Friday, March 25, 2011

When Herman Melville & Emily Dickinson Made Whoopee (on a prairie on the high seas)

First of all, due to circumstances beyond my control, such as fulltime work and wifi-connection issues at home, I have had to stuff the 3000 Loving feature "Foodstuff Friday" in the freezer. My freezer, known as "back burner" to some, is commodius and durable, so no worry there. 

Secondly, if Emily and Herman were to trample gender-inclination expectations (she being thought to veer toward the ladies and he toward the men, though the Kinsey scale is merely a scale and many of us are all over it), they well could have produced me.  (And I would be, and am, a production.) 
I just read Elizabeth Hardwick's beautifully written short biography of Melville, entitled, I believe, Herman Melville. His inclination to ponder the immortal was reinforced (should Moby-Dick and friends not settle the issue) by the following quotation she offered from Hawthorne's diairy.  Please note that I found the quotation online at the blog Hawthorne in Salem.

Melville, as he always does, began to reason of Providence and futurity, and of everything that lies beyond human ken, and informed me that he had "pretty much made up his mind to be annihilated"; but still he does not seem to rest in that anticipation; and, I think, will never rest until he gets hold of a definite belief. It is strange how he persists-and has persisted ever since I knew him, and probably long before-in wandering to-and fro over these deserts, as dismal and monotonous as the sand hills amid which we were sitting. He can neither believe, nor be comfortable in his unbelief; and he is too honest and courageous not to try to do one or the other. If he were a religious man, he would be one of the most truly religious and reverential; he has a very high and noble nature, and better worth immortality than most of us (Eng NB, Vol II, 163).
Emily Dickinson ("Ma" to me) has reiterated her interest in Eternity and other malefactors not infrequently and so, when dashing off a bio statement for a book review of We Make Gardens by Jeanne Larsen, I wrote the following:
Sarah Sarai is the love child of Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson, who both thought frequently about death and its accoutrement and were each their own person. Her BlazeVOX-published collection, The Future Is Happy, was released in 2009. Loose Gravel Press will publish her chapbook later this year. Her poems are in (or soon will be in) reviews including Threepenny, Mississippi, Minnesota, Eleven Eleven, Pank, Boston, Gargoyle, POOL and Parthenon West. She has taught and does in fact hold an MFA (in fiction) from Sarah Lawrence College, (stories in, South Dakota Review, Storyglossia, Stone’s Throw, Tampa Review, VerbSap, Weber Studies and more) but earns her living copyediting in ad agencies.

Well, you get the idea. I gotta copyedit (which is two words but I don't care). The picture is serendipity, pure serndipity.  I googled Mellville and Dickinson and not only found an image but it is attributed to Ron Silliman.  Providence is mine.

1 comment:

  1. I am terribly envious of your provenance, but your
    providence continues to delight!