Friday, 4 September 2015


Pic: Emily Dickinson Museum

Emily Dickinson's bedroom in The Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts, has been restored. I have visited Emily's room three times in the last couple of years and each time there was progress. Once our Emily Dickinson International Society meeting in August was finished - the house is extremely busy for it - the team hung the specially made wallpaper, reconstructed from scraps. It was lovely to see the room almost done but I felt a pang at not seeing the finished effects. I will just have to go back asap.

I had seen a scrap of the wallpaper while researching the novel and I described it like this, in Emily's voice: 'Under its foliage and roses, my wallpaper is filled with arrows, each of them pointing the same way around the walls of my room, from east to west and on eastwards again. The arrows tell me to complete my circle as I begin it. For life – and writing – is a never-ending loop of begin, push on, end, begin again. I usually take comfort from the arrows’ instruction on the inevitability of beginnings and endings, but today has not been like any day I have had before.'

You can read more about the two-year restoration project at the Emily Dickinson Museum's site here.

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