Summer is my favorite season. July 8th is my birthday. I have plenty of time until school begins. Today, I made an inventory of all the things that felt like summer. I like to think my best writing comes when the sun is brightest. I’m nostalgic for my childhood days on the porch, sun tea near the steps, chalk staining rainbow on my hands. There were pinwheels and knick knacks, our camper I held sleepovers in, the fire pit where we made ‘mountain pies.’ I love the laziness of the days, how time is more difficult to tell. It always feels like a more magical space, time to learn and enjoy yourself.
Summer feels like a reset. New rituals. What does summer make you want to write? What writing exercises do you find useful?
Today I flipped through a pocket-sized Dickinson book and decided to put some lines together with the petals from a dying bouquet.
Dickinson was one of my first poetry loves. I found her in a bin of children’s poetry books at my elementary school. It was a simple, illustrated book; I never forgot it (but I did forget the name).
While I did not come across explicit mention of Dickinson, as an undergrad research assistant I worked on transcribing boxes of letters from her correspondent Thomas Wentworth Higginson. I always hoped to see her name written out.
Last summer, I took a class on Dickinson taught by Mary Ann Samyn, and my final project involved designing dresses based on her poetry, along with a write-up of how I interacted with the poems. This was probably the most enjoyable project I’ve ever done. I used flowers and scrap materials to construct the dresses in a collage-style look book. I also used a prompt to write on the thread Emily Dickinson might’ve used to bind her fascicle. I imagined it as silver. If you’re looking for a comprehensive edition of Dickinson’s work: Christine Miller’s Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them was a pleasure to go through, and I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in her poetry. A non-required reading I’d also recommend is Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson.