Prompt 149: I Dwell in Possibility
A prompt on unknown joys
I love when the weather dictates how you spend your time.
It’s been raining for the last two days—steady, cool showers that have turned the world around me moody and peaceful. The drone of the cicadas has quieted (thank heavens!). The dogs have gone still, and I’ve found myself doing the same. I feel like I don’t have much to say right now, don’t have much to give, and I’m certainly not feeling creatively inspired.
Instead, I’ve found myself tending to my home. This morning, I went out in the chilly drizzle to buy firewood, then stoked the woodstove in my kitchen to a cheery blaze—even though it’s almost June. In moments like these, where I feel spent, where the toll of pushing myself too hard is impossible to ignore, I anchor myself with small chores like sweeping the porch and straightening the living room. I drive to the store to grab ingredients for this bibimbap, then delight in washing the kale, slicing the onion, chopping the sweet potato into perfect half moons.
My friend Liz likes to say that doing little chores like folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher before bed is a gift for your future self, for whatever possibilities that next day will contain. I like to think right now, as the rain falls, as I do little more than clean my house and cook simple dinners and spend time with my beloveds, a whole future of possibilities is opening up.
Today we have a gorgeous prompt from the artist Rhonda Willers, asking us to dwell in such unknown possibilities. May it bring you unexpected joys.
Elbow deep in dish suds,
P.S. Today at 1pm ET, I’ll be hosting the brilliant writer and teacher Melissa Febos for a Studio Visit. We’ll be talking about breaking rules, broaching taboos, the craft of writing, and more. You can join us by becoming a paid subscriber.
149. I Dwell in Possibility by Rhonda Willers
Many years ago I asked a five-year old boy the very mundane question, “What’s your favorite color?”
I’m an artist, and it’s one of my go-to ice breakers with children. It always gets the conversation going, and we explode into all kinds of art talk from there. But this young boy’s profoundly wise answer stuck with me. “I love all the colors,” he said. “Even the ones I don’t know about yet.”
The idea of loving unknown possibilities fills me with the biggest joy; it thrills me. It reminds me of when I first met my nephew, just hours after he was born, and then again when I gave birth to my own children. An instantaneous, deep love radiated through me. I remember thinking, “I love you, and I don’t even know you.” I often experience this kind of instantaneous excitement, joy, even love while working in my art studio. The moment of creation is so delightful, I find myself laughing in pure bliss.
Emily Dickinson wrote, “I dwell in Possibility.” When we think about our futures, what might be our unknown possibilities for joy? I know for certain I will meet more people I instantly love. I will be so enthralled by a future creative idea that I’ll need to drop everything and begin immediately. I will see the magic in a foggy morning and love that moment even though it has yet to come into being.
Your prompt for this week:
Consider all the unknown possibilities for joy. What will thrill you? What might you love that you don’t even know about yet? What are you certain there is more of?
Rhonda Willers is a visual artist, author, and mother. Focusing on fragility, space, and subtle strength, she works with repetitive forms and markings to elicit thoughts of time, spiritual spaces, and rituals. Her diverse art practice includes ceramics, mixed media, drawing, painting, and time-based interactive installations and experiences. Rhonda lives and works in rural Elk Mound, Wisconsin, with her husband, three children, one old cat, Bob, one young cat, Cookie, and a crayfish named Shelley. Follow her on Instagram @r_willers.