I cannot recall having read any Shirley Jackson stories (something I am resolving to rectify now) but this essay found on the New Yorker gives a glimpse into her mind in a way that makes her entirely sympathetic and relatable.
It explores how our experiences provide fuel for writing, and how memory works for writers–how it is a kind of multi-faceted resource we draw upon.
The whole thing is easily readable, and I’m struggling now to not quote it in its entirety, but here’s one part that resonates for me:
That is one half of writing, of course. The lower depths, as it were. The other half is what I might delicately call information. Henry James got the idea for The Spoils of Poynton from a single remark heard at dinner, but he also had to find out somehow what lovely possessions looked and felt and smelled like, the tapestries splendidly toned by time, the thrilling touch of the old velvet brocade.–Shirley Jackson, “Memory and Delusion”
You can read the essay on the New Yorker website. It’s the first in a three-part series. Found via a retweet of Glen Mazarra by Livia Llewellyn