SINDA NICHOLS: Have Suitcase Will Travel

December 2011 Archives

Happy Birthday Emily

posted December 9, 2011

Dear Emily,

Such a buzz in the air – can you feel it? Your birthday is just around the corner. All sorts of activity and hustle bustle are going on in Amherst. Not only are they planning a Birthday bash, but they are also hosting a Candlelight Soirée in your honor. Sounds like heaven. I wish I could be there, especially if a soft snow began falling. And all on a Full Moon. Ecstasy.

I shall be celebrating your special day on an island off the coast of Florida. No, I’m not going to sit alone in my room all day and write poetry.  I’m going to do something a bit more public. No, I’m not going to put on the costume and walk about downtown Historic Fernandina Beach, although that is a rather interesting idea – maybe next year. In honor of your 181st Birthday I am going to “dwell in possibility” and “find ecstasy in living”.

Those two phrases of yours are a few of my most favorite moments in the play. I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about them in the last year. When I began feeling overwhelmed about this project and whether it would “fly” or not I often found myself coming back to these words of yours. Your bravery and willingness to focus on the joy of life, and on the simplicity of the natural world was a great inspiration to me.

Exactly one year ago on your birthday, “The Belle of Amherst” came to life on Amelia Island because of an extraordinary group of people. And in the past year, we have brought your life and poetry not only to other theatres here in Florida but also to Ireland and Wisconsin. It’s been fascinating to see how much people gain from your life, wisdom and humor all these many years later. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Happy Joyous Birthday Emily.

With love from your friend,


PS You know that poem that begins, “This is my letter to the world that never wrote to me”?