Emily Dickinson died in obscurity. Like H.P. Lovecraft, she changed the world through her words. I’d like to talk about her because she did what her heart told her to do; she followed liquid imagination flowing through her. Despite what editors told her, contrary to the “editing rules” of the day, she followed the liquid imagination flowing like a current through her heart. And damn the consequences.

emily-dickinson.gif Emily Dickinson image by georgan

Before I continue, let me explain what liquid imagination means to me. Despite my online magazine “Liquid Imagination Online,” and despite the print “Liquid Imagination Magazine,” those two words mean more than mere publications. At least, to me.

The word Liquid denotes a substance that changes in order to fill in the low spaces, like water.

Imagination is what artists use to create new works.

So Liquid Imagination is the current of creativity through a culture, subculture, or through the individual.

Surreal_World_2008_by_riolcrt.jpg abstract- world image by porro_x 

There is a reason that Emily Dickinson felt compelled to write as she did, and she allowed her creativity (liquid imagination) to flow through her. It is what separates her from her contemporaries.

Despite having only ten poems published in her lifetime, Dickinson became one of America’s most famous poets. Her topics are a Goth’s dream: spirituality, death and solitude. But she also wrote of the natural world with great insight, and she created new and daring idiosyncratic forms by brazenly dancing in the free verse of our minds.

emily_dickinson.jpg emily dickinson image by Megshea24

Dickinson was a recluse, and there are some strange things that occurred in her life, possibly deserving enough to fill tabloids with much speculation and adieu. However, not everybody believes Dickinson became a recluse because of eccentricity; some modern experts claim that Dickinson became a recluse so that she wouldn’t have to fulfill the mold of the single woman of her time.

In those days, if someone’s grandparent was sick, they would often find the “single woman” in town (the spinster) and request that the spinster watch over their sick grandparents or relatives. In those days, a single woman was used not just by the family, but by the entire community. Some modern experts believe Dickinson cultivated her reputation as a hermetic recluse in order that she could write.

And write she did. After her death from kidney disease at the age of 55, her family discovered 1,700 poems Dickinson had penned. Thomas Higginson (literary critic) and Mable Todd (family friend) recognized Dickinson’s talent. They edited her work according to the editing rules of the times, hurting the impact her poetry had upon the reader. They did this to make it FIT into the editing rules of the time, because they could not think outside the box, because they could not fathom the liquid imagination that had flowed through Dickinson, pure creativity compelling her to write from the heart and not according to editing rules.

The purity of her work wasn’t published until 1955, in its natural and original form.

The strange thing is that Dickinson had an opportunity to publish her work while she was alive. A friend who was an assistant editor of a literary magazine attempted to get her to “fix” her poetry according to the standards of the time. Dickinson stoutly refused. It’s ironic that Higginson and Todd “fixed” Dickinson’s poetry after her death, and by “fixing” her poetry, they detracted and lessoned the impact it had upon society.

emily.gif Emily Dickinson image by scrapperdc

Like Dickinson, I’ve decided to not “fix” my fiction according to the editing rules of my time. While I will never become a literary figure of grandiose achievement, I will follow in Dickinson’s example. I will post my fiction at a new blog. It will feature fiction that does not always follow the rules. The reason for this is not because of some silly attempt at post-mortem fame. The reason is to place my feet upon the path leading to my own liquid imagination, to delve within and denounce guidelines created by editors of publications. Because those guidelines are based on the creativity and liquid imagination of those said editors.

But what about my liquid imagination? What about my creativity?

I need to write for me and forsake the guidelines. I want to step outside the box. The dream lingers, the dream that says I need to steep myself into pure creativity and just wallow, to fly on the wings of this dream and just… soar.

e22bscd.jpg Soar image by nightlife001

I want to soar. I need to drown in liquid imagination.

box-4.gif outside the box image by shake69

So I’ll be creating my own writing blog. I guess I could use this blog, but this blog is to promote Liquid Imagination Online (www.Liquid-Imagination.com). It’s not my goal to slide into vanity press publishing by posting my own stories through any faucet of my own publication(s). My friend Brandon Rucker is about to do this very same thing, and he will call it “Rucker Files.” Doing this just feels right. I told my girlfriend that I have enough  publishing credits, somewhere around 70, and I don’t feel the need to do that any more. If I worked at it, I could exceed 100 publishing credits, and then go beyond that.

But for what purpose?

purposeofart.jpg Purpose of Art image by tobisneek

I have been honored to appear in “Necrotic Tissue” 3 times, and “Morpheus Tales.” I won Story of the Month at “SNM Horror Magazine,” and I’ve been interviewed around 10-12 times in either print, online or at blog-radio programs. All these things have been a great honor, and I am thankful.

IG1264.jpg Angel image by lova_03

But now I am moving on. Not for fame or fortune, but for something else entirely, something deeper and purer; I’m moving into the deeper waters, feeling compelled to bring my experimental fiction into blog-presentation where more readers can find it. Criticism and critiques will be welcome, life will go on, the world will continue to turn.

And in obscurity, my fiction (my stories, my babies) will die. But that is okay, because I am chasing a dream. This dream is a liquid current that flows outside the box, an intensity that often works beyond the standards or rules of any age. I want to capture that dream by latching onto something great, by grasping the phantasmic story that wafts through my mind along the currents of liquid imagination.

Alone.jpg alone image by L101O101S010T010

For me, it is my dream. I still have publishing dreams, and I will continue fulfilling those hopes. With 335,000-445,000 internet hits at Liquid Imagination Online (www.Liquid-Imagination.com) per year, and with interest from major distributors concerning our print projects, those dreams will more-than-likely come true soon. But my dream, my own personal dream… is just to breathe in the inspiration that comes floating down that current from the far country.

And then to bring it to life with my pen. To let it live and breathe. To raise it to full maturity and teach it language. Ask it to teach me when I’m older, and follow it down laden paths of gold and silver.

And then to die happy.

John “JAM” Arthur Miller

imagesinbubbles.jpg liquid imagination image by jazzsings57

  1. Debs says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you post, JAM. I really like the way that you’re pushing at the limits. How are readers’ reactions going to figure in? Would you, for example, be nudged into a direction by a positive reponse?

    Is you writiing going to be for readers, or is it going to be for art (both valid choices, I think, but different).

  2. JAM says:

    I honestly think I need to write for myself first, but only a fool would ignore readers. If there was something positive, I might like it but take it with a grain of salt (so to speak), because positive comments are plenty in the blogging communities. As far as art vs. capturing the readers’ attention and reaction, I can only think of Vincent Van Gogh. Like Dickinson, ignored in his lifetime but his work is shown in museums around the world now. My middle-son is named after this artist. Starving artists have no readers/fans/admirers to consider, and that is where I’m placing myself and my work: obsolete and ignored. If a readership is built around my stories, that would be great! But what I would really like to do is center my sights on something beyond, something lasting and lovely in prose and form. The only reason I won’t be submitting fiction to publications isn’t because I have no respect for them. It’s because their guidelines inhibit the experimentation(s) I want to do, for myself and for the ‘liquid imagination’ pouring through me. So while I would be most thankful for positive reactions from readers, the ultimate goal is creating things never-before-seen. Similar to the idea I had for that anthology I edited called “Novus Creatura: An Anthology of Never-Before Seen Monstrosities.” In that anthology I accepted literary works as well as speculative fiction, trying to push against the boundaires yet tie it all together. With that in mind, for example, what would be wrong with a story comprised of a beginning, middle and end… but set within the ‘beginning’ of a story. And maybe the ending is alluded to but never mentioned? Or what if two different styles of writing are used, say by two very different characters? Perhaps eyewitness accounts of the same event. One character writes in long-winding sentences, and the other is a plumber from the South who uses concise speech. What if I ended stories in the wrong place for emphasis, the way Dickinson used dashes and punctuation for greater emphasis?

    Basically, it all comes down to the dream: to go beyond and do something more.

    Thank you for responding, Deb. You are an awesome writer whose work I greatly admire.

  3. Linda says:

    I think that this is what art is all about. How can we find ‘new voices’ if everyone’s an impressionist?

    Cheers, John! Can’t wait to see your new work~

    • JAM says:

      Oh, thank you so much, Linda! I wish I could include your words in the BLOG post. Because those are absolutely awesome, citing what I wished to convey in as few of words as possible. Thank you so much for that!

      “How can we find ‘new voices’ if everyone’s an impressionist?”

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