Channeling Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

A few weeks ago, I was housebound all week.  I do not exaggerate.  I sprained my ankle on Halloween (a word to the wise, don’t go for a walk with your baby wearing Crocs), and had to spend the next few days with my foot as elevated and iced as possible.  Then, as soon as I started feeling like a walk around the block was possible, it rained.  So there went the week.  I literally did not leave the house, not even to get the mail.

Did I mention that I also had to take care of a newborn?

And yet somehow, miraculously, I did not go insane.  Didn’t even get cabin fever.  It helped that my mother-in-law visited with lunch.

But you know what I think really helped?  Reading.  Doing YARN stuff.  Writing 3 versions of a new blog.  Poking away at some other writing.  Notice a pattern?

People always say that reading transports you—and readers take this truth for granted.  When you’re stuck at home, it’s as good as getting out of the house.  And I was lucky enough to be escaping to Suzanne Collins’s compellingly twisted vision of the world.  Or reading the equally twisted and yet somehow true story of the recent elections.  Either way, I was getting outside my own head, and hanging out with other people in the places the writers described for me.

As it turns out, writing and editing serves the same purpose.  Putting words to the ideas in my head, and articulating about how the submissions I read could be improved, helped me (or at least my brain) get outside the house.  I would emerge from sessions in front of my computer or iPhone refreshed, able to look around the house and all the stacks of laundry, etc, as if I’d been out for a brisk stroll.

No wonder Emily Dickinson, famous recluse, wrote so much wonderful poetry.  Using her imagination was her way of getting out.

Kerri Majors, EditorNow that I reflect on it, I have long used writing as a way to escape—my homework, and stresses of the school day, chores, grading papers, taking care of baby…  And it’s a darn good excuse, because you’re working on your craft and maybe even working your way toward a living.  So my advice?  Use the excuse often, and get out without ever leaving the house.

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