To live is so startling…

by Michelle

…it leaves little time for anything else. This wry observation is by Emily Dickinson, whose poems I’ve been reading of late, along with living, of course, and threading together manuscripts of my own for packing away in a tea chest to keep safely under my bed. I am quite amiss in gardening however, and do not leave sweets for children, and have spent too many hours watching music videos of that astonishing diva Amy Winehouse, who traded her soul for the pill-popping crowd, addicted to her addictions to death, every performance a fresh sampling.

So it is unexpected, even to me, that I’ve found time for revisions and amendments of one or another kind: an essay to appear on Buddhism, Hinduism, deconstructionism and Poco that I just hope I’ve got right; a real life poem for Island; and a story that I’m rather fond of, especially for its nightclub scenes in Etchings. I googled nightclubs in this leafy suburb the other night, the search identifying a second-floor retro bar opposite the railway station. (Dive!)

In this seasonal heat wave I’ve had presents to dream, parcels to bubble wrap and one or two contracts to sign, which though not entirely, are mostly, favourable—leaving little time for poems, let alone festive blogging. I sometimes question why I blog. I guess the life of a writer is so alone it’s a way of re-connecting with myself, the writing voice, the imagined reader. The truth is I missed it—while it was snowing on screen and He fumbled at my soul, the ride to Judgement being partly, penultimately down hill.

Housebound, in her beloved, foreclosed home with handsewn fascicles and unconventional typography, (her exclamations excessive, her dashes being of varied lengths and directions), Emily may have suffered from agaraphobia, opiate addiction, temporal lobe epilepsy or visual OCD. Or she may have been extemporising tonally, emblematically/& enigmatically on the page, fragmenting clauses, self-harming the grammar to a psychological pitch as Winehouse does in song:

Farewell (and kiss the Hills, for me, just once ), wrote Emily, in her little room in Amherst on scraps of grocery lists, beneath a portrait of Ms George Eliot and a portrait of Ms Barrett-Browning, for she was ready to go!

Amherst College Library