Because it Always Comes Back to the Writing…

The paragraphs following this one duplicate part of a post from The Daily B. I’ve been trying not to do this in my endeavor to keep my little collection of “writing posts” separate from my collection of “life posts,” but this section seemed to straddle the line pretty evenly…

After many more years than you would think–considering I identify as a writer–I am at last reading Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. Rilke says (to the young would-be poet):

“…acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all–ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? Delve into yourself of a deep answer. and if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.”

I like to think if it were denied me to write, I would probably not die. I would find something else to do, but I’m not sure. I think my first instinct would be to write about the experience of having writing denied to me. And I have, for better or worse, built my life as if it were a necessity, even as I propose it is not a necessity. So perhaps I am the delusional alcoholic who says, “I can quit whenever I want.”

 

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