Stephen King talks to Terry Gross about whether his writing changed after being hit by a car and getting addicted to Oxycontin, a habit which he has since kicked:
When I said that I wasn’t going to write or when I was going to retire, I was doing a lot of Oxycontin for pain and I was still having a lot of pain and it’s a depressive drug anyway and I was kind of a depressed human being because the therapy was painful. The recovery was slow and the whole thing just seemed like too much work, and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll concentrate on getting better and I probably won’t want to write anymore,’ but as health and vitality came back, the urge to write came back. But here’s the thing: I’m on the inside and I’m not the best person to ask if my writing changed after that accident. I don’t really know the answer to that. I do know that … was close, that was really being close to stepping out. The accident and, a couple years later I had double pneumonia and that was close to stepping out of this life as well, and I think you have a couple of close brushes with death like that, it probably has [effect]. Somebody said, ‘The prospect of imminent death has a wonderful clarifying effect on the mind,’ and I don’t know if that’s true, but I do think it cause some changes, some evolution in the way a person works, but on a day-by-day basis I just still enjoy doing what I’m doing.
“I did a couple of writing seminars in Canada last year with high school kids. These were the bright kids, they all have computers, but they can’t spell. Because spell-check won’t [help] you if you don’t know through from threw. I told them, ‘If you can read in the 21st century, you own the world.’ Because you learn to write from reading. But there are so many other byways for the consciousness to go down now; it makes me uneasy.”