I know. Many of you aren’t horror fans. Many of you may not be (gasp!) Stephen King fans. The majority probably despise clowns. But I saw the movie IT this weekend and I began thinking about the story on a bigger scale.
First off, go read Chuck Wendig’s fabulous blog on IT and his take here:
Many of his thoughts echo mine. So, not to repeat his stuff, I wanted to go deeper and wriggle into the actual writing of the story and what fascinates me so much.
Number one: the kids. King is well known to draft stories revolving around children, which also reminds me of the fabulous Netflix series, Stranger Things, I watched with my own boys. There is power in being a kid we forget about as we age. Sometimes, I think there is this magic pixie dust that hits us in the face at 30, or 40, and makes us forget all the important stuff of being young and excited about the world.
I’ve become less brave. I hate that about myself, and because I recognize, it, I force myself to do things I don’t want to do. Kids may be scared of the monster under the bed, but they’re fierce in the daytime world. They want to solve puzzles, and question why things are and how adults think. They relish time and squeeze out every moment. They challenge the status quo and the societal expectations and run really fast and get hurt and PUSH. They see things adults can’t see because we have lost our true vision. There are no monsters under the bed for us. Our monsters are the mortgage bills, and getting to work on time, and the oil change for the car, and cleaning the house and surviving life. We traded in dreams for adult problems. If there’s a paved road in front and a wooded one to the side, we have learned by experience to just trudge down the paved road because it’s easier and shorter.
We couldn’t see Pennywise or the blood in the bathroom or the red balloon because we don’t think it’s real. But it is. It’s a huge, real problem taking children from the neighborhoods, so the kids have to solve the problem because at least THEY SEE IT.
The second power of the movie is friendship.
At first, the small core of friends expands by accepting others who are being bullied by the same boys. But eventually, they all bond and recognize each of them have problems at home. One lost a sibling. One is abused by her father. One is trapped in life he despises and is told he can’t have more. One is tricked into believing he is sick. One is overweight and new in town.
What’s so beautiful watching kids deal with others is the simplicity of acceptance. They are there for each other, but they also realize there is not much they can do. They are only kids. They are trapped under the rule of adults, so together, they get to make different rules. They earn the respect of one another. They don’t whine about their lot in life, or waste time on things they can’t change. They take action on the things they can—even if they are scared. And they are more powerful together.
They fight. They separate for a while. But when the shit hits the fan, they are there for each other. That’s how life in the adult world should be. Less blame and whining and complaining that things can’t change. More powerful group dynamics and bravery and acceptance.
Less Facebook and social media.
More creativity and real dialogue and real experiences – not just an update on your status.
So, watching the movie come to life helped bring some of these elements of the world into view. I didn’t see these when I read the book because I was 14. Now, rereading it and watching the movie, I see things differently. I sigh and ponder that fourteen-year-old who was adored her dog-eared paperback and shivered in delight at the classic tale of good versus evil.
I still love the thrill of a good scare. Maybe because it reminds me of when I was younger and braver. It reminds me of climbing to the top branch of a tree just to prove I could do it, and reading in bed with a flashlight under my covers, and picking raspberries in the woods and eating them even though they weren’t washed and there were scary bugs and pricker bushes and ticks.
What memories do you cherish from your childhood?