Letters To a Young Poet

Looking for a topic to write about? Post A Day ideas not inspiring you? Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet should get your creative juices flowing. If nothing else, reading the letters will have you seriously thinking about your blogging practice.

I’ve excerpted a few passages to build today’s post around.

“Draw near to nature…write what you see and experience, what you love and lose.”

As a poet, I think I’ve written my best poetry about nature. It is so much larger than me. So much larger than any indignation I may want to rant about in rhyme. I’ll post some of my older nature poems….soon. Meanwhile, there are these latest ones about the seafront here in Hove.

“If your everyday life appears unworthy, do not complain to life. Complain to yourself. Lament that you are not poet enough to call up its wealth. For the creative artist there is no poverty – nothing is insignificant or unimportant.”

“There is no poverty.” No indeed. Perhaps we poets haven’t houses to call our own, nor all the trappings that come with the material wealth that many others take for granted, rather we have our wealth stored in our imagination. A veritable pot of gold.

It’s refreshing and reassuring for me to read Rilke’s words that for the creative artist nothing is insignificant, for I find life in all its simplicity and all its complexity utterly amazing. Is it all worthy of the time spent to write about it? No, but in the act of writing one finds gems. I was delighted to write my Bread Baking post and in the act of doing so, find the gem of my childhood kneading lesson. It gave me a good memory and gave me the idea to go back through my life and write all the good memories and in doing so create a life; but more importantly create a new perspective of my life – as like many poets and many writers and many artists, I do have a tendency to despondency. Ha ha ha ha ha!

“Go within and scale the depths of your being from which your very life springs forth. At its source you will find the answer whether you must write. Accept it, however it sounds to you…perhaps it will become apparent to you that you are indeed called to be a writer. Then accept that fate; bear its burden and its grandeur without asking for the reward, which might possibly come from without. For the creative artist must be a world of her own, and must find everything within herself and in nature to which she has betrothed herself.”

Forgive me for replacing the masculine pronoun with the feminine. But I like to remind women and girls that we too can be creative writers. It’s not just the domain of the masculine gender.

“Accept the fate of being a writer! Bear its burden…without asking for the reward!” How I have agonised over the living of those lines! Easier said than done. Much easier said than done. The hours one must spend alone to permit the savouring of life’s moments in solitary reflection. The utter aloneness one must experience to be driven to write down the thoughts, because if thoughts don’t get written down the only option is insanity, or driving friends and acquaintances mad with constant chatter. But more importantly, it is in the writing of the thoughts that the ideas come, to inspire the writing itself and when that is done, such satisfaction!

“You could greatly interfere with the process if you were to look outward and expect to obtain answers from the outside – answers which only your innermost in your quietest hour can perhaps give you.”

Ha! How many times a day do you check your stats? How much do you yearn for comments written by readers? Public acknowledgement that someone actually read what you wrote and thought enough about it to comment? How much energy do you put into promoting and publicising your blog when what you really should be doing is building it by writing?

“Build it and they will come.” Field of Dreams.

Or  does blogging change the nature of writing and make publicists of writers? Or make masters of publicity appear to be writers?




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