Nota Bene: Shirley Jackson and Lucille Ball

Via A.M. Homes’ introduction to Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery:

When reading Jackson, I can’t help but think of the stories of Raymond Carver, who had a similar ability to create a sort of melancholy emotional mist that floats over his stories. But Jackson also had the ability to be savagely funny: at one point in her career, Desi Arnaz reportedly inquired about her interest in writing a screenplay for Lucille Ball…

Somehow this is actually true. Jackson’s son confirmed it to Michael Schulman at the New Yorker, who couldn’t help noting:

Jackson declined, but one imagines a vial of poisoned Vitameatavegamin…

A world where this had come to pass would be a better one for it.

Writer’s Desk: Keeping the Demons at Bay

thelottery1

Shirley Jackson considered herself an odd person. This hardly makes her unique among writers. But see what she had to say about its relationship to her writing:

The very nicest thing about being a writer is that you can afford to indulge yourself endlessly with oddness, and nobody can really do anything about it, as long as you keep writing and kind of using it up, as it were. I am, this morning, endeavoring to persuade you to join me in my deluded world; it is a happy, irrational, rich world, full of fairies and ghosts and free electricity and dragons, and a world beyond all others fun to walk around in. All you have to do—and watch this carefully, please—is keep writing. As long as you write it away regularly, nothing can really hurt you…