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with Death Reviews
If you will cling to Nature, to the simple in Nature, to the little things that hardly anyone sees, and that can so unexpectedly become big and beyond measuring; if you have this love of inconsiderable things and seek quite simply, as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory for you, not in your intellect, perhaps, which lags marveling behind, but in your inmost consciousness, waking and cognizance. You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. Perhaps you do carry within yourself the possibility of shaping and forming as a particularly happy and pure way of living; train yourself to it -- but take whatever comes with great trust, and only if it comes out of your own will, out of some need of your inmost being, take it upon yourself and hate nothing.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To a Young Poet
Growing up with Language
At the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival Eleanor Wachtel interviewed the American writer, Lydia Davis. Both of Davis’s parents were writers and her father taught at Columbia University. Wachtel asked her what it was like growing up in that environment:
It made you very self-conscious. . . But we couldn’t really say anything after a while – I mean after a certain age; I imagine at three I didn’t mind – but at a certain age we couldn’t speak without being aware of how we were saying something, how it was being phrased, as well as what we were saying. So if we made a sort of clumsy repetition, one of them might very well point out, sort of lightly with a smile, but it was a very language saturated household . . .
. . . my father would consider very carefully what I had said and that made me feel very insecure. I don’t know if this is a good example, but I remembered it just the other day. When he was in the nursing home – you know how you want to say the things that you don’t want to have forgotten to say . . . our family was not, as you can imagine, given to spontaneity – I said to him, “You’ve been a very good father,” I just wanted him to know that, and he said, “In what respect?”
Source: Brick Magazine