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“Though our corn was heavy, our hearts were heavier”: An apology from the creator of the Lottery.

Jessie Gaynor

June 30, 2021, 2:27pm

To my fellow villagers—

I’ve seen the tweets, comments, and high school English papers, and I want to respond. I am deeply sorry for my role in creating the Lottery, and in continuing to uphold systematic neighbor stoning. My youth, as well as my genuine belief in the sentiment “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” are not excuses.

I now know that if I had spent more time listening and less time on the complex bureaucratic system whereby a neighbor would be stoned to death, I would have been able to hear the many, many, many voices telling me that heavy corn is actually much more dependent on rainfall than on the stoning death of a community member, chosen at random. I was ignorant, but my ignorance is no excuse. I should have taken the time to educate myself on systems of irrigation. Instead, I leapt immediately to an annual blood sacrifice which implicates every member of our community—myself most of all.

I created the Lottery because I was trying to process trauma related to light corn. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself that methodical communal murder, while it may indeed bring heavier corn, upholds systematic randomness that harms us all. The moment I learned of my community being upon Tessie Hutchinson, I was upon myself. With shame. And accountability.

With every fiber of my being, I am sorry for the pain I’ve caused—both the emotional pain and the stone-related pain. Though our community has, in fact, enjoyed countless years of heavy corn, I realize now that though our corn was heavy, our hearts were heavier.

—Gary Stoningcorn

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