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Famous Last Words: Stephen King

The horror master pens the most revealing sentences of his career for our handwriting analyst

“It’s smart, funny and insightful about the way men and women are,” says Stephen King, referring to Einstein’s quote (handwritten below), which he calls his favorite. “I think it encapsulates something that everybody feels about men and women.”

When it comes to his 42-year marriage to fellow writer Tabitha King, he says, “I’ve changed a little bit, and she hasn’t changed a lot. My wife and I have reached a happy medium.” However, according to Toronto-based graphologist Annette Poizner, his handwriting doesn’t show much room for flexibility. “There is a rigidity in his lettering which reveals perfectionism. It almost looks like a font that could have come out of a printer!” she says. “King applies himself fully to what he takes on and maintains high standards right through to the end of every project.”

At the moment, that project is Under the Dome, a TV adaptation of his 2009 novel, premiering June 24 on CBS. “I love the idea of people cut off from the world, trying to survive,” says King, also an executive producer on the 13-episode series. “It’s a chance to discuss the way resources run out and the environment gets polluted.”

What’s surprising is that despite all of King’s success—he’s sold more than 350 million books, and his novels and stories have been turned into over 50 movies and TV shows and series—he’s concerned about how Dome will be received. “I hope people like it,” he says. “I hope it will be a success.”

Poizner notes that pessimism is present in his handwriting. “Look at the signature—the ‘King’ droops down below the line as if it’s falling,” she says. “A king is so noble, so strong, and yet here, he’s tumbling.”

Still, the greatest message sent by the novelist’s handwriting is his unabashed individualism. “King often disconnects one letter from the next,” says Poizner. “In school, he must have been taught cursive, but like some writers, he defies the lessons of yesteryear rather than conform to norms. He does not bow to the consensus. He will decide for himself; he will do things his own way.”

“Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”

1. Look at the sharpness of the letter “n” in men and change. Angles like this signify intelligence and the tendency to say sharp things.

2. He uses the “t” in Stephen to strike out his own first and last name. That’s a classic act of self-negation and shows he’s self-critical; it’s often hard for him to relax.

3. He has a unique, individualistic way of making a “g,” which is probably very different from what he was taught in school. This conveys a sense of defiance and rebellion.

4. These are considered Greek “a”s; it’s a classic-looking letter and shows King’s cultural sensibilities. 

5. He perfectly spaces his writing, indicating he’s sensitive to the impact he has on others. It also demonstrates that King has a strong visual sense. 

6.  The periods and the “i” dots are not hastily made slashes. Instead, King writes them carefully and slowly. He is extremely detail-conscious.

7. King enters the lower zone with this “y,” but he abruptly stops his stroke. Stopping suddenly takes willpower and extra exertion; he is a hard worker who has great concentration.

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