The Soul of the Matter: Forever is composed of nows…

I’m hearing from readers each day who’ve enjoyed the Emily Dickinson poetry quoted in my Christmas novel. Now that we’re officially moving into the holiday season, I’ll be chatting weekly about the words of hers that I chose to be this project’s emotional touchstones. So, join in in the comments if you like. Sit back and just listen. Throw your hand in the air because I’m going on and on and on. It’s all good to me. I love the sensations and images that flow from ED’s words so much, I’m equally as excited to talk to myself as I am an entire room of readers. So, this Tuesday thread’s for me…and you, if you’re as obsessed as I am ;o)

 forever is composed of nows

The beauty of Emily Dickinson, is that while an entire poem might not resonate with you, there are kernels of amazingness in practically everything she wrote–most of it never published in her lifetime, because she couldn’t bear to be around people, to know their thoughts about her work, or even to look herself too closely at what she saw as prose that were full of prose. She wrote and rewrote and hid away everything she penned, drilling deeper and deeper into an idea until she discovered a “now” that said exactly what she wanted it to.

Forever is composed of Nows
‘Tis not a different time

If forever (all the tomorrows there would ever be) were the same as now, and time lost its power over what we chose to do and what we put off or avoid forever, what would we be today? If yesterday and all the things we’re running from, or remembering fondly as if  the past were better than what we have now, were today, then what would our decision be about how to live this now.

I’m playing with time in Christmas on Mimosa Lane. We travel back and forth to the past and present and back again with each of the story’s central characters. What they’re learning, I hope, is what ED is saying in this poem. That we are what we are now, and we are the compilation of all that we were and will be–and how that affects who we choose to be now. There is no difference in time. There is no before or “to be.” There is now and what all the moments of our lives combine to be in us in the place we currently are.

dali melting clock

We chose our future. That’s what I discover in her words. It’s what I’m saying in this story, I hope. We can let the past hold us back, or fear future hurt or disappointment so much, that we don’t become what we should today. Or we can live beyond the control of time.

From this experiences Here
Remove the Dates to These
Let Months  dissolve in further Months
And Years exhale in Years

Here is where we live. It’s the possibility we either create or destroy. Months will dissolve away and years will exhale, die, and give birth to more years, with our without our presence within them. But while we’re here in this experience, what will our now be about? Are we ready to become the forever we were made to be, or will clinging to tightly to time that’s come before or might soon be become our excuse for not trying.

So many of the characters in Christmas on Mimosa Laneare at first choosing not to act, or running from choices they need to make. This snippet of ED’s poetry seemed perfect for introducing an early chapter where characters who were longing for a perfect Christmas were each and every one doing EXACTLY what they needed to be doing to prevent that happy holiday from happening.

The question I pose with this poem–perhaps the same question Emily Dickinson was asking when she wrote it–is are these wonderful people ready to make the hard choices they must to live these moments they have now to their fullest?

Do I, I’m asking myself as I read that chapter again.

Do you?

Happy first of December later this week, my friends. Next Tuesday, more Emily Dickinson musings ;O).

Until then:

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