*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Art is… a longest road through life, and when I think how slight and beginnerish what I have done till now is, I am not surprised that this production (which resembles a strip or half-tilled field a foot wide) does not sustain me. For plans bear no fruit, and seed prematurely sown does not sprout. But patience and work are real and can at any moment be transformed into bread. ‘Il faut toujours travailler,’ Rodin said whenever I attempted to complain to him about the schism in daily life; he knew no other solution, and this of course had been his… To stick to my work and have every confidence in it, this I am learning from his great and greatly given example, as I learn patience from him: it is true, my experience tells me over and over that I haven’t much strength to reckon with, for which reason I shall, so long as it is in any way possible, not do two things, not separate livelihood and work, rather try to find both in the one concentrated effort: only thus can my life become something good and necessary and heal together out of the tattered state for which heredity and immaturity have been responsible, into one bearing trunk.
Therefore I shall determine my next place of abode, all else aside, from the point of view of my work and that only. I want this the more, since I feel myself in the midst of developments and transitions (changes that affect observation and creation equally), which may slowly lead to that toujours travailler with which all outer and inner difficulties, dangers and confusions would really be in a certain sense overcome.. for whoever can always work, can live too, must be able to.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, Translation by M.D. Herter Norton
Comments are welcome!
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Interviewer: Do you have any unfinished poems that you look at occasionally?
T.S. Eliot: I haven’t much in that way, no. As a rule, with me an unfinished thing is a thing that might as well be rubbed out. It’s better, if there’s something good in it that I might make use of elsewhere, to leave it at the back of my mind than on paper in a drawer. If I leave it in a drawer it remains the same thing but if it’s in the memory it becomes transformed into something else.
Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews 2nd Series, edited by George Plimpton and introduced by Van Wyck Brooks
Comments are welcome!