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To Stephen King (2004-10-19 - 6:20 p.m.)

Dear Stephen King:
I have finished the journey with you. A journey that I began probably quite a few years after you began it. I started reading your books while I was in college in the late 70's. If my memory serves me well, the first one that I read was The Shining. I immediately followed that with The Stand. Then I digressed to Salem's Lot. Those remain three of my favorites of all of the tomes with which you have blessed us.
From that point on, I am pretty sure that I have read every work of fiction that you have had published. Oh, I know, I'm not alone. Nothing special about that. I'm sure there are millions who have done the same.
Then came that Dark Tower thing. At first, it was just another story. but it grew. It grew into something with a life of its own.
I, along with countless others, grew to love Roland Deschain of Gilead. I became very attached to his ka-tet of Eddie of New York, Susannah/Odetta/Detta, Jake and, of course, Oy.
It was all I could do to wait for that infernal fourth book (was that Wizards and Glass?) to find out how this group was going to thwart Blaine the Monorail. That was cruel, Mr. King! Cruel!
As this epic tale grew, I, along with a friend at work, began to notice things. We began to notice how references to things of the Dark Tower began to "pop up" in other tales, such as Black House, Hearts in Atlantis, etc. It became obvious that The Dark Tower was your life's work.
I devoured Wolves of the Calla, reading with great interest of Susannah's possession by Mia and their little forays off into unknown places to feed the "chap" that had been forced into her/them.
I confess with not a small amount of pride that I figured out long before that the wolves were actually robots.
I must confess that I almost didn't want to read the final book. Partially because I really felt that way too many of our friends were going to die. Partially because it would be the last book by Stephen King. Mostly that reason.
I made a terrible mistake when I got my copy of number 7. I looked at the pictures. Well, some of them, anyway. Until I found the picture that appeared to be Roland carrying what appeared to be a dead Jake into the woods. Aaargh!! I quit looking at pictures.
I wept when Eddie Dean died. I wept even more when Jake died. I even wept when Oy died. Just from seeing the cover picture, it looked as though Roland of Gilead would be the only one at the Tower. And so it was (with the one exception of the young Patrick Danville, whom we met so long ago in Insomnia).
But you know when I wept the hardest? When Susannah arrived in Central Park to find Eddie and his brother Jake waiting for her, even though, in this world, they didn't know her. Yet, somehow, they knew that she would be coming.
Since I'm a sucker for punishment, I didn't stop there. I read your second ending, in spite of your warnings against doing so. Not so much because I'm one of those who thinks that the end is more important than the journey preceding it. Nay, nay. Mostly because there were still pages with words on them. I'm funny that way.
I suppose the final ending was fitting. It surprised me a bit, but how fitting, indeed that the final sentence was the first sentence. What a clever man you are! And I suppose that your life has made a full circle. How appropriate for you to finish your life's work in such a way. And somehow, I get the impression that you do, indeed, "say thankya to God." Perhaps frequently. I hope so, anyway. That's something I do daily.
But right now, I say thankya to Stephen King, do ye ken it? Thankya for a lifetime of entertainment. I don't care what anybody says, your books have made my life a little fuller. They've certainly made my house a lot fuller. That was a joke. What do I do now? One thing I will do is go back and read many of those titles that are printed in bold print in the front of the final volume of The Dark Tower. For example, I don't remember enough of Eye of the Dragon to know how it fits with Dark Tower.
Well, I've gone on too long, and you will probably never even read this, because only about 7 people read my diary entries.
But who knows? Maybe, just maybe, one day in a fit of vanity, you will "google" your own name, and this entry will magically appear.
Thank you, Mr. King. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
And may God richly bless the rest of your life.


Jeff Bickley
Fort Worth, Texas

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