The past two days have been very action-packed and interesting. Yesterday I took the day off and went on a quick trip to Amherst, Mass. where Alison gave a talk at Amherst College about her book, Fun Home. We got down there a little early so we went to the Emily Dickinson Museum. It was so powerful to be there in her house. Fortuitously, we were the only ones there and the house manager was trying to wrap up the day and gently usher us out. It was during this chit chat that he gave us an interesting scoop on the polyamorous relationships going on in Emily's life. For instance, it appears that Emily and her sister-in-law (her brother's wife) were romantically involved, while her brother had a long-standing extramarital relationship with a married woman! Here's a picture I found on the web of her house...
Alison gave her talk in Converse Hall after we had dinner with some nice folks from the Pride Alliance, and then coffee with an exceedingly bright and lovely student (that's her in the book signing picture below). It was a great talk, moving and interesting, and well attended by some really cool people. Gotta love that valley! As an aside, in the lobby (behind where Alison is sitting in the picture below) there are hanging plaster friezes from the Parthenon! It was sort of shocking, quite frankly.
...Alison Bechdel signing her Fun Home
And today's big news is that the Waste Free Living warehouse is lined up and ready for the good goods! It's tucked away in the artist's warren on Pine and Howard in Burlington--the same area as the Burlington Glass Studio (where I'm taking a stained glass class), Liza Cowan's Pine Street Art Works, and many other cool stores and studios.
I'll leave you with a poem. It's from one of my favorite books: Picnic, Lightning by Billy Collins.
-the compost maven
Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes
by Billy Collins
First, her tippet made of tulle,
easily lifted off her shoulders and laid
on the back of a wooden chair.
And her bonnet,
the bow undone with a light forward pull.
Then the long white dress, a more
complicated matter with mother-of-pearl
buttons down the back,
so tiny and numerous that it takes forever
before my hands can part the fabric,
like a swimmer's dividing water,
and slip inside.
You will want to know
that she was standing
by an open window in an upstairs bedroom,
motionless, a little wide-eyed,
looking out at the orchard below,
the white dress puddled at her feet
on the wide-board, hardwood floor.
The complexity of women's undergarments
in nineteenth-century America
is not to be waved off,
and I proceeded like a polar explorer
through clips, clasps, and moorings,
catches, straps, and whalebone stays,
sailing toward the iceberg of her nakedness.
Later, I wrote in a notebook
it was like riding a swan into the night,
but, of course, I cannot telly you everything--
the way she closed her eyes to the orchard,
how her hair tumbled free of its pins,
how there were sudden dashes
whenever we spoke.
What I can tell you is
it was terribly quiet in Amherst
that Sabbath afternoon,
nothing but a carriage passing the house,
a fly buzzing in a windowpane.
So I could plainly hear her inhale
when I undid the very top
hook-and-eye fastener of her corset
and I could hear her sigh when finally it was unloosed,
the way some readers sigh when they realize
that Hope has feathers,
that reason is a plank,
that life is a loaded gun
that looks right at you with a yellow eye.
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- Happy Earth, Soil, and Compost Day!
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- Composting Regs, Bear Pond Books, Persepolis...and...
- My little spring break in Ithaca, NY
- Ode to Gretchen Phillips
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- Sad Day for Intervale Compost
- Emily Dickinson, Fun Home, and a new warehouse!
- Compost, Tina Turner, and Chopping Wood...
- ▼ April (13)