Possibility

Been feeling a lot of possibility in my life. Not possibility about anything specific: just the sense that life contains so many unknown unknowns. It’s a very pleasurable feeling. Sometimes I get a bit depressed and start to think of life as being very bounded: I know pretty much what it has to offer. And other times I am swept away by how little I know of life and of the future. There’ve been other times in my life that were filled with expectancy, but in those cases, I always associated the feeling with something specific: am I going to sell a story? am I going to win this contest? am I going to get into an MFA program?

In every pursuit, there’s the gathering-up of possibility and then there’s the waiting. The gathering-up is the application process, the submissions process, the writing, the researching of markets, the pondering where to live, the imagining. And while that’s not always pleasurable, there’s always something expansive about it: the gathering-up makes life seem bigger and more super-charged with meaning.

But there’s also the waiting. That’s the part that sucks. It’s when you’ve set plans into motion: the applications are out, the submissions are in, etc. And now you’re just waiting for something to happen. This is always horribly anxious, because there’s nothing you can do and because you already know all the possibilities: you can sell or not sell, you can get in or not get in. And whichever one happens, it’s always a known quantity, there’s nothing magical about it. Getting it isn’t that great, because you’ve already dreamed it into your life. And not getting it is horrible because, in some sense, you’ve already been living with it for months.

Right now, I feel like I am living in the spirit of the gathering-up. There’s nothing specific that I am waiting for. I’m living each day and pursuing ideas as they come, but I can also feel the presence of the thing that I can’t imagine. I know that sooner or later something will come along and it will utterly change my life. But I have no idea what it will be. It could be anything! All I know is that it comes along every 3-6 months or so. And that thing, more than any fiction sale or fellowship acceptance, is what excites me. And I hope that as long as I keep this sense of possibility, then I can avoid falling back into the angst and anxiety of the waiting.