The Slow-Cooked Sentence

A resolution

Rachael Conlin Levy

Excerpt from “Letters to a Young Poet,” by poet, novelist and art critic Rainer Maria Rilke:

You ask whether your verses are good. You ask me. You have asked others before. You sent them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are disturbed when certain editors reject your efforts. Now (since you have allowed me to advise you) I beg you to give up all that. You are looking outward, and that above all you should not do now. Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest laces of your heart; 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 your answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you must 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.

Three habit-building tools:

2 responses to “A resolution”

  1. I like the idea of keeping my goals to myself!

  2. Thank you for sharing this Rilke piece. I watched Derek Sivers on TED too. Very interesting. This happens to me. I just feel this overwhelming pressure to report my plans. Ah! I'm addicted. I was just about to tell you about how I plan to… Nope, not doing it.

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