Words I saved, read, wrote down, and savored last week. From writing in the gush of the moment, to understanding the difference between patience and passivity, to throwing out numbers and ripening steadily, to how the softest thing can not be snapped.
I celebrated 32 years last Tuesday.
In a city I love, with people I love.
I feel much like the ripening tree that Rilke wrote of, below.
Reflections to come.
Happy Monday, friends.
“The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote – wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught.”
“Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.”
*I yelled loud Ric Flair wooo at this one*
“I have just realized that the stakes are myself I have no other ransom money, nothing to break or barter but my life.”
―Diane di Prima
“Do it; don’t judge it. The longer you do creative work, the more you realize mood has nothing to do with it. Artists are life processors. Life processors cursed with opinions. One day, we’ll like what we create. One day (more days), we will hate it. Keep on making things long enough and you will learn, to your embarrassment, that the good work and the bad are often not so far apart. In fact, some of your bad work looks pretty good. And some of your good work, well…
So you might as well just do it, and do it stubbornly, and do it all the time. Because mood is a slippery thing and what it tells you cannot be trusted—but process can. And process is the reward of patience.”
“Don’t confuse the end result with the process. Process is what gives us credibility. Just process. (And, yes, process takes patience.) As creative beings we must learn, and therefore practice, patience.
I do not mean passivity, which is frequently mistaken for patience. It is passivity that tells us not to fight for our work. It is passivity that takes “no” for a final answer. Passivity is exactly that: pass-ive. We take a pass on growth on our own behalf. Patience is very different. Patience is not the acceptance of weakness. It is the quiet, slow, deep funding of strength.”
—Julia Cameron, “Vein of Gold”
Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer will not come.
It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything!”
—Rainer Marie Rilke, “Letters to a Young Poet”
“The more you fail, the more you succeed. It is only when everything is lost and – instead of giving up – you go on, that you experience the momentary prospect of some slight progress. Suddenly you have the feeling – be it an illusion or not – that something new has opened up.”
“Nothingness can not be defined; the softest thing cannot be snapped.”
—Bruce Lee, “Toa of Jeet Kune Do”
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Your letter is precise, as always. Happy Belated Birthday, Nneka.
These words ministered to me today. Thank you for committing to this process and happy belated birthday!