Stephen King in my opinion is the greatest American writer in the history of literature. While most great American writers only have one great masterpiece like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Scarlet Letter to secure their legacy, King has many he will be remembered for like Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and Hearts in Atlantis. Few writers are able to create a literary series that lives on like J.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, but King too has captured that success in his The Dark Tower series. I could go on forever talking about King’s accomplishments and the truly scary thing is I haven’t even mentioned the milestones that he has written in his main genre, which is horror fiction.
As great as King is, the world wouldn’t even have known of him if it weren’t for his wife, Tabitha King. Many years ago before King became the phenomenon he now is, he was a struggling writer working hours on end at a laundry mat to support his family. At that time, King had graduated from the University of Maine with a masters degree in English but wasn’t able to sell anything notable. He was able to sell short stories to magazines like Cavalier and Playboy but any writer can tell you that selling short stories is not a very good fortune making strategy.
He worked for hours on end at the laundry mat trying to keep food on the table for his wife, their current child, and the one they had on the way. On the few free hours he had at home he would tirelessly work on his first novel. When he finished the novel, he read it and was so revolted by it that he threw it into the trash. Tabitha pulled the manuscript out of the trash and read it. She thought it was pretty good so she submitted to publishers behind King’s back. Eventually she found a publisher who would purchase it and the rest, as they say, is history.
That novel was Carrie.
As a writer I feel very fortunate to have my own version of Tabitha King in my life. Sometimes the craft and business of writing can be very tough on the artist, and we need a helping hand to guide us back to that light at the end of the tunnel. I am glad and blessed to have found that woman who will believe in me even when I don’t believe in myself.
There were times last year where I became very frustrated with my decision to work in the entertainment industry. The phone wasn’t ringing and the unpaid bills were stacking up. I felt absolutely defeated and didn’t know what to do. She stood by my side and ensured me that all would be well if I kept strong and never gave up. She was absolutely right.
Right when I felt like giving up on my dream, I began talking to producer Ahmad Zahra of Zahra Pictures about the possibilities of him reading my work. He seemed very interested since we met through mutual friends and immediately clicked. We shared a very enthusiastic love for horror films and after a few meetings he decided to pick up one of my horror screenplays for development.
Most recently I was reevaluating my career and decided I needed a new agent. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to get the work I have gotten on networking alone, but now I need an agent to push me to the next level. My biggest problem was that time was a huge issue since I was too busy commuting between Pasadena and Fullerton to actually sit down and query agents.
Being the wonderful woman my girlfriend is, she asked me to write a query letter and give her a list of agencies. I gave her both documents and she queried every agency on the list for me.
If I do find a new agent who makes my screenwriting career takes off, I owe it all to her. She stood by my side and got me through the hardest times in my life. She picked up the ball whenever I dropped it and played as hard as she could. She did all of this for me and never asked for anything in return.
Without Tabitha, the world would probably never have heard of Stephen King, and without Jeanette, the world would probably never hear of Victor Phan. I’m pretty sure I can humbly speak for both of King and I when I say that we’re eternally grateful. I once heard a saying that said, “behind every great man is an even greater woman.”
Torture Chamber Productions
July 5, 2010