I’m reading a biography of Shirley Jackson, author of (among many other things) “The Lottery,” the terrifying story about a small town that annually stones one of its residents to death. In discussing Jackson’s taste in literature, her biographer quotes her as saying that she loved eighteenth-century novels for “the preservation of and insistence on a pattern superimposed precariously on the chaos of human development.”
“I think it is the combination of these two,” Jackson continued, “that forms the background of everything I write–the sense which I feel of a human and not very rational order struggling inadequately to keep in check forces of great destruction, which may be the devil and may be intellectual enlightenment.”
I knew there was a reason I liked her.
Unfortunately, the biography also informs me that Jackson was one year younger than I am now when she published “The Lottery,” so I will never be able to think of her again without a certain amount of bitterness and envy and gall.
On the other hand, she was exactly as old as I am now when she got hooked on amphetamines, so if I can make it to January 12, 2007 without doing the same then I will be able to feel superior to her in at least one arena.
Hey, now… Bitterness? Envy? Gall, even? Betcha Shirley (Ms.) Jackson (if you’re nasty) would love to hearing that, as it sounds like the makings of one of her stories.
If the excerpt is anything to go by, you also manage to exceed her writing skills quite comfortably.
I remember having to read “The Lottery” in junior high. That story still creeps me out….
Well, think of it this way: if you get hooked on amphetamines now, you will have beaten her to the punch by eleven months. You would win!
… maybe you could reset her story in Charleston interweaveing your troubled youth and get on Oprah’s Book Club …
How strange, I was just talking about that story last night…
I LOVE Shirley Jackson. My sophomore year highschool English report was on her. I loved loved loved loved her. I believe I got a B+. My teacher never ever gave A’s or A-‘s. Of course, I scored an A before I left her class. 🙂
You on amphetamines would be not just a recipe for a disaster, but an entire cookbook and cable access program.
Hi. I just wanted you to know that I finally got to your little book—Gay Haiku. Great stuff. I giggled at most but with many I laughed outloud and a few I am still thinking about… I found them quite profound! Thanks for giving me a quick but fun and even challenging read. m.
p.s. I love Shirley Jackson, too.
You should totally do a little speed. You know, just every now and then, like when your apartment needs to be cleaned. REALLY, REALLY, REALLY CLEANED.
I remember they used to show that movie every year in school. I think they were trying to tell us something.
Have you noticed that her life is about getting stoned, while yours is about getting laid? I think you’re off to a much better start!
Shirley Jackson went to my high school. It’s not much of a legacy, but it’s something.
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