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Friday, November 11, 2011

11/22/63

I don't have a bucket list. But when a situation arises where I'd be foolish to not follow through on, I usually go for it. Well, a friend of mine got a pass for me to see Stephen King speak at the Majestic last night. And I went and it was everything I thought it would be.

Promoting his latest book, 11/22/63 -- a fantasy novel about a man traveling back in time with a hope to prevent JFK's assassination -- it was pretty amazing to see King speak on the same street that JFK was shot.

In only 45 minutes, he talked about plenty of stuff. Here are some of the highlights:

-Based on all his research (especially following this thought, "Follow the gun") he's convinced Oswald acted alone.

-The idea for the book came to him in 1971.

-Seeing video of fervent extremists from the sixties reminds him of Tea Party members of today.

-An interesting what-if: had Oswald's wife agreed to reconcile with him the night before, would he have not assassinated JFK?

-He admits to making a couple of errors in the book: the misspelling of Killeen (even though he looked it up, he and his copy editor missed it) and pronunciation of radio station KLIF (he thought it was called "kay-life").

-He didn't think the country was ready for Barry Goldwater and he doesn't think the country is ready for Rick Perry. Lots of cheers and applause on that one.

-In terms of the idea with traveling back in time, he ponders this about the 1999 accident that nearly took his life: if he left for his walk five minutes earlier or later, he could have been killed or he could have not been hurt at all.

-He still doesn't own a cell phone, but he owns an iPad and a Kindle.

-As for the topic of e-book versus p-books (p for paper), he sees the market going more and more towards e-book with every year. While I agree with him, I will continue to buy his books in hardcover for as long as they come out in that form.

-He briefly mentioned his son Joe (who goes by the pen name of Joe Hill) and people cheered.

-On acting, he mentioned his various roles, especially on Sons of Anarchy and Creepshow, and people cheered loudly.

-On collaborating with Michael Jackson's 40-minute video in the mid-'90s: he received a call from Michael while he was on the set of The Stand miniseries. They never met in person and King can't even remember the name of the song. (It's "Ghosts.")

Two years ago, I discovered a large bookcase of King hardcovers for sale at Half Price Books. One year ago, I started the Dark Tower series. Now I can say I was in the same room as King. I quip that I can strike that off an imaginary bucket list. But I have thought about seeing him in person if he ever came to town. Well, wish granted.

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