epistolary exchange from this afternoon, via emails
Dear Mr. Charyn, I wanted to drop you a line to tell you that I greatly enjoyed your novel. I've been enjoying your facebook page too. I don't have an account (I'm hesitant to sign up) or would leave this message there.
I recently listened to your great interview on WAMC's Booktalk with Joe Donahue. I don't see it linked on your facebook page - so here it is in case you're not aware that it's available online.
Also, evidently this morning NPR ran a piece on the NYBG Emily Dickinson garden exhibit. I enclose that link since you will be there next weekend.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago Lenore R. linked to a blogpost of
mine that touched on your novel. She left a comment, and I replied to it though I don't know that she ever saw it. So (FYI) here's that link, too.
Again, I greatly enjoyed your novel, the way you channeled E.D., seemed to enter into her mind, or a very credible (because imaginally truthful) variation of her mind. It's Memorial Day weekend and this morning a local radio host [Rick on WKZE] made unusually interesting comments along the lines of how so many artists toil their entire lives and never achieve fame or fortune - but when they die, they are discovered and it's at that point the worth of their artifacts skyrockets. He suggested that on this holiday we remember not only fallen soldiers, but all who have come before us and left their marks, their legacy. I think of Emily Dickinson in this regard. She seems to me to have achieved an unusually vivid posthumous immortality (of which she herself seemed both patient and prescient). I personally feel a growing connection with her - somehow by getting more insight into her I have been gaining a better understanding and acceptance of myself (as a woman of divided mind who for a long time unwittingly fought against artistic aspects of myself). What a very interesting intertwining and mingling of like minds - all of us who are so touched by her Muse. It seems to suggest something to me too about the nature of consciousness - that there is something so capacious ultimately about the compelling and living idea of E.D. that we are all drawn to her and inspired. I'm finding my own sense of theology, of the most profound personal beliefs, challenged and deepened in considering her. I am formally starting to think of myself as a latter day transcendentalist!
Thanks again, Mr. Charyn, for being a Muse yourself in all this. Have a great Memorial Day weekend and (if you haven't made it already) a safe and pleasant leap across the pond. Yours, Belle
Dear Belle, thanks so much for your very kind note! Yes, Emily was "a fallen soldier." But I think she was able to find a great deal of pleasure by traveling inside her own head.
Best, Jerome Charyn