Favorite Emily – 31:4

Everybody has a favorite Emily.  I’m sure. I actually know, or know of, a few Emily’s. I could probably find reasons to say they are all my favorite Emily, but today I will focus on the one long gone. She inspires me in so many ways, but she is elusive and often obscure. That is probably one of the many reasons that I admire her.

She has a way with words that is both simple and complex.  Sometimes what you see on the surface is not what is really going on below the depths. She adds hue to the words in such a way that you want to pick them up and use them to color your world. You know that somehow if you could borrow from her palette you would paint a masterpiece.

In her later years she lived a quiet life among her flowers, wearing white and seeing only those close to her. She preferred to correspond via letters.  I imagine she found it easier to relate from behind closed doors using the written word to convey her thoughts rather than converse face to face.  This too is just one of the ways I can relate to her.

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections is the home of the original.Emily Dickinson. Daguerreotype. ca. 1847 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections is the home of the original. Emily Dickinson. Daguerreotype. ca. 1847 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

If you are not familiar with her, allow me to introduce to you Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most prolific poets.   After her death, several of her poems were found organized in portfolio’s and even more were found in a chest.  They were written on scraps of paper and untitled.  I too am a paper scrap writer, jotting down random thoughts on whatever happens to be available.  At our house scraps of paper cannot be thrown away without being read first, as they might contain the words to my great masterpiece. Or not.

Her poems are collected here if you are interested in reading them.  In closing I will share with you one of my favorite Dickinson poems.  Okay, maybe two.

She sweeps with many-colored brooms

She sweeps with many-colored brooms,
And leaves the shreds behind;
Oh, housewife in the evening west,
Come back, and dust the pond!

You dropped a purple ravelling in,
You dropped an amber thread;
And now you’ve littered all the East
With duds of emerald!

And still she plies her spotted brooms,
And still the aprons fly,
Till brooms fade softly into stars
And then I come away.

Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Sweeping colors in grace,

Teresa (aka Sadie Grace)

31:25 – Five Minutes

Picture from my drive yesterday; has nothing to do with this post.

Writing on demand is not easy.  Writing when inspired is fairly easy.  Both can be rewarding. If something inspires me I can write fairly effortlessly.  However, if I have a deadline and no inspiration, then it is like writing in a fog and my mind keeps asking “what’s the point,” while my fingers keep typing relentlessly trying to force feed words onto the page.  If I’m lucky I end up with something coherent.  If I’m really lucky I may end up with something worth reading.  Or not. Some days the point is not how worthy are the words, it is just that you put down some words. Writing for the sake of writing is not about being profound, or having something of substance.  It is about establishing a habit.  A habit that tells your brain to tell your fingers that this is what we do.  We are writers and we write.  If it is good, then it will be read and enjoyed.  If it is not so good, then let the critics criticize and call it the drivel that it is.  Tomorrow is another day and it just may produce the masterpiece we’ve been waiting for.  So go ahead, set the timer for five minutes and just write.  Then if you dare, hit publish and let the chips words fall where they may.

I dare you to write for five, even if you think you have nothing to say.

five minute grace,


31:16 – Move

Move – (2) : to proceed toward a certain state or condition

As writers we use words to reach a desired goal.  With our words in tow we “proceed toward a certain state or condition.”  The process is much the same for all of us, but the certain state or condition varies, depending on our audience.

We scribble, rearrange, delete, scribble some more only to crumple the paper and begin again.  We get caught up in the process; we get a high from how the words when blended just right, paint a masterpiece that rivals the beauty hanging on the walls of the Louvre. (OK, I can dream.)

If we’re not careful we become more concerned with the process than we do with the certain state or condition.  Because it is the condition that ultimately drives the weaving of the words.

I love words and how they work together to shape our message.  I love creating the perfectly turned phrase, but at the end of the day I want the message to go deep and hit a raw nerve of emotion. I want it to speak to the condition.  No matter how beautifully the words are arranged if I haven’t addressed the condition I haven’t moved the reader.

Move in Grace