Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

Regarding Secret Window

I just posted this on my weblog, but I figure I'll actually get more discussion out of it by posting it here.

All right. I've always liked Stephen King's short story collections better than his novels, for some reason. And I know I've read Four Past Midnight, because I read "The Sun Dog" first--the one about the Polaroid camera, right? With the dog that got closer in each picture? And I remember "The Library Policeman" pretty vividly because it freaked my shit out. Bad. And everyone knows "The Langoliers" because of that awful TV movie. But "Secret Window, Secret Garden"? I don't remember that story at all. At. All. I don't own the book--I borrowed it from my aunt--so I only read the book once, which may have something to do with it. But I even went and read the movie spoiler and I still don't remember it. Which is so weird.

But as I was writing this on my blog, I got sidetracked thinking about all the things in the King oeuvre that freak me out. And you know what? Generally speaking, it's not the gore. It's the completely weird bizarro shit that gets me. Like the thing in "The Library Policeman." That's up there with that really weird dream sequence in "Apt Pupil," which was one of my favorite King stories. The story that freaks me out the worst, though, is "It Grows on You," mostly because I have no idea what the hell that story is about. King keeps talking about this freaky couple that lives in this monstrous house--and you know, now that I've read some Lovecraft, I think there's something very Lovecraftian about that house, the way the angles seem wrong, and the alleged occupants of that house. And he talks about the normal people who live in the town. And he keeps skirting around--something. I don't know what. Most of his stories have such a sense of poetic justice that, even when he won't say exactly what happened, you're like, "Oh, the truck the guy killed his brother with totally came and drowned him in motor oil during the night decades later. No, I don't know how either. But that's totally what happened." So it's weird to just have one of the normal characters die in his sleep at the end of the story and that just be it. I keep thinking--he's trying to tell me something, he's trying to express something more profound than "What the fuck?," but I can't figure out what it is. And the weird thing is, he has stories in, say, Night Shift that are probably equally cryptic, like "Night Surf," but I feel like I "get" those.

Oh, and he wrote a story about a psycho milkman. Maybe two stories. I don't get the psycho milkman, either, or if there's anything to "get" at all.

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