“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” ― Maya Angelou
I feel like I’ve bene hearing a lot recently about fear and about courage–universe, are you trying to tell me something? I feel like this quote about courage could apply not just to romantic love, but love for yourself or your work, too. Here’s to being courageous, one more time.
“You ask whether I should continue to write if no one but myself would ever see my work. There is no reason to believe that anyone will ever see any more of my work…We are likely to give many incorrect explanations for what we do instinctively. It is very easy for me to say that I write poetry in order to formulate my ideas and to relate myself to the world. That is why I think I write it, though it may not be the right reason. That being so, I think that I should continue to write poetry whether or not anybody ever saw it, and certainly I write lots of it that nobody ever sees. We are all busy thinking things that nobody ever knows about.”-–Wallace Stevens in a letter to editor Ronald Lane Latimer, from Letters of Wallace Stevens
We write because it’s what we do. We don’t write because it’s going to be published or win awards or get a million reviews. We write because we’re writers.
“…have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”–Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet
Since we’re in Jewish Book Month, it feels right to share another great poem from The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 by Peter Cole (translator). This one is by Meshullam DePiera, who was writing in the thirteenth century.
I love the intensity here–it makes me feel both cautious and powerful. Words matter, people.
From “The Battle of The Pen and the Scissors” by Shem Tov Ardutiel (Santob de Carrión):
I recently read The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 by Peter Cole (translator) and I loved coming across poems about the act of writing. Like in the one above, even though they were written literally hundreds of years ago, it was so cool to see how writers face the same frustrations and challenges.
So take it from Shem Tov Ardutiel–tomorrow’s writing doesn’t matter today. Focus on getting the work done now.