Out of all the salacious tales in Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads, the most memorable chapter for me was the one about Emily Dickinson. No juicy details, no scorn lovers. Just a few interesting facts about a truly fascinating woman. And as it turns out, I have a lot in common with the famous poet. Unfortunately for me, writing poetry isn’t one of them. But I like to think we’d still have lots to talk about.
Emily Dickinson was obsessed with her garden and often worked late at night, between midnight and 2am. She was reclusive and this was a good way to avoid chitchat with neighbours. I have always known that one day when I have a garden of my own, I’ll definitely become obsessed with it. I can already see the piles of reference books I’ll have on every type of plant and flower imaginable. And I can already taste the food I’ll make with the vegetables I’ll grow. Especially the zucchini loaf.
Emily Dickinson wore nothing but simple, long white dresses. She had seven of them, one for each day of the week. The only surviving garment from her closet was a white dress, called a “wrapper” at the time. She didn’t leave the house much so what was the point of having a huge wardrobe? While I can’t say that I wear the exact same thing every single day, I have to admit that at times I kind of wish I could. I’m a real jeans and t-shirt kind of girl and I wear a variation on that combo pretty much every day. And truthfully I’d probably wear more white except for the fact that I can’t seem to keep it that way for very long. I blame coffee.
Emily Dickinson loved to bake. In fact, her round loaf of Indian and Rye won second prize in the Amherst Cattle Show of 1856. So she not only enjoyed it, she was good at it too. She felt comfortable in the kitchen and would send her friends and family cakes as gifts. I always set aside some time on the weekend to bake something. And I’ve been known to give people I care about cookies for no reason at all. Emily Dickinson loved making gingerbread and coconut cake was a family favourite (you can find the recipes here and here). I made this coconut key lime cake recently. I’m sure she would have approved.
If you’re interested in learning more about the love affairs of some of your favourite authors, I’d recommend picking up a copy of Writers Between the Covers. But if you tend to blush easily, maybe it’s not the book for you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.