|The Soul selects her company...|
August 13, 2004
Oh, sure, I know the correct words to this poem. However, the long-legged, sun-toasted fourteen year I used to be, for some reason, when she first had this poem read to her, understood that first line ("Kind of like a hook?" I remember asking the LearnedOne who was guiding me. I knew lots of that jargon from the musicians that hung around the music store) like this: Society... was a fancy, ten-dollar word for Company. Heehee. As I grew older, I finally began to really understand what Society truly meant...but back then, I just thought it was like having company. Company...people that visited, came over, spent days with, shared things with.
Made perfect sense to me. For some long time, I was totally obsessed with Emily Elizabeth Dickinson...hanging out in dusty libraries' biography sections, researching not only books on her, but anything I could find about her father, Charles Wadsworth and Thomas Wentworth Higgerson. (I once named one of my teddy bears, Thomas Wentworh Higgerson...don't know why really. By the time the boys were playing and sleeping and wrestling with him, I had just shortened his name to T. W. Higgerson. No one EVER figured out the significance of that name and I didn't mind.)
Actually, at the time of my introduction to Emily Dickinson, after I read and re-read that poem...and here I'll put just the beginning lines to help my focus:
The Soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door,
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.
I had to bite back my impulse to quote some paragragphs from GoneWithTheWind ...for two reasons, I almost choked myself to keep those utterances from leaving my mouth: One: Everyone knew GTW was not a serious novel, right? and Two: This person actually taught at the College. (I don't know for certain if was a full Professor or a humble teaching assistant or what. Still don't.)
Well, since I'm just talking with myself here, I really should try and be totally honest...there was a third reason why I didn't mention or quote the passages from GTW: I'd be revealing myself, really allowing someone to see, and that was the only way I could put it into words. For that was the biggest taboo of all...allowing someone to really, truly see me.
Of course, there was only about a million reasons why I had come to believe that before I was fourteen years old. I could still recall vividly, the upset a simple little English paper had caused. I couldn't help it, I totally understood George Ashely Wilkes' words...from about page 518 to the first two paragraphs of page 521. (And oh, how I wished/wanted for Scarlett to HUSH and allow poor Ashley to speak. Heehee.)
So, back then, after my little observation about hooks caused a fierce, humiliating blush, I hushed and almost grabbed the book from that educator's hands. He stood up, and I was sure, NOW going to have me tossed out of the library in some horrid, public, scandalous way...but he didn't. He simply smiled a bit (Ruefully? Sadly? Kindly? That's one of the things about certain shades of blue-eyes: One can't read them at all!) and repeated his words about how one can educate yourself all by yourself...simply by reading. ( HA! Like I suspected.)
Now, looking back...I suspect the dreams last night were brought about the back-to-school atmosphere, complete with cool nights and red just beginning to touch the maples...I get soooo tickled at myself...fourteen years old, trying mightily to chart the course of her life.
I knew what I wanted by the time I was twelve. In my mind's eye, that life shone like a beacon on a hill. I watched and observed the Adults and Grown-Ups around me all the time...even the ancient oldy ones and especially, those old ones sort of in the middle. Cheri and I had long discussions about that...trying to figure out why So-and-So, at Thirty-something was such a miserable grouch or why Mr.InsufferableFormerJock was always soooo full of himself but, not to our tender eyes, happy .
My grandmother told me once, she mostly just wanted to be left alone...and I gazed about at her huge white house and its gardens, the rolling hills outside the window, the drive filled with cars and trucks spilling her friends and family...and suddenly I knew. She didn't mean that the way it could have been taken...she had been dealing with a group of people, the type she said minded everyone's business but their own, all that morning...by some sort of telepathy, I understood.
I understand it even better today. I am not by nature, a stand-offish person or reclusive or anything like that. I suppose it's that I just mostly don't care enough about things a lot of other people care about. That's why I keep my distance, that's why our home/house is a fairly sacred place and that's why I, and here I quote my MamaC. "Mind my own business and leave everybody's else pretty much alone."
Now, if only I could find out just exactly whom the person was in Emily's poems, that she addressed as "Master" truly is? Or get my hands on the poems that were destroyed or re-written by her nieces!