Stephen King, Barbarian

From yesterday’s New York Times Book Review:

At the National Book Foundation ceremony, the bard of Bangor made sure his audience knew he stood outside the tribe: “The only person who understands how much this award means to me is my wife, Tabitha,” he said in his acceptance speech. “She also understands why I was in those early days so often bitterly angry at writers who were considered ‘literary.’ I knew I didn’t have quite enough talent or polish to be one of them, so there was an element of jealousy, but I was also infuriated by how these writers always seemed to have the inside track in my view at that time. Even a note in the acknowledgments page of a novel thanking this or that foundation for its generous assistance was enough to set me off.”

This year, King was granted the privilege of a Paris Review interview. On the ticklish subject of his literary worth, he said, “I’m shy talking about this, because I’m afraid people will laugh and say, Look at that barbarian trying to pretend he belongs in the palace.”

How I wish I could say I can’t relate at all. But I can. Betty sent me the link precisely because she listens to me grind my teeth about stuff like this. It’s nice to know that despite having made the kind of money he has from his writing that this kind of literary snobbery still gets to him. In some ways, it makes me feel better, and in another, worse.