Today I spent some time with one of my favorite people, Emily Dickinson. I read The Gorgeous Nothings, a collection of photographs of her envelope poems. The title comes from a line of one of Emily’s poems. There are 52 of them in all. Each one is given it’s own page in this enormous coffee table book, with an illustration on the opposite page that is a bit easier to read. The picture above is a snapshot I took of one of the pages. Below is a snapshot of its opposite page.
I was surprised at how easy it was for me to actually read her handwriting, or most of it. The book itself is stunning and the envelopes look like you could pick them right up off the page. In some places where she wrote on both sides, one side of the envelope is on one page and lines up perfectly with the back of it on the next page.
If anything, it made me want to start writing letters again. I’ve romanticized the art of letter writing for a long time, but the ease and speed of a computer has pretty much ruined that for me.
If you were going to hand write poetry or letters on anything these days, what would you choose? I still get a lot of bills in the mail though I pay them online. I think I’d use those blank envelopes they always enclose for you. But since Emily already did envelopes, I should probably choose something else. Perhaps the cardboard backings of blister packed items? I only wish my handwriting was as lovely as hers.