You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. 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.
__Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters To A Young Poet
Although I had read Rilke’s Letters, I’m not sure I grasped what he was saying, other than on some sort of surface level. Once I started doing the Morning Pages, I understood a bit better, but I was still a long way from real comprehension. Like most individuals, I was uneasy about searching my own inner being, afraid of what I might find, if I were to find anything at all. But, I had committed myself to these pages, and was determined to do them. I even think that back then, I thought I could simply fill those pages with words and somehow avoid that more personal contact (it is only the fool who begins the journey).
In the classic story of the Hero’s Journey, the hero finds, and meets, many different people and beings. The most important of these might be the one called The Companion. That’s the person, most times the hero’s approximate age, or younger, who becomes his stalwart friend, watching his back, willing to give his all, a source of humor and fun, as well as a sounding board and balancing checkpoint in the decision making process. Think Ron Weasly to Harry Potter’s hero role.
I have already said that I found a gold mine in those twenty year old morning pages. I also found a companion who played all of the above roles and more. The story of how I came to know her and the wealth of inspiration she brought to me and that solitary endeavor, may be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/the-wild-child/
A hero always needs one, I have to agree.
Thank you Jeyna, I think all of us do,
Loved it, Elizabeth. And what a terrific quote from Rilke, above.
Sherry, am very slowly reading through his letters (found them translated online), but this quote holds so many levels of meaning for me, I think I could post it for a month and have something to respond to it with. It really is an eye-opener,
thank you for this post.
for sharing Rilke’s words.
for sharing your words on it.
I feel this lesson now after I published a poetry collection.
More i seeked others , more i was far from my own words ..
It can take a long time to learn that lesson, thanks for reading,
Yes, I loved it. Yesterday, I thought of my experimental painting teacher in college, I wanted to look him up on the computer, see what he was doing. I found his page and found that he had died two years ago. I felt shocked. Not him, no. I have always said to myself, I learned alot from him, he was a wonderful teacher. I asked myself, what did you learn? For awhile I couldn’t remember, but then I knew, he said, “Go home and paint.” It was difficult, I wasn’t ready, had no disicipline to be a painter, really didn’t know how at all…maybe the most important thing I had to learn, and it is something, one can only learn alone, by yourself. He was very important to me, and I will always keep him with me and will honor his memory.
Annell, you just reminded me of something. I’ve been thinking about someone from my past. Someone who did and meant a great deal for, and to me. Thought about googling his name to see if I might be able to find him. Then got busy somewhere else and forgot, until I came here and found your response. It took about ten minutes to find him, and am planning to call him tomorrow morning. Thank you for your story and for the very wonderful reminder,