Wednesday Wisdom is a segment where every week we will share a slice of wisdom from writers who continue to be our source of inspiration. We might share some excerpts from their interviews where they share their experiences or invite them to write to this space.
After all, in those lonely nights when you sit to bleed by the computer, you might need a sip of this wisdom to keep going!
Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.
This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose…
…Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty – describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember.
If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it.
Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. – And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.– Rainer Maria Rilke
About the author: René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke, better known as Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926), was a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist.
He is “widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets”. He wrote both verse and highly-lyrical prose.Several critics have described Rilke’s work as inherently “mystical”.
His writings include one novel, several collections of poetry and several volumes of correspondence in which he invokes haunting images that focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude and profound anxiety.
These deeply existential themes tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist writers.