one of my favourite without a doubt and he is a household name, even if you are not into reading, you would have heard his name.
Stephen Edwin King
Stephen King is an American author who is most known for his horror, supernatural, sci-fi, suspense and fantasy books and novels.
Many of his books has been adapted into films and TV series. His books sold over 350 million copies world wide.
Some of his most famous books were IT, Carrie, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist, Bag of bones.
The movie, The Shawshank Redemption was based on his novel and up until today it is considered one of the greatest films of all times.
But Stephen King wasn’t always famous either. Let me give you a little insight.
Early years and background
When Stephen King was just two years old, his father has walked out on them. The last thing the family heard from his father was that he was going to the shops for a packet of cigarettes and he never returned.
Despite his mother’s efforts, they were under a lot of financial strain, she had to work multiple low paid jobs which meant Stephen and his older brother Dave, didn’t see much of her.
They have moved around a lot when Stephen was young, his mother has ended up being primary caregiver to his grandparents until they have passed away and then she took a job as a caregiver for the mentally challenged in a residential home.
As a child, he saw his friend being hit and killed by a train to which he says he has no recollection of. This is what he said about it in an interview.
“According to Mom, I had gone off to play at a neighbor’s house—a house that was near a railroad line. About an hour after I left I came back (she said), as white as a ghost. I would not speak for the rest of the day; I would not tell her why I’d not waited to be picked up or phoned that I wanted to come home; I would not tell her why my chum’s mom hadn’t walked me back but had allowed me to come alone. It turned out that the kid I had been playing with had been run over by a freight train while playing on or crossing the tracks (years later, my mother told me they had picked up the pieces in a wicker basket). My mom never knew if I had been near him when it happened, if it had occurred before I even arrived, or if I had wandered away after it happened. Perhaps she had her own ideas on the subject. But as I’ve said, I have no memory of the incident at all; only of having been told about it some years after the fact.”
Once settled back in Maine, his hometown, young Stephen King has finished his studies and after leaving university he was a qualified high school teacher. He married his wife a year later, Tabitha, a fellow student and novelist.
He couldn’t immediately find the job in the filed so to keep his head above water he started to write short stories for men’s magazines while also working multiple part time jobs. Meantime he was working on his own books and carried own writing.
When he was writing the book Carrie, he didn’t like it and ended up throwing it in the bin. Luckily his wife found it in the trash, took it out and encouraged him to finish it because she saw potential.
Carrie was his first breakthrough and the payment received for it allowed him to quit his jobs and focus on writing full time.
In the 80’s, Stephen King battled an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Due to this he freely admits that he has very little memory of the book Cujo. His family and friends ended up staging an intervention after they have ransacked his bin and found cocaine, weed, empty cans and alcohol bottles, Xanax and other medicines. King turned his life around and has been clean since the 90’s.
At 1999, at his usual afternoon walk he was hit by a driver and ended up having to be air lifted to hospital in critical condition.
The driver was distracted by his dog who was on the loose in his car and as he reached down in the truck, he swerved and hit Stephen King head on. He spent months in hospital recovering, went through multiple operations but his health never fully got back to the way it was before the accident.
The same truck that hit Stephen was later purchased by him and he had the means of smashing it up and having it destroyed on a charity event.
To his frustration, because of the accident, he has lost a lot of strength and stamina which makes it hard for him to write in the manner he used to (publishing numerous books in a short period of time). He is now retired but he said he is still writing, just not as fast, and he is willing to publish more books when he finishes one.
My conclusion and the inspiration behind his story
Stephen King had a rough childhood and despite his mothers efforts, his upbringing wasn’t an easy ride. So far he had plenty of demons to fight through his life. An absent father, being around his ill grandparents as a child, caring for his mother until she died. Witnessing his friend die (which his brain blocked out). Being rejected by multiple publishers who didn’t like his style of writing. Having to work a few jobs at the same time just to make ends meet. When the pressure got too much, his drinking and drug use got out of hand and he became an addict which he managed to get under control and has been sober ever since. Just when life was on track he was struck by a driver and he was threatened to lose his independence, at one point the doctors wanted to amputate his legs.
I think it’s safe to say it’s not about life throws at you and if we can take one thing from his story, it’s how you deal with these events when they happen.
It’s about making mistakes but correcting them and looking into the future, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and obsessing over the past which would make us bitter.
It’s about not giving up and keep on pushing ourselves and keep on going because something great is ahead of us. Stephen King has a unique style of writing and he once said he would make himself write at least 2000 words a day. His dedication is admirable, he would write every single day except Christmas, the 4th of July and on his birthday.
Giving up was never an option for him and neither should it be an option for you. Always strive for more and try your best, safe in the knowledge that your hard work will pay off! 😉
Ready for another inspiring story? Eminem is next in my series.