CBS All Access is creating a new limited series based on Stephen King’s novel The Stand.
I read The Stand when I was in high school. It was my introduction to the world of Stephen King. Like many others, I was hooked – and for years, eagerly dove into each of his new books as soon as they were released. It was scary stuff wrapped in vivid adventures, the kinds of stories that created a rush of adrenaline and made you check under the bed (and in the closet and behind the curtains) before turning out the lights.
After my first son was born, however, I stopped wanting to read them. Becoming a parent changes the way you perceive fear. Every dangerous or terrifying scenario, even if only in a fiction novel, becomes a trigger for late-night worry and anxious overthinking. You empathize with imperiled characters in new ways. Monsters don’t seem as imaginary.
Then an interesting thing happened. As my children grew older, I found myself wanting to re-read some of my SK favorites. The Stand was one of them. Weirdly, I found comfort in the characters and the plot, despite the awful premise and the disturbing descriptions.
What changed? This time around, the fear didn’t take center stage. Instead, my attention shifted from the scare to the relationships and the resilience. The people and their perspectives, their experiences. The way they came together, and faced the impossible, and prevailed. I found hope in the story.
I will watch the new series; I’m looking forward to it. The cast looks great (Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail! Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg!). It will be interesting to see a new take on the tale. But I won’t be tuning in for the fear. Fear is everywhere. Fear is easy.
I’ll watch because I want to see the true story. The one that inspires me because it speaks of tenacity, empathy, trust, and hope. Fear is the distraction. The true story is courage.