Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Died too young

I finished the Shirley Jackson biography, "Private Demons," and it affected me strongly. She was a brilliant writer, able to string the best words together. Witty, sarcastic, haunting. She died at 48.

She was a witch. Did you know that? She had four children, a multitude of cats, an intellectual husband, and struggled with weight her entire life. She consumed too much -- alcohol, food, pills.

I read a book once where certain characters develop a supernatural specialty. I think some could fly or start fires with their mind, and when the most powerful of them finally developed her true skill, it was revealed she was an empath.

I don't remember the name of the mass market paperback I bought at a library dime sale, but ever since then I wonder about the power of empathy. The damage it causes to the empath. And after reading her bio, I suspect Jackson turned reality inside out and absorbed the pain without the joy.

It's snowing again.

I'm projecting again.

We have that in common anyway. Rewriting reality until it suits us.

Once I read "The Bell Jar." I told myself I would finish it and never read it again. Sometimes I consider rereading it, like you might dare yourself to ride the tall rollercoaster or bungee jump. At that time I found I become powerfully affected by what I read, which is why I read. Catharsis? Hi. But in a book where the protagonist is on the verge of swimming across the river Styx, it is dangerous for me to read all those words in that order. Ha. You think I'm being melodramatic. That's okay. This is why I made myself a library.

Who needs pills when you can choose the words you want to feel?

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