Oh, dear. Where to begin?
I took English 101 in my senior year of high school. One day the teacher told us that we were going to have cake the next day. This was exciting!
So, the next day we walk into class, and she starts delivering her lecture. There was no cake. There was, however, a box of cake mix, a bowl, a container of icing, and a spatula. As she was delivering her lecture, she opened up the cake box and dumped the ingredients into the bowl. We began to look at one another, but she didn't seem disturbed, she just kept lecturing.
Then she opened the icing, and scooped out a big old glop of it with the spatula, picked up the empty cardboard box and began slathering the icing on it! This was worrisome! Our teacher had clearly lost her ever-loving mind! After watching her do this for several minutes, someone finally asked her, "Um, what are you doing?" At this she looked surprised and said, "I thought you guys wanted cake today. I'm making a cake!" Someone else said, "Mrs. ---, you are icing a box!"
Now Mrs. --- put down the spatula and said, "what, you don't want this?" The class was aghast, and said, "NO! It's a cardboard box!" At this point she said, "That's right. It's nothing but nicely iced cardboard. No substance at all. No one would want this. And I don't want any papers from you that are nothing but icing." Then she walked over and threw the iced box into the garbage can. In six years of college, no other points got through to me as clearly as that one did.
Unfortunately, Carolyn Hart did not attend that lecture before she wrote Castle Rock. Enough said.