“Is It True Dear Sue?”

In the Spring of 1862, Emily Dickinson wrote the words “The heart wants what it wants, or else it does not care” in a letter to her friend Mary Bowles. She was offering Mary consolation, as her husband was going abroad for an extended period of time. At the same time, Emily admits that there is really no way to console her friend, because the heart has a mind of its own and the friend’s husband will still be missed, even as she is assured of his return.

Throughout Emily’s 55 years she was never known to have a romantic relationship, but the letters she left behind suggest she did have several intimate relationships, which she “tells it slant” about in her poetry. “Tell it slant” was a phrase used in another poem of hers, whose first line is “Tell all the truth, but tell it slant” which seemed to suggest that rather than shocking a person with the whole big truth at once, one should start from a circuit around it and gradually reveal the whole picture. The phrase “tell it slant” has come to be associated with Dickinson and each year the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst holds a Tell It Slant poetry festival and gives a Tell It Slant award.

In researching analysis of “Is it true dear Sue?”, most agree that those words were directed to her lifelong friend, love and sister-in-law, Susan Huntington Gilbert with regards to Emily’s brother Austin, whom Sue would go on to marry. Emily is questioning whether or not there are now two who love her, and competing for her love.

Todays Carol and Emily poem is based on a real experience that I had at the end of a long term relationship, one that ended slowly, and slant, but led us both to where we belonged, with another.

“The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end, may also be the beginning.”

Ivy Baker Priest.

Future Spawn

A year ago today, I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in the first annual Story Summit upon a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. We sailed to the Caribbean for an immersive 5 day mentoring experience with some of the worlds most talented authors, screenwriters, and industry professionals. One week later the world would stop due to COVID-19, but the relationships begun on that trip would not stop. Books would be published, screenplays optioned, and the support and encouragement for all of the participants would continue. I count it as the absolute best thing that happened in 2020.

Since that time, another (COVID safe) summit was held at Cape Cod and a Writer’s School was developed with a wide array of classes and phenomenal teachers. Tonight we’re celebrating our 1st birthday by getting together via Zoom to reminisce, catch up and celebrate the Story Summit and all the learning, joy, success and camaraderie it has brought us.

Today’s Carol and Emily poem speaks of sailed toward dreams and that’s exactly what we were all doing on that cruise, working on our projects and trying to create our own individual future spawns.

Of course no one is cruising now, but whatever your dreams are, I hope you’re sailing (figuratively) towards them.

Artwork -R. L. Lewis

Making The Best of A Pandemic Fat Tuesday

I love the fact that folks in NOLA are decorating their porches and yards. Seeing them, even from far away through the magic of satellites and video imagery puts a little joy in my heart. No parades this year, but we can still mask up and go get the King Cake, dig out our beads and the red Solo cups and pretend we are just as happy being wherever we are. Personally I’d be happier if this pandemic was over and I could safely travel to hug my kids and grandkids. That in itself would be worthy of a parade!

As it is, I’m extremely happy and grateful that it’s 68 degrees here and that I have power, unlike so many millions across the country today. I’m currently in my home office, listening to my ocean sound machine and just completed 5 more poems for the project.

Speaking of my home office, I had to devise a new system for letting my husband know I’m in the creative zone and shouldn’t be disturbed. Yesterday I got a little finger-tapping- impatient with him when he burst in and started “sharing” something with me while I was trying to write. I did have the door closed, but that was also because we had a service person here about our AC and I wanted to isolate myself.

The good news is that this pandemic has given us lots and lots of together time. The bad news is that this pandemic has given us lots and lots of together time… So, there I sat at my computer desk, listening to him share the details of a frustrating phone call and a few minutes in I started tapping my fingers as if impatient. I swore I didn’t mean to. It just happened, and well, you can imagine the rest. So now I have a new system. If my office door is closed AND has a scrunchie on it, (hearkening back to college days) that means Please Do Not Disturb.

I hope you can think of something to celebrate today. Maybe just that it’s Tuesday and one day closer to the weekend, maybe your kid completed their virtual school session without tears, or maybe you got a vaccine appointment for you or someone you love. Maybe you just kept it together on this 340th day since the US Covid crisis began. Tell Alexa to turn up the tunes and have a little conga line parade in your house.

Here’s today’s Carol and Emily offering.