Saturday, December 15, 2007

Concerning The Lottery

Dean told me about hearing this on The Writer's Almanac the other day. This short story has always haunted me. I did not know this background information, though. Wow.

"It's the birthday of novelist and short-story writer Shirley Jackson, (books by this author) born in San Francisco (1919), who married a Jewish man against her parents' wishes and went to live in a small town in Vermont where she developed a reputation for eccentricity. The local townspeople talked about her behind her back, calling her a Communist, a witch, an atheist, and a Jew. She felt as though everyone was watching her and judging her, and she began to dread leaving the house. And then one day she sat down and wrote a short story about a town where one resident is chosen by lottery each year to be stoned to death. She finished the story in two hours and sent it off to The New Yorker magazine, where it was published as "The Lottery" in 1948. The story generated more reader response than any other story in The New Yorker's history. Hundreds of readers wrote to the magazine, demanding to know what the story meant, or asking to cancel their subscriptions because they were so disturbed." (from the Writer's Almanac website)

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Had a wonderful time at the Copper Canyon Press Open House last night. Dean and I drove up after work. The place was packed. Wonderful drinks and snacks. 20% off all books! A chance to touch in with the staff of CCP, old friends, and locals. Then, at the end of the evening, Matthew Zapruder and I gave a brief reading. The audience was great: knowledgeable and responsive and high energy. I think I gave one of my better readings. Enjoyed meeting Matthew again, and hearing him read. He and Dean had a great conversation about therapy. I meet a woman whose past husband was named Pereira, and we connected over the whole Portuguese diaspora thing. Small world.

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I worked Saturday clinic today. And I am on call 24/7 for the rest of this week. I hope it is quiet. Fingers crossed.

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1 comment:

Premium T. said...

When I was perhaps twelve my older sisters had a book of Shirley Jackson short stories, and we read and reread
"The Lottery." Fascinated by it.

(My word verification is "zqihoo."
I want a job inventing these words!)