“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
The Austrian poet Rainer Marie Rilke, who I adore and love and not just because we come from the same country, wrote this beautiful text so long ago. He died in1926, almost hundred years ago, yet what he wrote still fits in today’s world.
I read the text when I was in school, it didn’t mean anything to me then. I stumbled over it later on in life -still no meaning. I wasn’t a writer, knew I never would be. Not everybody who can hold a brush is an artist -my humbled opinion- not everybody who can type or hold a pen is a writer.
Interestingly enough, now Rilke’s words speaks to me. I started my blog because I needed to share all my newfound wisdom of my life when I quit smoking. I needed to write and answer my own questions because I was afraid I would burst otherwise. It wasn’t the writing, it was the possibility to share that attracted me to blogging. To be honest, I wanted to be found. I wanted to cure the world of cigarettes, hoped to turn chain smokers into ex-smokers like me.
I wanted praise for my glory. A steady pat on my shoulder -nothing else would do. I started something, I needed to finish it. My blog helped me to stay smoke-free.
But something happened, in the middle of writing and using and abusing my blog to my liking, I fell in love with writing. I don’t share it all, mainly because the most interesting stories seem to fly by late in the evening, even in bed right before I fall asleep. I don’t remember them all the next day, or I decide they aren’t interesting enough to be brought to paper. Nevertheless, the urge, the will, the desire to write has been awakened and it scares me.
In what language should I write? And why me? And what should I write about?
Could I live without writing? Of course, but I would miss something and I would have to talk more -and according to the husband- I talk too much the way it is. (I don’t think so.)
The only reason that I haven’t closed my blog is my newfound love for writing. So much to share. (Really?)
Just the other day I thought about people, all the interesting people I was fortunate to meet in my life. I would love to write short stories about them. They deserve it -and they deserve a better writer, but most of them are dead, so they really can’t object to me writing about them.
But who would want to read about the married nun, or the man who died with a piece of chocolate in his mouth, which was the perfect way to go.
Even fiction comes to my mind. Writing, what a strange urge it can be.