that’s more like it

by Andrea Elizabeth

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone. — the first paragraph of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959)

“I think,” wrote Stephen King in Danse Macabre about the paragraph above, “there are few if any descriptive passages in the English language that are any finer than this; it is the sort of quiet epiphany every writer hopes for: words that somehow transcend the sum of the parts.” (lifted from here)

It has been so long since I’ve read anything from this time period. In Bag of Bones Stephen King also references Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, “I dream of Manderly”. I’ve read several of her books. These authors are able to go into the same trance that Emily Bronte did in Wuthering Heights. I’d forgotten how deliciously transporting it was.

I begin listening to The Haunting of Hill House while cross stitching my faux Unicorn Tapestry from around 1500, the end of the Middle Ages where princesses lived among flowers, springs, castles, long narrow dresses, long narrow hair, and everyone and everything doing her modest, patronizing bidding. I’ve so missed it. Surely this one venture into fairy land wont hurt. I’ve talked myself into coming out of it before. After I learned that it’s walls were just thin, gauzy veils to an illusion. Maybe I was wrong to disbelieve… Look! The gauziness is turning opaque. It’s not a ghostly veil but solidifying stone. The arched wooden gate is so inviting. It wont hurt to knock.

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