Alena Smith on hope

The season begins with a reference to one of Dickinson’s most famous poems, “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers.” And there’s a recurring image of Emily seeing a bird, even when she returns from the underworld in episode eight, in a way that’s a bit creepy. What does hope mean to you in the context of the show?

What do we do with hope? I have not figured that out for myself. There was a quote I wrote down from a climate activist, Mary Annaïse Heglar. She says, “I think hope is really precious, and the most precious thing about it is that you have to earn it. Usually, when people are asking me what gives me hope, what they really mean is ‘give me hope,’ and I can’t do that for you. You have to go out and make your own hope.” It’s about the fact that hope becomes an activity. This season is about the role of activists and artists doing something that is different from activism, but also necessary. It’s always an active process of creating the future, but the onus is on us. Especially with something like climate. Are we trapped? Stuff is gonna keep on happening, so we have to keep acting within that. I don’t know. I don’t think I have a lot of hope! [Laughs]

In line with climate, perhaps, there is so much of Emily gardening in this season. That’s something she wrote about in her poetry, but for a show made during a pandemic, there was something especially poignant about that kind of activity.

Maybe that is an answer to the question I was just fumbling over, because how much bigger can our impact be than our little garden?

Alena Smith Closes the Book on ‘Dickinson’ (via)