How A TV Show Helped Me With My Most Recent Book

I recently watched a show called Dickinson – an entertaining and highly creative drama-comedy about the poet, Emily Dickinson. It turned out that I tuned in at the right time – right while I was editing the final draft of my book. Originally, my story’s concept gave me goosebumps – that’s how epic I imagined it would be. I believe it became that. Unbeknown to others, I was actually on the fence about deleting the whole thing entirely. It’s hard to explain, but I had reservations as to whether or not I wanted it released into the world. For the first time in my life as a writer, I wasn’t sure if the concept was that good or worried it might seem weird (or worse, dumb or overly simplistic). This is a rarity for me since every book I published prior was something I was proud to release and represent.

Once I started getting into Dickinson, the highly imaginative scenes and Emily’s mindset reflected much of my own. I don’t relate to her in every aspect, but as an author I felt the moods she had. It showed how cool it is to be weird – and it’s something you have to risk sometimes if you want to create authentic work. I realized how important the story was to me originally. Maybe it won’t be for everyone (What story is?), but it can be meaningful to some. I’m very glad Inspiration will be released soon.

Something else I found interesting was how Emily wrestled with the idea of fame in the show. A ‘spirit’ appeared to her who (caution: spoiler alert) she soon recognizes to be her brother’s friend – in the future. He comes to warn her about the danger of fame, because he sought glory by being a solider and ends up being shot on the battlefield.

His first line is “I am nobody. Who are you?” It’s based on one of Dickinson’s most famous poems.

Source: https://dickinson.fandom.com/wiki/Nobody

It’s interesting because more recently, especially in the past year, I’ve become more repulsed by the idea of fame. Not that there was ever a threat of me being famous per se. It takes a LOT of work for an author to be famous – even if I made it to 100 K followers on Twitter – only a certain percentage would be readers and I still wouldn’t be nearly as well-known as the big name writers out there. I took it as a sign that my aversion to being well-known in any sphere was justified and it’s okay to create simply for the love of it. There’s nothing wrong with being famous, but with fame comes more responsibility and more risks of being hated/trolled/etc. Not everyone has the capacity for that – and I’m drawn to the simpler life overall. I saw “Nobody”‘s appearance to Emily in the show as a warning to avoid fame and as a reminder that the path I’d like to take instead is the right one. When it comes to getting someone to listen up, there’s nothing quite like a Civil War soldier’s ghost to set you straight. πŸ˜‰

If you’re an author looking for some inspiration or if you’re looking for a new show to watch, Dickinson might be for you! I definitely recommend it. ❀

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