what’s in a name

I just saw a review of Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts in the paper. I think I’d go scour the bookstores for a copy of this. I haven’t read a good horror story in months.

The review said the collection “has been out of print until fairly recently”. Made me think it was one of those classics.

Then it turned out Joe Hill was born Joe Hill King. He is Stephen King’s son.

Holy shit.

I didn’t know that. An article from the New York Times mentioned that King dedicated his novel, The Shining, to “Joe Hill King, who shines on.” I’ve read that novel maybe two years ago. I think I even remember seeing that dedication page. Sweet. Now that little kid’s a published author.

The last time I’ve been this shocked was when I read an article by Dave Barry, talking about how his son was doing in college. You see, I have a copy of Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits, a compilation of his columns in the 80s, or thereabouts, so when I read that much recent article I actually went, “Ay! College na pala siya!”

Ang tita na lang ng comment. :) But it seemed like yesterday – well, come to think of it, literally yesterday – I was just reading about Dave Barry’s son landing a role in the school play, and now he’s all grown up and lecturing his father about physics!

Anyway. From the NYT article:

When [Joe Hill] was about 12, The Bangor Daily News accepted an essay he submitted. “I was completely pumped,” he told me. “I felt like I was on the verge of major celebrity, and my excitement about the piece lasted right up until the day it was published. When I read it in the newspaper, I realized for the first time that it was full of trite ideas and windy writing. At the end, they had added a little postscript that said, ‘Joseph King is the son of best-selling novelist Stephen King,’ and when I read that I knew that was the only reason they published the piece. You know, at that age the fear of humiliation is probably worse than the fear of death, and not long afterward I started to think I should just write under a different name.”

When I asked Hill what it was like growing up in the King household, he quoted an old Jay Leno joke, which went, he said, something like this: Stephen King asks his kids, “Hey kids, you want to hear a bedtime story?” And the kids scream, “Noooooo.”

“But it wasn’t like that,” Hill explained. “My dad is a great storyteller, and we loved to have stuff read to us. As a family, my mom and my dad would sit down and the book would go around the circle — we’d sit and read all together. It sounds very 19th century, but it’s true.


Hill writes in two traditions that he would argue are artificially walled off from each other: genre fiction, with its emphasis on breakneck, often outrageous, plot and metaphor; and literary realism, which values detailed characterization, psychological depth and subtle epiphanies.

I just love how the author defined the traditions. Sounded accurate. :)

Photo from Joe Hill’s official website.

13 thoughts on “what’s in a name”

  1. Oh my god, this book sounds mighty interesting. Pag nakabili ka, peram after?:) Peram ko sayo yung St.Lucy’s Home for girls raised by wolves. Modern day fairy tales. Me thinks you’ll like it.:)
    Yung officemate ko nagdodownload ng lahat ng movies ni Stephen King. excited na ko. Nabasa mo na ba yung The Running Man? so far yun yung fave ko na Stephen King book. But he was writing it as Richard Bachman. hmm.


  2. hihi, di ko nga sure kung makakabili na ako *looks at wallet* hardbound pa lang kasi yata ang available, hayst. :( wala pang kaperahan hehe. pero go, kapag nakabili na ako, pahiram ko sa’yo. :)

    parang ang kyot niyang “home for girls raised by wolves”. hahaha sabooog.

    maganda yung shawshank redemption ni koya stephen, saka yung thinner, saka yung green mile. (dame) although yung shawshank, realistic. walang supernatural chova. pero maganda, aylabsit. :)

    nabasa ko na Running Man, may nabili akong collection nung novels niya written under his pen name (bachman). BookSale lang ata. Ito yung may guy na sumali ng game show, right? tama ba? hehe. mas bet ko yung Long Walk. Sci-fi siya. Emosyonal, heartbreaking.

    (may ganun???)

    hehe <3

  3. Wait… Is Joe already past tense? Anyway, I’ve read lots and lots of S.King books too. You should try Hearts from Atlantis. I don’t think there’s a book that scares you and then breaks your heart like this one does. It had a Green Mile effect, except that there’s an air of innocence all around ‘hearts.’ For sheer horror, ‘Salem’s Lot will, I think, put curtains over all windows in your house. And make you just hold it in instead of walking to the comfort room at night. Leland Gaunt (?) of Needful Things remains one of my favorite characters. Christine, Pet Sematary, Shining, Thinner (which starts out really amazing, if you know what I mean) and It are musts. But but but, you have to try ‘Hearts.’ Really. It’s like S.King fished out his old high school diary, lifted several of the one-liners he jotted down during love-sick introspections and then wove them all into that novel.

  4. I agree. The tradition descriptions do sound accurate. Pasok sa banga yung ‘subtle epiphanies’ lalo na dito. Parang sa ngayon, kapag walang epiphany sa cnf/kwento mo, hindi siya magandang gawa. Sort of sad but meh, ganun eh.

    Haha labo.

    And yes ate, thanks for the blogroll inclusion :p I should go look for this book, my mum’s a big Stephen King fan. Pag may sakit ako, tinuturo nya yung ilong ko tas sinasabi niya in a creepy voice ‘fatterrrrr’ instead of ‘thinner’ (as in the book) haha.

  5. @Cois nope, buhay pa siya. :) well, i think. he was born 1972, so bata pa, hehe. (bakit nga ba past tense nilagay ko? hm. grabe na lang akong mag-assume, haha, will edits. :) )

    i haven’t read Hearts from Atlantis. nung pangit yung mga lumabas na reviews for the movie tinamad na akong bumili ng copy haha. pero sigi, nakikita ko yan lagi sa bookshelves e. :)

    i haven’t read ‘Salem’s Lot as well, but i was able to read a short story of his called Jerusalem’s Lot. parang prologue of sorts yata ng novel, not sure.

    i’ve read Pet Sematary and The Shining. And Misery! I really loved how that novel was written, especially the ending (darn movie messed it up). Thinner, yung movie lang. yung It parang ten years ko na gusto basahin pero di pa ako nakakabili/nakakahiram hihi.

    i like his short stories :) “Everything’s Eventual” and “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away” from Everything’s Eventual. :) Long Walk was a short novel he wrote as Richard Bachman – highly recommended as well.

    itong si koya stephen kasi, kung bet niya kaya namang maging literary. :)

  6. @Mary Hall: i’m pretty sure may ‘epiphanies’ lahat ng gawa mo te, ‘subtle’ nga lang. haha POTA. :)

    ang cute naman ni mommy mo! haha. i read stephen king, too. :) kaya puro horror ang sinusulat ko nung bata pa ko mwahahahaha


    PS naloka naman ako sa Mary Hall. nung nakita ko parang, ‘Sino toooooo?’ hehe :D

  7. nabasa ko so far from mr. king: it, thinner, yung bachman books, everything’s eventual (yung kwento dun na me tractor really frightened me, forgot the title), the green mile, on writing saka pet sematary. so far ang pinaka-freaky dun for me ay yung bachman books. nakikita ko yung salem’s lot pero takot ako sa bampira e, kaya medyo lumalayo muna ako dun. hehe. peram ng hearts from atlantis!:)

  8. @rainbowrama: hm, nabasa ko yung everything’s eventual pero di ko maalala yung tungkol sa tractor ahahaha. for his nonfic, i’ve read danse macabre. :D masaya siya hehe.

    wala pa akong hearts from atlantis ahahahha hahanap pa ako :D peram nung on writiiiiiiing. bet din ni conrado de quiros yun, to be fair hehe

  9. oo, the movie totally sucked. but the movie was just one part of the book kase, so di talaga na capture yung drama ng whole book, which is like four parts ata. watch out for the one-liners! may mga tipong “catch the pain” pa ang mokong, and crossing the street without looking back to say goodbye and first kisses in ferris wheels. basta. ewan. nagustuhan ko talaga sha. :)

  10. oh… btw.
    I read Jerusalem’s Lot too. If I’m not mistaken, it is a postscript. I think the events there happened after what transpired in the novel. Or, I could’ve gotten it all wrong, Tagal ko na rin nabasa kasi eh. Pero diba yun yung may guy saka isang bata? The movie was also one of the scariest I’d ever seen, given that I was seven when I watched it. I actually scoured Quiapo for a copy and then found one. Three-fourths of the movie can still give you the creeps. Toward the end, when the vampire was actually a presence instead of a possibility, nawala na yung nakakatakot na feeling. I always prefer horror movies with scary stories, not scary special effects.

    Now here’s a comforting thought: People born in 1972 and above are, in your words, “bata pa.” :D

  11. @Cois: true tagal ko na rin nabasa ang Jerusalem’s Lot. the short story was told in letters or something yata. tapos may parang slug-like creature (shet na-blender na ata sa utak ko lahat ng king stories ahahahahhaha)

    i bet na hindi nga maka-capture ang buong novel kasi kumusta naman magsulat si king di ba. ang haba kaya nung Hearts haha.

    eh eh saka bata pa naman yun ah. :D ano ba dapat haha saboooog.

  12. at least for the next two years qualified ako as bata pa. hahahahahahaha! ngayon ko lang, though, na realize na you meant bata pa para maging past tense. oh well, you celebrate the little victories you can take, however short-lived they are. hahahahaha.

    slug-like creature would be within the zip code of king’s style, right?

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