Yesterday afternoon I had the sweet luxury of sitting on my porch, re-reading the beginning of Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. Rilke was only twenty-seven at the time he penned these letters to a nineteen-year-old military school student who had written him asking for advice about becoming a writer. The following passage particularly resonated with me:
You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. 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. . . . (Letter One, 2/07/1903)
Sometimes it's important to bounce our ideas off others. (I do this with the women in my Creative Women's Business Group--see my 11/24/06 posting.) The key phrase in the above passage is "right now." When all is said and done, we are the ones who live with our choices.
Note: I came across Austin Kleon's wonderful cartoons when I Googled "Rilke." Kleon's bio describes him as "a writer and cartoonist" whose "Newspaper Blackout Poems have been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, in Toronto’s National Post, and all over the web." Visit him online at: www.austinkleon.com.