“I dwell in possibility,” wrote Emily Dickinson. I don’t know exactly what she meant by those words, but as a fellow writer and lover of gardens (sometimes I don’t dare call myself a real gardener), I have a few ideas.
For me, the words “I dwell in possibility” encompass a host of dreams, ideas, and that very special place where I used to be poised to write a story. I still go back to that place when I’m ready to write a new story, but now that I’m published, married, and have kids it takes more effort to clear my mind and, to be frank, my schedule in order to go back to dwelling in possibility. I like to tell aspiring writers not to rush ahead in pursuit of publication, lest they lose the magic of dwelling.
Sometimes, the words “I dwell in possibility” define other parts of my life, as well, not just writing or gardening. When I look at my children, I see that they constantly dwell in possibility and it enlivens me to think of the wide open road before them. So much possibility.
Then there are elderly people who make me see that I’m dwelling in possibility right now. Just when I think my marriage has reached its sweetest point (or sometimes most difficult), I see an older couple holding hands or dressed in twin shirts at Wal-Mart, their history together lined across their faces, and I realize that my marriage dwells in possibility. So much of our story hasn’t even been written yet.
I don’t know if I would enjoy the strict solitude that Emily Dickinson chose in her life, but I do think she discovered something that the rest of us take for granted. As we relentlessly pursue goals, make ourselves heard on Facebook, and try to keep up with our peers, we find we are finally where we wanted to be only to find it feels empty.
I suppose that winning the prize doesn’t mean much if we (I) forget the passion that first spurred us (me) to pursue it. Whether we are talking about art, writing, career, or even finding our identity, it can be good to dwell in possibility for just a little while, and sometimes, even longer if that’s what it takes.
In so many ways I’m glad God hasn’t shown me my story’s ending. I’m glad for the free will to dwell in possibility. In life and on paper, so much is unknown and I get almost as excited thinking about the story I’m about to write as the one I’m about to live.
Tina Ann Forkner is a freelance writer, blogger, owner of It Is What It Is and the author of the novels Ruby Among Us and Rose House. Learn more about her at www.tinaannforkner.com
Tina Ann Forkner
Author of Ruby Among Us and Rose House