Dreams = Books = Movies – WIF Entertainment

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Books and Movies

Inspired by Dreams

Dreams are a combination of pictures and stories that develop in our minds while we sleep. Dreams can be about literally anything from something funny, to romantic, or even terrifying. While 95% of dreams are not usually remembered, it is believed that people dream anywhere from three to six times per night with each one lasting between five and twenty minutes.

While most dreams are never remembered, some people do recall specific details about them. And on a few rare occasions, people have been inspired by what they dreamed of. As a matter of fact, some great creations were developed from actual dreams. For example, the melody for the Beatles’ song “Yesterday“ was inspired by a dream. Paul McCartney woke up one morning with a tune stuck in his head that he didn’t recognize, so he composed the chords for it on the piano and it became the music for one of their most famous songs.

Another example is that of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry. It has been said that many of his poems and short stories were inspired by the many nightmares he suffered from throughout his life.

There are also several famous books and movies that were inspired by actual dreams, 10 of which we’ll detail below…

10. E.B. White’s Stuart Little

The beloved children’s story of a mouse named Stuart Little was inspired by a dream that E.B. White had in the 1920s. The anything-but-ordinary mouse was born into a family of humans in New York City and lived with his parents, his older brother George, and a cat named Snowbell. While White had the dream in the ’20s, it was only put into a novel in 1945.

While he was sleeping on a train, White dreamt of a little boy who looked and acted a lot like a mouse. He wrote a few episodes about the boy/mouse and put them away with the intent of sharing the stories one day with his nieces and nephews. But around twenty years later his story became a best-seller and even inspired the 1999 hit movie Stuart Little, which starred Michael J. Fox as the voice of the mouse.

9. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

In the mid-1970s, William Styron was struggling to come up with ideas to write another book. That’s when he experienced a dream that would inspire him to write Sophie’s Choice. He described the dream as “a merging from the dream to a conscious vision and a memory of this girl named Sophie. And it was powerful because I lay there in bed with the abrupt knowledge that I was going to deal with this work of fiction.” His vision of Sophie was that of her “entering the hallway of this humble boarding house in Flatbush with a book under her arm, looking very beautiful in the middle of summer with a soft of summer dress on and her arm bared and the tattoo visible.”

He felt like he had to write the Holocaust-themed story and in 1982 an acclaimed movie was made starring Meryl Streep as Sophie.

8. Christopher Nolan’s Inception

The 2010 psychological thriller Inception, a movie that is itself about dreams, was inspired by actual dreams. Director Christopher Nolan took the idea from his own lucid dreams for his seventh feature film. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a talented thief who is very skilled at stealing secrets from people while they are dreaming. This new job, however, requires him to plant an idea inside the mind of a man instead of stealing it.

Nolan claims that Inception was an elusive dream. He said “I wanted to do this for a very long time; it’s something I’ve thought about off and on since I was about 16.” He also mentioned that ever since he was a kid, he was fascinated by how he would wake up and then fall back into a lighter sleep but still know that he was dreaming, and even manage to examine the location of his dreams.

7. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novel written in the 1800s by Robert Louis Stevenson (pictured above) and is about a man who has a split personality – the good Dr. Jekyll, and the terrible Mr. Hyde.

It is said that Stevenson was fascinated with split personality disorder but was unable to figure out how to put it into writing. However, one night he dreamt about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: “In the small hours of one morning… I was awakened by cries of horror from Louis,” his wife Fanny explained. “Thinking he had a nightmare, I awakened him. He said angrily ‘Why did you wake me? I was dreaming a fine bogey tale.’”

Stevenson was apparently sick with tuberculosis and under doctor’s order to rest when he wrote the novel. He produced the first draft of 30,000 words in between three to six days, followed by a second rewritten copy in just three more days. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sold 40,000 copies in just six months, followed by over 250,000 copies in North America. His novel has also inspired several movies over the years.

6. Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher

In 1999, Stephen King was hit by a minivan when he was walking down a road in Maine. During the time that he was recovering from a shattered leg and a collapsed lung, he started to have vivid dreams, which inspired him to write his horror novel Dreamcatcher.

The novel is about four friends who reunite in the woods each year for their annual hunting trip. But one year a stranger ends up at their camp, all confused and muttering about lights in the sky. The friends are then faced with a terrifying creature from another world and need to figure out how to survive.

He was quoted telling the San Francisco Chronicle, “The first really strong idea that occurred to me after the accident was four guys in a cabin in the woods. Then you introduce this one guy who staggers into the camp saying, ‘I don’t feel well,’ and he brings this awful hitchhiker with him. I dreamed a lot about that cabin and those guys in it.”

The novel was turned into a movie in 2003, which featured a who’s who of both on and off-camera talent, including Morgan Freeman and Lawrence Kasdan.

5. Stephen King’s Misery

Not surprisingly, Stephen King came up with the idea for his horror novel Misery from a nightmare. It is about a famous author who is rescued from a car crash by his number one fan. However, he soon realizes that the crazy fan has other ideas in store for him that include abuse and captivity.

King was quoted saying “Like the ideas for some of my other novels, that came to me in a dream. In fact, it happened when I was on Concord, flying over here, to Brown’s (hotel in England). I fell asleep on the plane and dreamt about a woman who held a writer prisoner and killed him, skinned him, fed the remains to her pig and bound his novel in human skin. I said to myself, ‘I have to write this story.’” And that’s exactly what he did. He wrote the first forty or fifty pages on the landing between the ground level and first floor of the hotel.

While his book was published in 1987, the movie Misery was released in 1990, starring James Caan and Kathy Bates.

4. Jason Mott’s The Returned

The Returned is a novel written by Jason Mott about an elderly couple who have a government agent show up at their home with their son. The only thing is, their son drowned fifty years ago on his eighth birthday. The boy looks and acts the same, but there’s no possible way that it could be their deceased son. Or could it?

In an interview with CNN, Mott described how the idea for the book came to him in a dream about his deceased mother. “In the summer of 2010, I had this dream that I came home from work one day and found my mother sitting at the kitchen table waiting for me.” He went on to say, “I came in and sat down with her, and we just talked about everything that had happened since her death.” He explained, “It was one of these really vivid dreams where you wake up and question whether it was real or not.”

He wrote a short story about a couple whose son returns from the dead and received a great response to it, so he continued writing it and a year later he had finished his manuscript which turned out to be a best-seller. It was later turned into a television series.

3. James Cameron’s Terminator

The 1984 hit movie The Terminator starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a futuristic cyborg sent back in time to assassinate a woman whose unborn son will lead humans in a war against machines.

Director/writer James Cameron was staying at a hotel in Rome while working on Piranha II: The Spawning when a horrible flu and high fever hit him, causing him to have nightmares. In fact, he dreamt of a chrome torso appearing from an explosion and dragging itself with kitchen knives across the floor right at him.

He recalled when he came up with the idea for Terminator, “I was sick at the time. I had a high fever. I was just lying on the bed thinking and came up with all this bizarre imagery… I think also had the idea that because I was in a foreign city by myself and I felt very dissociated from humanity in general, it was very easy to project myself into these two characters from the future who were out of sync, out of time, out of place.”

2. Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight

Twilight is the story of a modern day love triangle between a vampire, a werewolf, and a human. The idea for the book came to author Stephenie Meyer in a dream. She explained her dream by saying “It was two people in kind of a little circular meadow with a really bright sunlight, and one of them was a beautiful, sparkly boy and one was just a girl who was human and normal, and they were having this conversation. The boy was a vampire, which is so bizarre that I’d be dreaming about vampires, and he was trying to explain to her how much he cared about her and yet at the same time how much he wanted to kill her.”

Prior to being a best-selling author, Meyer was a stay-at-home mother who was an avid reader but was never a writer. At first, she documented the dream so that she would remember it with no expectation of making it into a novel. But after nine rejections, her dream became a reality and her story is now known throughout the world by her Twilight books and movies.

1. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

In 1816, Mary Godwin and her fiancé, Percy Shelley, visited Lord Byron’s residence in Switzerland. During stormy nights, Lord Byron, who was a poet, would get his guests to read ghost stories to each other. One night, he asked his guests to write down their own horror stories.

After the request, this is what Mary claimed happened to her: “When I place my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think… I saw – with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some power engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion.” She described in great detail the dream that frightened her that night – the dream that inspired her famous novel, Frankenstein.

Dreams = Books = Movies

WIF Entertainment

Steven King – The World According To

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Read with me

Read with me

Stephen King Novels

– People, Place & Things

The bestselling horror author of all time, Stephen King, is known for his prolific output of work. As of summer 2015, he has published 54 novels and over 200 short stories. While King himself says that many of his books are like “a Big Mac”, he actually has a rich and complex universe that connects many, if not all of his stories. These are some of the most interesting and intriguing ties between Stephen King’s stories.

10. The Towns


One thing that connects most of Stephen King’s books and short stories is that they take place in fictional towns in Maine. There are three main towns that King uses – Derry, Castle Rock and Jerusalem’s Lot. Derry is the setting for It, Insomnia, Bag of Bones, Dreamcatcher and Fair Extension. Castle Rock is the setting for a number of short stories and novels like The Dead Zone, Cujo, Needful Things and part of The Dark Half. Jerusalem’s Lot is the setting for ‘Salem’s Lot, plus two short stories. Besides the main towns, there is also Chamberlain, which was the setting for Carrie; Ludlow was the setting for Pet Sematary, Tommyknockers and some of The Dark Half.Dolores Claiborne and Storm of the Century are set in Little Tall Island, and finally, Chester’s Mill is the city that is Under the Dome. This fictional Maine runs parallel to our own. For example, King said that Derry is his version of Bangor, Maine.

While having a common setting isn’t all that mind-blowing, it’s astonishing how many times these cities are referenced throughout the works. There are books that do not take place in any of these towns, but reference them or the characters have a backstory involved with the fictional Maine towns.

9. 11/22/63


One of King’s most critically acclaimed novels that he’s published recently is 11/22/63. The story follows Jacob “Jake” Epping, who can time travel and decides to stop the Kennedy assassination, which happened on November 22, 1963 (hence the title). The book, which isn’t set in any of the familiar King towns, does have a number of connections to Derry. For example, he comes across two characters from Derry – Richie Tozier and Bev Marsh, both are characters that battled Pennywise in It. In 11/22/63, Richie and Bev talk about clowns, the Barren (both references to It) and a turtle. The turtle is Maturin, which is one of the 12 guardians of the six beams of the Dark Tower and is an incredibly important figure in King’s universe, which will be discussed in a later entry.  T

his is just a small Easter egg that shows how Kings characters can be appear at any given time.

8. Hearts in Atlantis


Hearts in Atlantis is a rather strange book in King’s canon. Published in 1999, it is two novellas and three short stories. The stories have a sci-fi and horror feel to them, but they are not outright genre stories. So while it’s nowhere near King’s most popular book, it has a few interesting connections that show how expansive King’s universe is.

For example, in the first story in the collection, there are some mysterious men who are stalking the character Ted Brautigan. Brautigan refers to them as “low men.” These low men have an interesting position in the King universe, mostly because they serve The Crimson King, who is an important figure in The Dark Tower series. Ted knows about the low men because he is a psychic known as a “Breaker.” Prior to Hearts in Atlantis, Ted was imprisoned and forced to help break the beams that hold up the Dark Tower, but he was liberated.

These low men also appear in King’s 1996 novel Desperation and one of the low men may have owned the car from the 2002 novel From a Buick 8.

7. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption


Stephen King is obviously known for his contributions to horror, sci-fi and fantasy, but he also has written outside those genres. One of his more popular and well known stories is the novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which appears in the collection Different Seasonsand was also made into the beloved 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption. What’s interesting is that, even though there aren’t any paranormal or supernatural elements, stories like Shawshank still connect with the larger King universe.

For example, Eddie Corcoran, who is one of the kids in It, has a step-father who did time in Shawshank. Also, Andy Dufresne is mentioned in Apt Pupil; he set up a stock portfolio for the Nazi character, Kurt Dussander. Finally, there is 11/22/63 where early in the story Jake travels to Derry to stop a murder. On his trip, he encounters criminals who are terrified of going toShawshank prison.

6. The Shop


Stephen King’s sixth novel that was published in 1980 is Firestarter. This is where readers are first introduced to U.S. Department of Scientific Intelligence, better known as The Shop. It is a shadowy organization, often involved in fringe science and the paranormal. In Firestarter, The Shop is after Charlie McGee, who has pyrokinetic ability, and her father.

The Shop is also the sinister organization chasing after Harlan Williams (Keith Szarabajka) in the television miniseries King wrote called The Golden Years. They are also the bad guys in the adaptation of The Lawnmower Man.

In other stories, The Shop may be involved, but they are often relegated to the background. For example, in the short story “The Mist,” it is hinted that they were responsible for the monsters. The Shop was also supposed to stop the plague in The Stand, but failed. In The Tommyknockers, it is theorized by a character that The Shop may be involved in the strange occurrences, but The Shop’s relationship with the events are unclear. Finally, in The Langoliers, one of the characters also believes the events in the story are related to The Shop. With The Shop popping up every so often, it is possible that they are involved in many more events in the universe, but do so behind the scene.

5. It


 It is considered one of the best standalone novels written by King and it was his eleventh book. It is also one of his longest; copies are generally over 1,400 pages long. Not only is the book one of his best, it is also a large hub for connections in the King Universe. For example, the father of the character Mike Hanlon served in the Army and he mentions an Army chef he used to know, a man named Dick Hallorann. Dick Hallorann is the chef in The Shining who tells Danny about his special power.

Another character who is connected to the children in It is Paul Sheldon. Sheldon grew up in Derry next door to Eddie Kaspbrak, who was one of the children who had to battle It/Pennywise. Sheldon would go on to appear in his own Stephen King story; he is the author who is held captive by Annie Wilkes in Misery.

Finally, another interesting connection in It is the connection to The Dark Tower series.  In The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower, the main protagonist, Roland Deschain comes across Dandelo, which is a creature with very similar powers to the titular creature, It, or also known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. What’s interesting is that when Dandelo gets killed, he turns into a clown, leading some people to think that Dandelo and It are the same entity. However, King said that Dendelo and Pennywise were not the same character, but says they are the same species. A clue that adds to the idea that they Dandelo and It are related happens at the end of It, when it is revealed that Pennywise laid eggs under a house in Derry. Derry is believed to be one of the portals to the All-World universe (where the Dark Tower series takes place), meaning that it’s possible that Dendelo is a child of Pennywise.

4. The Crimson King


The Crimson King is a powerful shape shifting entity and he is the main antagonist in The Dark Tower series. However, readers don’t get introduced to the Crimson King until much later in the series, though his existence ishinted about all the way back to the first book in The Dark Tower series,The Gunslinger, which was published in 1982. At first, he’s introduced as a mysterious entity that can make people do his bidding. He wasn’t officially featured until 1991 in a standalone novel called Insomnia. In Insomnia, he is trying to kill a boy named Patrick Danville because there is a prophecy that says Patrick will save two people who will later thwart The Crimson King.

The Crimson King’s next appearance was in 2001’s Black House, which is a sequel to 1984’s The Talisman. In Black House, The Crimson King is using an agent to find children that are like Ted Brautigan in Hearts in Atlantis; they are Breakers. These Breakers bring us to The Crimson King’s goal in The Dark Tower series, which is to bring down the Dark Tower itself. The Dark Tower holds reality and all the universes together. The Dark Tower is held up by six beams and they are protected by 12 guardians. Using thepsychic power of the Breakers, The Crimson King wants to break the beams and it will destroy the universe, leading to a primordial chaos called Discordia, in which The Crimson King would rule.

As mentioned earlier, The Crimson King didn’t appear until much later in the Dark Tower series, in fact, he wasn’t in a Dark Tower book until 2004’sThe Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower. So even when the Dark Tower series isn’t going on, the plot of any King story could be pushed along by an agent of the Crimson King who is trying to destroy the entire universe.

3. The Dark Tower


As you have probably noticed, the Dark Tower, both the series and the physical building, are the pinnacle that holds King’s universe together. This brings us to Stephen King’s levels of mortality and power. There are the “short-timers” which are humans. Humans are located on the bottom of the Dark Tower and most can only perceive the beings and events that happen on the first and the level above them, which are called the “long-timers.” A notable long timer that appears in nine different stories, sometimes under different names, including just his initials R.F., is Randall Flagg who made his first appearance in 1978’s The Stand as a demonic figure that goes around causing problems. His next appearance is in theGunslinger as the Man in Black, the main antagonist who is trying to stopRoland from reaching the Dark Tower. Randall wants to make it there first because he wants to move from a long-timer sorcerer to the next level. That next level is All-Timers, which is characters like The Crimson King and quite possibly It/Pennywise. What’s interesting is that there are even levels above the All-Timers, but they are never explained, possibly because the All-Timers are not aware of them.

2. The Multiverse


One of the more fascinating aspects of the whole King universe is that it isn’t one single universe; in fact, it is a multiverse. There is the mainstream reality, which is where most of the stories take place and it is very similar to the real world. But there are two other very interesting realities that run parallel to the mainstream world. In King mythology, before there was anything, there was an entity referred to as “the darkness behind everything” called Prim. From Prim, a force called Gan arose and created the All-World. The All-World is where The Dark Tower series takes place and it is hinted that the Dark Tower is the embodiment of Gan. Gan is also considered a good God-like being.

As mentioned before, the Dark Tower is held up by six beams and it has 12 guardians. One of those guardians is a turtle named Maturin, who had a stomach ache and threw up. His vomit was actually another universe, called the Keystone Universe. In the Keystone universe, there is a fictional version of Stephen King. Gan got King to write about Roland Deschain to give him direction in his quest. If King were to die before completing his task, then The Crimson King would win and the Dark Tower would be destroyed.

Beyond those three main universes, there are other minor universes as well. For example, there are eight parallel universes in the Kindle novel Ur. In one of them, William Shakespeare lived for a little bit longer and wrote two more plays. Where things get more complicated is that some characters can traverse through different universes in a process called “going Todash.” Certain characters can do this by using magical items or because of powerful events. This means that any of King’s stories are connected, even if universes run parallel to each other.

1. The Purpose and The Random


In the King universe, there is a larger and grander set of forces that seem to affect everything in the universe. It is referred to as the Purpose and the Random. The Purpose is order and structure, while The Random is chaos and can be considered evil. They are compared to the squares on a checker board, two very defining binaries and both have agents that spread Purpose and Randomness throughout the multiverse.

For example, Clotho and Lachesis, who appear in Insomnia, are agents of Purpose. Attached to Purpose are “cords” and these cords are people’s lives. Once someone dies, Clotho and Lachesis cut the cords and send the people to “other worlds.” On the other end of the spectrum, Atropos is an agent of Random and he can also cut cords, but since it is random, anything could happen. For example, Atropos cut the cord of Ed Deepneau, who is one of the antagonists in Insomnia. In doing so, it creates consequences that help thwart The Crimson King’s attempt to kill Patrick Danville. Patrick Danville would go on to help two characters in The Dark Tower series, and those characters were able to help stop The Crimson King from destroying the Dark Tower.

But there are forces even above the Purpose and the Reason called Higher Purpose and Higher Random. Higher Random consists of characters like The Crimson King and It, while Higher Purpose would be characters like Gan and Maturin the Turtle. They are all powerful, God-like beings that battle trying to establish order and chaos. This Higher Purpose and Higher Random could mean that everything that happens in every single Stephen King story happens because of influence and direction from the Higher Purpose and the Higher Reason.


Steven King

– The World According To

Writers Disowning Work – “I was taken out of context”

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Top 10 Writers Who Disowned Their Own Work


For most writers, there’s a feeling of catharsis that accompanies having a book published. You had something to say, and now it’s out there for the world to view. It may become a bestseller or it might move five copies, all to your mom, but either way, you created something meaningful. Your high school classmates were wrong about you, just like you always knew!

But sometimes that euphoric feeling doesn’t last. Sometimes it turns to downright loathing. Here are 10 writers who hated, hid, or simply pretended books they wrote didn’t exist.

10) Ian Fleming, The Spy Who Loved Me


1961-62 was a good time to be Ian Fleming. His James Bond novels were consistent bestsellers; production had begun on the first Bond film, Dr. No. Despite all this, Fleming wasn’t happy after learning his adult thrillers were increasingly being read by schoolchildren who idolized James Bond. So he resolved to write a book showing his famous spy from “the other end of the gun barrel,” sort of a cautionary tale about a civilian who gets caught up in Bond’s world. The result was The Spy Who Loved Me, told from the perspective of ordinary woman Vivienne Michel, who chronicles such espionage staples as losing her virginity in a movie theater, becoming a secretary, aborting her boss’s child, and managing a failing motel until mobsters try to torch it (and her) for the insurance money. Bond himself doesn’t appear until two-thirds of the way into the book to dispatch the thugs, seduce Vivienne, and leave before the final chapter.

Whatever Fleming was going for, it didn’t work — critics panned the new Bond novel, in spite of such ultra-progressive dialogue as “All women love semi-rape. They love to be taken. It was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that had made his act of love so piercingly beautiful.” Reviews were not so piercingly beautiful, and Fleming, stung, declared the experiment a failure and requested that no paperback version or hardcover reprints be issued. The next novel proceeds as if TSWLM never happened, and Fleming would only allow the title to be used for a movie if it had nothing to do with the book’s plot. For all that, it did give us one lasting contribution to the Bond canon: Horror, a gangster with steel-capped teeth who inspired the infamous film henchman Jaws.

9) Stephen King (as Richard Bachman), Rage


It’s easy to make fun of Stephen King these days for the sheer volume of his body of work and some of the more, well, hokey concepts. (Killer trucks? Really, Stephen?) But it’s also easy to forget how many of his books, especially the early ones, were genuinely terrifying; and in one instance, tragically prescient. The first novel King ever wrote, Rage tells the story of a high schooler who brings a gun to school, kills two teachers, and holds his class hostage, only for them to begin empathizing with him in a creepy Tyler Durden-esque fashion.

The reason for the book’s censorship is unfortunately obvious — after the spate of school shootings in recent years, a novel told from the perspective of the killer is not something King wants serving as possible inspiration. At least one real-life shooter was reported to have had a copy of Rage in his locker, so King and his publishers jointly agreed not to publish any future editions. Considering he wrote the story when he was still in college, he’s probably just lucky he didn’t get flagged as a potential risk case himself by school administrators.

8) Martin Amis, Invasion of the Space Invaders


If you’ve never heard of Martin Amis, don’t feel bad: it just means you’re an uncultured semi-illiterate, at least according to The Times, who rated him as #19 on their list of The 50 Greatest British Authors Since 1945. (His father Kingsley Amis was #9, meaning the old guy can literally claim to be twice the author his son is.) These days Martin writes serious books and gets into pissing matches with other authors about things like radical Islamism. Which is probably why he’s not eager to claim credit for 1982′s Invasion of the Space Invaders: An Addict’s Guide to Battle Tactics, Big Scores and the Best Machines.

It’s exactly what it sounds like, a guide to early video games that Amis is extremely reluctant to discuss or even acknowledge writing. Hard to imagine, since it boasts an introduction by Steven Spielberg and is filled with fantastic bon mots like: “Do I take risks in order to gobble up the fruit symbol in the middle of the screen? I do not, and neither should you. Like the fat and harmless saucer in Missile Command (q.v.), the fruit symbol is there simply to tempt you into hubristic sorties. Bag it.” And: “PacMan player, be not proud, nor too macho, and you will prosper on the dotted screen.” A reporter once suggested to Amis, possibly in jest, that it was one of the best things he’d ever written, then noted “The expression on his face, with perhaps more pity in it than contempt, remains with me uncomfortably.”

7) Don DeLillo, Amazons


Don DeLillo is a renowned author and playwright, part of the Postmodern literature movement in the U.S. In recent years, noted critic and pretentious guy Harold Bloom described him as one of only four living American novelists who are still writing and deserve our praise. Be that as it may, the one book of DeLillo’s that you would probably enjoy the most is the only one you won’t find on his official list of published works.

That would be Amazons, which DeLillo co-wrote in 1980 after a string of six well-reviewed but financially disappointing novels. A humorous faux autobiography, Amazons tells the story of Cleo Birdwell, the first woman to play hockey in the NHL, which apparently largely consists of sleeping with your coaches and teammates. By all accounts it’s actually pretty funny, but DeLillo has never publicly acknowledged writing the book and specifically asked to have it left off his official bibliography. Which is a shame, because if more award-winning geniuses took occasional breaks from their serious works to do something funny and low-brow, the other 99% of us would probably pay more attention to the rest of their stuff.

6) Dante Gabriel Rossetti, most of his poetry


As the name implies, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born into an artistic lifestyle — his uncle created the modern vampire story, his siblings all became writers, and his wife Elizabeth Siddal was a prominent artist’s model, posing for Ophelia and other works. Dante himself founded a prominent artistic movement, but between painting and writing poetry, also found time to sleep with plenty of women. Surprisingly Elizabeth was not down with this (chicks, right?), and her husband’s infidelities contributed to her depression and possibly intentional laudanum overdose. Rossetti was devastated, but his response was juuuust a bit extreme: he slipped a notebook full of poems he had been readying for publication into Siddal’s hair in her coffin, then had it buried with her.

Which is creepy but slightly romantic, if you squint hard enough. Except unlike some of the others on this list, Rossetti eventually changed his mind; and if you think you know where this is going, congratulations on being right! Yes, several years later he had Siddal exhumed to recover the notebook. While worms had eaten through parts of the pages (you only wish we were kidding), the poems were eventually published, albeit not to any great critical acclaim. Meanwhile, Rossetti reportedly felt wretchedly guilty over violating his wife’s grave for the rest of his life. As one does.

5) Herge, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets


When it comes to a Tintin book kept under wraps, everyone thinks of the same thing: Tintin in the Congo, where everyone’s favorite Belgian reporter engages in casual racism and slaughters half the animals in Africa. But as uncomfortable as that volume is to modern eyes, writer/artist Herge had no problem with updating and reissuing it years later alongside his newer Tintin books. In fact, there’s only one of his early works that he refused to redraw to match his later style: the very first Tintin story of all… in the Land of the Soviets.

But why? Mainly because the first couple of Tintin stories were forced on Herge by his editor, an ultraconservative priest who wanted to educate kids about things like the evils of communism. And by “educate” we mean “make up a bunch of stuff” — Herge took everything he knew about Russia from one sensationalistic book aimed at criticizing the communist regime. Due to some of the extreme examples depicted — things like fake factories designed to trick people into thinking industry was strong, and elections held at gunpoint — Herge would later call the story “a transgression of my youth.” (Ironically, historians would later note that his depictions were pretty accurate to how terrible living conditions in Russia actually were at the time.) Regardless, Herge kept Tintin in the Land of the Soviets off shelves for years, only relenting when bootleg copies began flooding the market, because you might as well get paid, right? Even then, he would only allow the original, crude black and white strip to be reprinted, without any colorization or updating. Although we’ll be mighty disappointed if some fanboy isn’t working on that even as we speak.

4) Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls II and III


These days a guy named Nikolai Gogol could only be a Russian mobster or a video game boss (and really, “Dead Souls” sounds exactly like a first-person shooter), but 150 years ago it was also an acceptable writer’s name. In fact, Gogol was one of Russia’s most influential authors, going on to inspire the only two other Russian writers you’ve ever heard of, Nabokov and Dostoyevsky. He was already famous when he penned his masterpiece Dead Souls, a modern updating of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Despite being hailed as his greatest work, Gogol saw it as “a pale introduction to the great epic poem which is taking shape in my mind and will finally solve the riddle of my existence.” He intended to write a complete trilogy that would prompt social reform and actually save Russia from itself, because writers like melodrama.

So what happened? Zealotry, plain and simple. While working on the sequel, Gogol came under the sway of Matvey Konstantinovsky, a fanatical priest who convinced him that his creative work was an abomination to the Lord. Thus, on the evening of February 24, 1852, Gogol burned the nearly complete manuscript of Dead Souls II and any notes he’d made for the third volume; only a few scraps escaped the flames. He then immediately ceased eating and died nine days later, proving that you don’t have to be mentally unbalanced to destroy your life’s work, but it helps.

3) Mark Twain, 1601


You may be wondering what Mark Twain, a man known for holding absolutely nothing sacred, could possibly have written that he would want to bury. A story about incest? A cookbook for human flesh? The reality is almost disappointing: a bunch of fart and sex jokes. 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors is a pastiche Twain wrote to try his hand at archaic writing and to skewer those who believed the Elizabethan era to have been a time of strict propriety. It chronicles a fictional fireside chat between Queen Elizabeth, several noblewomen, Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh, and others. To give you an idea of what we’re dealing with, here’s a sample line: “In ye heat of ye talk it befel yt one did breake wind, yielding an exceding mightie and distresfull stink, whereat all did laugh full sore.”

Okay, so not his most mature story, but why publish it anonymously and wait 26 years before acknowledging authorship? At one point Twain was apparently proud of 1601, writing to a friend “…for between you and me the thing was dreadfully funny. I don’t often write anything that I laugh at myself, but I can hardly think of that thing without laughing.” (Of course, years later he would say “if there is a decent word findable in it, it is because I overlooked it,” so take your pick.) Written in between his two best-known works, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, it’s likely Twain didn’t want potential bad press over a relatively minor story to cast a negative light on his recent and upcoming masterpieces. Probably smart, since 1601 was considered unprintable by mainstream publishers from 1880 all the way until the early 1960s, when Elizabethans making jokes about pubic hair became more socially acceptable.

2) William Powell, The Anarchist Cookbook


If you fall anywhere on the spectrum between “a little wild in my youth” to “currently stockpiling munitions in my private bunker,” you’re familiar with the 1970 book The Anarchist Cookbook, a veritable how-to guide on everything from mixing explosives to concealing drugs. Though many of the explosives recipes were later found to be inaccurate (some dangerously so), it maintains a cult appeal and continues to sell well to this day… much to the chagrin of its author, William Powell.

You see, Powell wrote the book at age 19, angry at the prospect of being drafted to fight in Vietnam and looking to lash out at The Man. And just as no one has ever looked back at their teenage self and thought “I was a clear, rational person whose actions still make sense to me today,” Powell — now a father and a teacher — would like nothing more than for his infamous book to go away forever. As he writes in the Amazon.com review where he begs people not to buy it, “The central idea to the book was that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change. I no longer agree with this.” Unfortunately for Powell, he doesn’t own the rights, so the most he can do is give interviews and raise awareness about that thing he wants everyone to forget. And you thought you felt bad about all those mailboxes you smashed.

1) Franz Kafka, everything he ever wrote


If you ever lamented having to read The Metamorphosis in high school, bite your tongue — it could’ve been much, much worse. Kafka, considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, was ruthlessly self-critical and is estimated to have burned an unbelievable ninety percent of everything he ever wrote. Not content with making future scholars weep, on his deathbed Kafka asked his friend Max Brod to destroy all of his remaining writings. Thankfully, Brod interpreted this as “do the exact opposite of what I just asked,” publishing several of his friend’s books in the ensuing decade and even smuggling a briefcase full of Kafka’s papers on the last train out of Prague before the Nazis closed the border.

Amazingly, that’s not even the end of the story, as the remaining writings and sketches passed on to Brod’s secretary and in turn to her daughters, who are currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the Nation of Israel. You know, over ownership of 100-year-old papers that were supposed to be incinerated in the first place. Meanwhile, Kafka’s lover kept another 20 of his notebooks safe until they were seized by the Gestapo in 1933. There’s an ongoing volunteer project dedicated to searching WW2-era documents to try to find the notebooks if they still exist. Which just goes to show one thing: if you really want your work destroyed, toss it in the flames yourself.

Writers Disowning Work

– “I was taken out of context”

While You Were Sleeping

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J.M. Barrie

“You know that place between sleeping and awake, that place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always think of you.”
― J.M. Barrie

Stephen King

“Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations; they’re antithetical to the poetry of fear.”

― Stephen King


“Dreams are formed and reside in an area called the garbage can of the mind. It is there where hope and fear are randomly tossed together, producing a story. Maybe I should call it the salad bowl of life?”

— Gwendolyn Hoff