Today, I have a special guest for you! When I heard about her story coming out, I just had to track her down! The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson a novel creation by Jerome Charyn offers an intimate glance into Emily’s life. Yes, that’s right, Emily Dickinson is here with us today and let me say that it was not easy tracking her down!
Cupid: Emily! Thank you so much for joining us today! Please, have a seat on our lovely couch!
And I forgive you, dear Cupid, that you faltered in piercing my heart with your arrow of love. Without your failure, had I instead been brided, I may not have had the time – or need – to set to paper the bolts of lightening in my brain. I once wrote a phrase in error, it is my words more than my friends that are my estate.
Cupid: Just looking at the chapter names was quite intriguing! For me, the one that stuck out the most was, “The Vampyre of Cambridgeport.” It sounded so interesting that I daresay I had to read it first! I thought it would be about some hunky man I wasn’t privy to, but alas, it wasn’t. It’s here we learn more about your eyesight problems. You said that your eye problems gave you terrible headaches? Do you still believe the problem had to do with the light reflecting off of the snow? As so many writers these days, as well as one of our own authors, suffer from migraines regularly, please shed a little light on this and tell us what you were able to blame for causing them.
Cupid: One phrase that stuck out from my reading of this chapter was, “Lord help Mr. William Shakespeare for the tyranny of Sue’s pencil.” What tyranny was Sue performing with her pencil? Can you give us some specifics, please?
Cupid: You mentioned that you risked your eyesight writing to Sue. Why did you feel that connection so important that you’d risk your own vision for it?
Cupid: Was Sue the only one you wrote letters to? If not, who else would you write letters to? Do we find these letters in your book?
When my Facebook friends woke me in this new century, I learned about the spider’s web, the net of “inter,” connecting one to all. Whenever I venture out of the safety of my book, I see people speaking on phones as smart as they. But near me were none but my few friends and family members, and Carlo, who was also my brother, so letters are my conversation, my ‘texting’ and my telephone.
Some of my letters have been saved, collected or reconstructed. This was a surprise to me, because I expected Vinnie had burned them as was customary, and as I had requested of her. Our world contained no machines that keep words “on the line” forever. Personal thoughts were shared privately and not intended for others.
But in modern times, letters are so rare and precious they are often saved.
A man named Thomas H. Johnson collected my letters and took great pains to annotate them. You can purchase these, I think, with a card that magically holds your dollar bills and coins.
I was pleased to see that Harvard, where my brother Austin went to law school, is still a premier institute of higher education. It is Harvard that holds and preserves my letters for all with an interest to read.
My author, Jerome Charyn, tells me it was in my letters that he found my voice.
Cupid: I’m so curious about this kangaroo business. Why on earth do you consider yourself a kangaroo?
Cupid: Your friend Zilpah sounds like quite the vixen. Please, tell us more about her!
Cupid: As this is the month of love, please, do tell us about the loves of your life, other than your dog, Carlo. Who were they and how/where did you meet them?
Cupid: Thank you so much for joining us Emily! It’s been fabulous talking to you!
Cupid: Now, I’m going to do something I said I was bored with – interview an author! How could I not? This man seems smitten with our Emily! Jerome! Thank you so much for joining us today!
Cupid: How old would you say you were when you first fell in love with Emily?
Cupid: Was it love at first read or would you say it developed over time?
Cupid: What first attracted you to her? Was it a simple quote of hers, or was it something more?
Cupid: Sorry, about the twenty questions here, but I find you and your relationship with Emily so fascinating! Many readers find themselves moved by an author’s work to buy every book they write, to meet them if possible and even to learn as much about them as possible. What prompted you to write such an intimate story about Emily?
Cupid: Now, about those letters from Emily. Can anyone read them, or are they currently part of someone’s private collection? Have they ever been printed in a book? If so, please give those of us not familiar with Emily the title. I ask because there are those of us who do prefer the print medium to a computer for items like this.
Cupid: How has your family dealt with your obsession with Emily? Has it always been accepted, or have there been times where it has caused problems in your own life? How have you dealt with them?
Cupid: How much research did you have to do to write this book?
The Emily Dickinson Museum granted me a private tour through the Homestead, and allowed me to stand quietly in Emily Dickinson’s room, to look out her western window to The Evergreens of Austin and Sister Sue, and find that "Slant of light."
Cupid: Would you call this creative non-fiction, or does it fall into the realm of fiction? How hard is it to weave fact and fiction together?
Cupid: With all research, you must have turned up lots of facts. How do you decide which facts to use, and which ones not to? Did you try to get in as much fact as possible? Can you please give us some of the facts you opted not to use while writing this book?
Cupid: I could ask you questions all day! But, I think that will have to be it for now! Thank you so much for joining us today!