Thursday, October 23, 2008

Definition of Terms

“The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day…” So begins Shirley Jackson’s gruesome story. This perhaps is one of my favorite stories of all time—a tale that begins innocently with a small town lottery then unfolds to become an unforgettable story of death.

But this won’t be about lotteries, or death, or how later I would find out that Shirley Jackson wrote a book called The Haunting which was turned into a movie that begins with a mansion on a dark hill one stormy night.

This is about how stories in general taught me to begin where the action is. I know, sunny summer day is far from action packed, but that’s not the point. The point is that I don’t want to begin with my birth mother, my address and my phone number.

Imagine that this page is pitch black and you are in it. The place is called Normandy and the year is 1944. You were told that today is D-Day and that you are to proceed with your orders, no matter what, the moment your feet touch the ground. Mid-air you think about how you will go about this order when landing on your two feet is as improbable as propelling yourself up back the plane.

Now, that’s medias res. That is how I should proceed. Turn to page 2.

1 comment:

  1. What does Shirley Jackson have to do with Normandy?


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