Saturday, July 20, 2013

What being an artist is all about

Here is a very short summary of quotes from the letters of Reiner Maria Rilke to a young poet (1903):

Your work must be independent from others' work.
You must not compare yourself to others.
No one can help you. You can only help yourself.
Criticism leads to misunderstandings and defeatism.
Work from the necessity and your compulsion to do it.
Work on what you know and what you are sure you love.
Don't observe yourself too closely, just let it happen.
Don't let yourself be controlled by too much irony.
Live in and love the activity of your work.
Be free of thoughts of sin, guilt and misgiving.
Be touched by the beautiful anxiety of life.
Be patient with the unresolved in your heart.
Try to be in love with the questions themselves.
Love your solitude and try to sing with its pain.
Be gentle to all of those who stay behind.
Your inner self is worth your entire concentration.
Allow your art to make extraordinary demands on you.
Bear your sadness with greater trust than your joy.
Do not persecute yourself with how things are going.
It's good to be solitary, because solitude is difficult.
It's good to love, because love is difficult.
You are not a prisoner of anything or anyone.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926) was born in Czechoslovakia and died in Switzerland. Considered the greatest modern poet in the German language, Rilke counseled the young poet over a period of five years. No evidence exists that they ever met.

There might be things that we will disagree with, but to some extent, I feel that they are true. It's important to learn from others, but we need to be ourselves first, and what we create, needs to be our own.
I find it amazing that we can learn till this day so much from advices that were given more than a century ago.

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