Saturday, April 17, 2010

Practical Magic

" . . . but perhaps the most useful thing about being a writer of fiction is that nothing is ever wasted . . . you tend to see everything as a potential structure of words.  One of my daughters made this abruptly clear to me when she came not long ago into the kitchen where I was trying to get the door of our terrible old refrigerator open; it always stuck when the weather was wet, and one of the delights of a cold rainy day was opening the refrigerator door.  My daughter watched me wrestling with it for a minute and then she said that I was foolish to bang on the refrigerator door like that; why not use magic to open it?  I thought about this.  I poured myself another cup of coffee and lighted a cigarette and sat down for a while and thought about it; and then decided that she was right.  I left the refrigerator where it was and when in to my typewriter  and wrote a story about not being able to open the refrigerator door and getting the children to open it with magic.  When a magazine bought the story I bought a new refrigerator."

          -- Shirley Jackson; "Experience and Fiction"