I Read Rainer Maria Rilke’s ‘Letters to a Young Poet’.
I was put onto this book by Keith Buckley of ETID who recommended it on one of his social mediums along with the guiding point that read something along the line of “every writer or creative should read this book at take each letter to heart as if each one were written exclusively and personally to them.” That kind of power, that kind of written influential guidepost is exactly what I have often been seeking by putting so much out there by way of music review, music recommendation, poem, poetry collection, short story or novella. The more that I put out there, the more I eventually expect it to fall at the feet of someone so infinitely more skilled than me who will take me under their wing and say, “listen, pal. Here’s how you make this play.”
Rilke was trying to be that for Kappus, as their correspondence took on emotional and personal congruences, though Rainer Maria took on a far more global and universal approach, handing his correspondent sweeping threads of advice on how to approach solitude, writing, love and more. I believe this series of letters from Rilke in that I believe his intent to be so focused on getting the message across that being deliberate about your state of mind, being deliberate about the appreciation of your current ability, and being deliberate about the happiness/wellness you can find in individual circumstances (within and without your control) will all ultimately lead to serenity, if not true satisfaction.
I don’t know if I enjoyed reading this book in the sense that one enjoys a documentary or a broad and entertaining tale, but I do think that it is as Buckley suggested. This book, when written as a private and personal message to yourself, is something that will bring with it lots of reminders, small affirmations that will allow one to relinquish control and the sense of defeat to create something greater. To establish and build something from those feelings of inadequacy or self-imposed banality.
I would recommend this book to anyone who Makes, anyone who Creates, and to keep it on a shelf for revisiting. I don’t think you will be moved to tears, I don’t believe you will be rapt in dogmatic belief. But I do think you will find a calm and slow inspiration that will stick with you for years to come. It will grant small wisps of joy and reminder as you sit down to a desk or station to pull thought from the ether. When it feels difficult, when all feels as if every creation you have built before it was a sheer unlikely coincidence that fell more to chance than talent, you will think of this book.
And what’s more, I hope that this book will inspire one to write at least one letter, just one hand-written letter in a year to someone who inspires you or even to someone you wish to inspire. This type of totem of Belief in Another is exactly what we as creators need to pass to one another to ensure that great art, great work, great creations persevere.