“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” -Emily Dickenson
I’m wondering what my expression was in class as I pictured a half-decapitated woman. I’m still wondering why Dickenson chose to word it that way; “physically”, instead of figuratively, and not explaining what “that” was. Probably, she felt “that” was a given, meaning the torrent of thoughts that flows out of an uncorked mind. I imagine that short of machete-ing, one could achieve the same affect with the aid of ADHD drugs, which would remove your precious, socially correct, politeness-above-all-else thought filter. Or if you didn’t have a filter to start with, that would also be helpful. Or maybe with Stephen Hawking’s thought-projector, but that might get awkward if it said something you only meant to think. Especially if you’re a normal human with inside thoughts to be kept inside. How does it know when to do what? Hawking-magic is the only explanation, but- I digress….
Maybe Dickenson literally had the feeling of headlessness when she wrote. That would be incredibly useful to a writer, to have no buffer between your thoughts and feelings and the outside world. No need to synthesize what’s in there into real, actual words. One could dream up a term paper, for instance. Or get rich by imperceptibly tweaking an existing story, copyrighting it, and making millions (I’m talking about you, Veronica Roth). No buffers. I’d love that. Usually.