Sunday, June 20, 2010

Good morning darling. Very sticky this morning, overcast. The air smells like garbage, stagnant, unpleasant. One of the neighbor's toddlers is sobbing. He catches his breath in a high-wire asthmatic gasp after each dramatic cry. Particularly grating under these climactic conditions. (At the moment 36 and overcast where you are doesn't sound so bad.) Drinking coffee and eating cherry strudel that I made with leftover filo sheets.

Have been reading a biography of E.D. (Lives Like Loaded Guns). The author Lyndall Gordon makes the case that Dickinson may have been epileptic, prone to seizures. Intriguing. There's a part of me that wants to resist believing that, I suppose because I find it too neat and reductionist. Gordon herself says that it doesn't account for E.D.'s genius (though perhaps a certain visionary capacity), but that it could explain her extreme reclusiveness (fear of having a seizure in front of others), wearing of white (highly sanitary conditions were thought to be of help, the way doctors and nurses wear white), consultations with leading physicians in Boston and Cambridge, having a particular prescription filled there rather than in Amherst (didn't want hometown tongues wagging over glycerine, which was a treatment for the disease, which unfortunately had a stigma attached to it), etc. Perhaps I resist this medical explanation because I felt (or wanted to believe) that E.D.'s entire way of being was itself a poetic expression. I don't wish it to be reduced to coping with this disorder. Well, if it is true then - poor woman truly, though at the same time she was very fortunate to be so sheltered and protected by her family all her life. And if these attributes are how she coped with her disorder - then she did so with uncommon grace.

Very rambly post this morning, befitting my mood. (Not every post will be poetic. I look at the one from yesterday and shudder - overwritten. Oh well.) How are you darling? I hope everything's going well. Thinking of you very much. Later.

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