|THE COMPLETE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON|
Whenever I complete a novel, I like to send a small thank you gift to my editor, Molly O’Neill, and to my agent, Jen Rofe, in order to let them know how much I appreciate their help. When I emailed the manuscript to Molly, she sent back the most thoughtful letter after reading it, suggesting ways to make it better. She has a way of wording things that make it seem as if the idea was mine to begin with. She’s very clever that way, as are all good and thoughtful editors. And Jen, she always tells me the truth of the matter, like when to start over and when to keep going, things I need to know but sometimes can’t see. I think all writers need an agent like this, truthful and honest, and forever pushing them to complete their best work.
Because this book was about poetry and destiny and how our lives unravel and then get put back together, I did my best to locate an old copy of THE COMPLETE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON for both Molly and Jen. I was able to find one collector’s edition on Amazon and one almost as nice on another website. Then I went through the book and found all of the poems I had referenced in DESTINY, REWRITTEN with a sticky note and wrote why each poem was special.
|sticky notes to mark the poems chosen by Emily's mother|
So next to the poem that Emily’s mother picked to celebrate her daughter’s first steps, I wrote, “This is the poem chosen to celebrate Emily’s first steps.” Next to the one chosen to celebrate her birth, I wrote, “This poem was chosen to celebrate Emily’s birth” and so on. I wrote them on sticky notes so they could be removed and so that the book would not be ruined. And then, to make it as special as I could, I included a copy of the inscription my own grandmother had written in the volume she gave me on my twentieth birthday, where she stated, “E.D. is a revered poet. Perhaps one day the same will be said of K. H. Happy Birthday - Gramma Eleanor” I inserted this inside the front cover, and then sent the books off.
|A birthday gift from my grandmother|
|A photo of young Emily, inside her book|
In my opinion, Emily Dickinson’s poems are simply beautiful. They imply deep thinking and reflection, and help the reader to understand ideas and beliefs they may not have thought of before. When my grandmother gave me this volume of poetry for my birthday, I read through much of it, marking my favorites. I later went through a poetry phase…my first attempt at real writing. I never would have thought that someday I’d write for middle grade readers. Which goes to show you that destiny is always there, a remarkable force that can curve along gently, continually showering blessings, or take a hard right turn when we least expect it, changing the course of our lives forever.
I want to say thank you to Molly and Katherine Tegen, to Jennifer, and also to my critique group, for helping me write this book, Bev, Jesper, Ernesto, Alan, and Sonja. (You know which parts you fixed!)