Step One: Find someone to send your submissions to.
Emily Dickinson chose to send a few of her poems to social reformer and writer, Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
Step Two: Sit down to write query. When addressing it, be blunt. Emily simply wrote, “Mr. Higginson,”
Step Three: Begin query with rhetorical question.
Emily decided upon, “Are you too deeply occupied to say if my verse is alive?”
Step Four: Compose letter.
MR. HIGGINSON,–Are you too deeply occupied to say if my verse is alive?
The mind is so near itself it cannot see distinctly, and I have none to ask.
Should you think it breathed, and had you the leisure to tell me, I should feel quick gratitude.
If I make the mistake, that you dared to tell me would give me sincerer honor toward you.
I inclose my name, asking you, if you please, sir, to tell me what is true?
That you will not betray me it is needless to ask, since honor is its own pawn.
Step Five: Compose this letter in a large, looping penmanship that is difficult for anyone to decipher.
“It was in a handwriting so peculiar that it seemed as if the writer might have taken her first lessons by studying the famous fossil bird-tracks in the museum of that college town.” (Amherst). – Mr. Wentworth Higginson
Step Six: Decide this difficult to read, rhetorical-begun query is so brilliant that you don’t even bother signing your name.
Mr. Higginson later said, “The most curious thing about the letter was the total absence of a signature”
Step Seven: Decide you’d better include your name somewhere. Just in case. So scribble it on a card using the the same large, loopy handwriting.
Step Eight: Stick your work inside the card. Emily enclosed four poems. Send whatever you wish.
Step Nine: Seal envelope. Address it to person’s home address. Emily mailed her poems to Mr. Higginson’s house in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Step Ten: Put on sneakers, prepare to head out to the Post Office, when a creeping thought enters your mind:
Perhaps times have changed.