Of course they met at a library; they were both writers. He was a senior and already getting published in magazines. She was two years younger than him and was getting her poetry published on a regular basis. But it was instant attraction for Stephen King and Tabitha Spruce. They both came from working class backgrounds, they were from Maine (or if John Irving's Wilbur Larch was talking about them, a prince and princess of Maine, a King and Queen from New England) and they both loved to write.
One of the reasons why I loved King's On Writing (besides the obvious: he gave great advice on writing) was that he detailed his life with Tabitha. They both were taking a poetry workshop where they had to hear many many poems that resembled Donovan's "First There Is A Mountain" Now Stephen would agree with me that it's a great song, but after a while (if I was in this class) I would've stood up and yelled "Okay! Donovan wrote other songs you know! How about copying the style to 'Catch the Wind!' Or 'Season of the Witch!'" Tabitha decided to write something else:
A Gradual Canticle for Augustine
The thinnest bear is awakened in the winter
by the sleep-laughter of locusts,
by the dream-blustering of bees,
by the honeyed scent of desert sands
that the wind carries in her womb
into the distant hills, into the houses of Cedar.
The bear has heard a sure promise
Certain words are edible; they nourish
more than snow heaped upon silver plates
or ice overflowing golden bowls. Chips of ice
from the mouth of a lover are not always better,
Nor a desert dreaming always a mirage.
The rising bear sings a gradual canticle
woven of sand that conquers cities
by a slow cycle. His praise seduces
a passing wind, traveling to the sea
wherein a fish, caught in a careful net,
hears a bear’s song in the cool-scented snow.
Stephen writes about how he was blown away by the poem. I can see why. Not only because it's a good poem, but it wasn't copying anyone. It was completely original, and it was in her own true voice.
They had a baby a year later (thanks wiki) and married in 1971. They both took odd jobs and he wrote stories for men's magazines, then he started teaching. But he came up with an idea about a girl with special powers. But when would she get these powers? He tried writing it (according to On Writing) but couldn't get into it. He threw the pages in the trash. But then he came home one night and saw the crumpled up pages in Tabitha's hands. She told him he had a good story. A story that became Carrie.
They've survived ups and downs. Tabitha would say in an interview with People that "It ain't all hearts and flowers" He had a drinking and drug problem; she staged an intervention with family and friends. Realizing he could lose everything, he sobered up. According to the same People article, she knew that she might never get the attention her husband had gotten, but she kept writing. But nothing could prepare them in 1999 when he went out for a walk before they planned on seeing a matinee.
While walking, a distracted driver hit him. According to On Writing, he kept telling the paramedics "tell Tabby I love her very much." They told him he would tell her soon enough. He did. And she helped him start writing again. It hasn't been easy (King citing residual pain from his accident has thought about retiring) but he kept on going, with his wife's help.
They're grandparents now. Their daughter is a minister. Both their sons are writers. Forty-three years have passed since they met at the library. And they've shown in action another Donovan song: When rain has hung the leaves with tears
I want you near to kill my fears,
To help me to leave all my blues behind.
For standin' in your heart
Is where I want to be.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries