Yesterday, finally, Kate and I sat down together for a cup of tea. This time we had agreed to meet at a place called Emily’s, and there isn’t one of those on every corner, so we both ended up at the same place. We talked for an hour. I learned that she’s sold hundreds of paintings to people driving by, and there was even an article about her in the Portland Metro newspaper about a year ago. I suppose she’s actually more famous than me.
And we chatted about our children. She has six. One of them, oddly enough, is named Peter Joseph. She struggled with ADHD issues with one of her sons, so we discussed our mutual mothering difficulties (while at home, as I discovered when I got there, Peter was throwing things around the house and pushing our Christmas tree right over in anger due to an internet connection problem). I gave Kate a signed copy of my book (or our book, perhaps I should say), and she gave me an art print, something she’d done recently in one of her art classes.
And now we go our separate ways. She might be moving to Seattle. We’ll be moving to Fresno. But the book remains, binding us together in its own way. And Facebook. There’s always Facebook.
While sitting at Emily’s waiting for Kate I passed the time thinking about my newest crazy idea. Well, I don’t think it’s crazy. Other people might. I’d like to try impersonating Emily Dickinson for small groups of people, over tea. It would be as if you were in her house visiting. The “audience” would determine the flow of the conversation by asking Emily questions. I’d be dressed up. I’d have things ready to say, if questions didn’t arise. And I’d draw on my vast knowledge of the details of her life to answer questions as best I could. I’ve seen people do this with Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain. But I’m particularly suited to do it with Emily Dickinson. And once I got good at it, I could earn some money that way in addition to music lessons. I tried this out a few years ago in Fresno at a Friends of the Library fundraiser. I think people enjoyed it, though I was a little late getting into character. A lady asked me “When were you born?” and I promptly said, “1970,” not realizing that we had started already. Oops. 1830. That’s when I was born. December 10, 1830.
Three weeks now until Christmas vacation. Here we go.