Issue 8, January 2011
Dickinson Dreams of Lovecraft
by John "JAM" Arthur Miller
Would it matter if we all dreamed the same dream? Would we unite to build our own tower of babble? Perhaps reaching Saturn or even Pluto and beyond? And what about inner-space of the mind, with those troublesome neurotransmitters? Could we delve into our colons, our bowels, and ascend into our intestines? Could we go further into our stomachs and esophagi, climb out of our own mouths shouting, We're alive!?
Instead, we're stuck on Earth with broken dreams; stuck in dying cells that will turn to dust; stuck in flesh-bag bodies slowly deflating like spent dreams. Even Elvis and Madona had unfulfilled dreams longing to become God.
Just ask Lucifer.
Alas, the Writer. He works in solitude until his unappreciated masterpiece is finished. He goes from complete aloneness to public scrutiny by hitting the "send" key.
And the publishers wait.
Do they realize this is the Writer's heart? They are not like surgeons cutting with editorial scalpels, but botchers with cleavers. Emily Dickinson chose instead to die in poetic obscurity rather than risking the butchering of her soul. She's buried next to Lovecraft's heart beating Cthulhu power in the shadows over Innsmouth. Dickinson and Lovecraft.
What if they were born one hundred years later (or earlier)? What if what they wrote changed the face of the publishing world or created a new genre? How many undiscovered Emily Dickinsons are out there rotting in graveyards beneath crumbling epitaphs? How many Lovecrafts are wrestling with "things beyond the void" just to get their words in print?
In the end, it is the soul of the poet that propels him forward, but it is money that guides the publisher. "He edits to cut the cost of printing; waylays fiction that takes away advertising space. Who cares about the characters when a full-page equals six-thousand dollars?" The publishers are only pushing "safe" material—plot-driven page-turners.
And so, the wordsmith-artist born in the wrong century, or year, or day, pens his masterpieces only for himself
Emily's tears roil in the grave.
I am not a Dickinson or a Lovecraft. But I dream of writing to my heart's purest intent. And sometimes I dream of capturing the gist of something new.
What would it be like to paint van Gogh's Starry Night or Da Vinci's Sistine Chapel with words instead of brush strokes?
What would it be like to read such writing first, to be the first to hold its final printed form in your hands before publishing it?
What is it like to dream?