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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Intense newsletter



 When I was a freshman in high school, I hadn’t read much at all. I was more into angry music, vampire movies and burning copious amounts of incense. My Mother out of the blue one day, came to me with a neon orange and yellow zig zagged design paperback book. “Intensity” by Dean Koontz. There had been commercials on television for it, yeah really, commercials on television for a book. I figured it was a new bland book for divorced women, so it stirred no interest in me. She pressed the topic, “Just give it a try!” It lay buried in my room for several weeks, One day, I don’t know why, I did pick it up and began to read.
 The next 3 days, I spent any free time I had with my nose shoved in that book. Maneuvering through crowds, hiding it inside my health school book, so I could read in class.
 Telling my friends to shut up about Trent Reznor and his emotional problems, I was reading goddammit! I was all over my next Koontz book, then another then another. Other authors soon followed.  But I remained a full-fledged Koontz freak.  One day, I got the gumption to write Mr.Koontz a fan letter. I realized he was probably the biggest author in California at the time. And assumed thousands of letters poured in for him daily, from people asking for a lock of his hair and what not. I decided mine would be short and simple, and to the point without gushing. I wrote as elegantly as I could manage, letting Mr. Kootnz know that he was a big influence on me, and I wanted to be a writer. Also that I did not expect a reply, or anything autographed. That I just wanted to let him know that he made a difference in my life and I wanted to thank him.
P.S.” I also wrote “I will ask that you do not send me some automated response, or anything with your named stamped on it. That would add tackiness to what I intend to be a sincere letter of regard.”
Or something to that effect.  About 2 months later, I’m at a friend’s house and my Mother calls my cell phone. In the post a letter came for me from…..Dean Koontz!! Damn the torpedoes! I ditched my friends and hauled ass home. 
                                                   I’ve got a golden ticket……
I got home and Mom and I were all giddy as I opened the letter. Wouldn’t cha know it? Our enthusiasm changed to disappointment. It was an automated letter signed by some yahoo, and a name stamp of Dean Koontz. Thanking me for signing up for a Dean Koontz newsletter.  
                              Oh joy of joys, be still my beating heart.

I wasn’t crushed or anything so dramatic. I realized Koontz is a very popular author, and probably hires people to sift through fan letters for him. It’s just my letter had been of such a personal nature. I pictured giant and bulging dirty sacks containing clean white envelopes being dragged into a room and shoveled into a fire somewhere deep under the Earth. By greasy tired men, in wife beater tank tops. Paying no never mind to what they were feeding the fire, being such miserable harbingers of working class woe.
                                                Aww man, …weak…….lame….

 I was a tough kid and chalked it up to experience. A month or so later, I began receiving my monthly newsletter from the Dean Koontz fan club or whatever. I read it, figured what the hell? Soon, the newsletter’s began to get a little…..strange. Mr.Koontz is an avid dog lover, and has himself golden retrievers that he dotes upon.  Well apparently, his most beloved retriever Trixie died. Leaving a great big hole in his heart. A hole he decided to fill up with crazy! 

 Each new newsletter, came with a piece written by Trixie. Or rather, Trixie’s ghost…yeah… “I Trixie, who is dog…”  it would say, because apparently dogs have their own sort of LOL speak just like cats.  Eventually Trixie published her own Book “Life is Good” edited by Dean Koontz. Eventually I stopped reading the newsletter. Getting my copy of dead dog monthly was getting old.   What’s next?
   I tried to unsubscribing, but kept receiving the newsletter regardless.  There is no escape.  After moving 3 times, eventually Trixie’s ghost lost track of me and I no longer receive the newsletter.
  So today if someone asked me, who my favorite writer is. I would probably say Stephen King.  Not out of any bad feelings for Koontz. I still dig him.  Just King’s work appeals to my more adult brain, while Koontz books appeal to my teenager brain. And Clive Barker’s books appeal to the disembodied ghost brain I will one day become. In the mean time I will read anything.
  So who is the author I love so much I would kidnap him, hold him hostage in my cabin in the woods, and break his ankles with a sledge hammer? Stephen King,…but I’d make Koontz watch!


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