Letters to a Young Poet Essay
At the beginning of the book, I found the book extremely hard to read. The language Rilke was speaking in was different and hard to understand. Some points I got but some I didn’t and it became very wishy washy. I found myself having to read the same poem over and over until I got a clue of what he was talking about and what his purpose of the letters were. Then he said something that really made me think and look inside of myself and come to my senses. He told the poet to quit looking outside of himself and to stop asking for approval and for acceptance of his art form and to not be afraid to make mistakes. He told him to simply look inside of himself and ask himself if writing is really what he wants to do. To find in himself the command to write and to find that impulse in his heart that commands him to write and to find within himself the need to write as much as he needs oxygen to live. This really hit me because ever since I was a little five year boy, I realized I wanted to be a performer and I have never wanted to do anything else to this day. I have this need to do my art form, I sing when I talk, I dance when I walk, It’s in my blood. And that is when I really connected with the book and really understood what his purpose was to write to this young poet. This book slowly started to change the way I thought letter by letter. It is the only book that made me think and to look inside of myself and question my ways of thinking.
I know that this book will have an effect on my art form, because it completely changed my outlook of things. One important point that really stuck out to me is to make mistakes, because that’s how we learn, but also to be proud of making mistakes and that it is simply a part of life and that it is necessary to be an artist. I have problems taking risk when it comes to my art form. I’m always trying to do it right and to impress others when I don’t need to do that. He said to not look for any outside criticism but to just do it for you, because you have to do it. Another great point that he made was to look inside of yourself for any unanswered questions you have about anything. He said they may not all be there right away, but as we keep growing, ripening and as we stay patient, the answers will eventually come to us, and to take that answer and use it. He continues to say look inside of yourself, because in the end we are the ones it’s about. We have to take the time to focus on ourselves. To find that love, that lust, the creativity, the artist, the being that we have. And to locate it so we can apply it to our craft and use ourselves instead of always looking for outside stuff. Rilke touched on life and art being difficult. How we must trust in the difficulty of life and use that as a reason to keep doing it. This really resonated with me because being an artist is probably one of the most difficult things. Its difficult because we have so much on our minds and so much to do and its tough to get work and acknowledgement and just difficult on our being altogether. But when we surpass the difficulty and reach success it makes us more proud of ourselves that we made it through and it really makes us thankful for the difficulty, because without it we wouldn’t really appreciate what we can do.
I know that in my collage career and that in life there are going to be plenty of difficult times in my life when I feel I can’t make it. But in the words of Rilke, I must trust it; I must trust that the difficulty will lead me to the light. Solitude: the state of being alone. Rilke mentioned this word in a couple of letters. How solitude can lead to so many things such as insecurity. That’s when I began to think again. I take being alone as a reason to start downing myself and to start creating all of these insecurities that not only blocks and creates problems in everyday life, but also with my craft. I use the loneliness to down myself when I need to use it to uplift myself, and to use the alone time to better myself. It is merely time to work on me, to continue to look inside of myself and do personal work. I also learned to be ready for everything, to experience everything and let it all in. We need to make ourselves open and ready for anything and to allow ourselves to have different experiences. When we allow ourselves to be open, we then experience relationships, love, and success. We have to let life happen. And through the openness we begin to receive confidence. Rilke said to trust that life is always in the right, all we have to do is just trust and not to doubt. As an artist it is easy to doubt. It is easy to doubt that our work is good; we doubt that we will get the job; we doubt that we are good enough. But instead of doubt we need faith. We need to keep the faith in ourselves and continue to stay confident and stand by everything we do.
Rilke also said to not just throw the doubt out, but to train it. He said to challenge it and demand proof of the doubt. And that if you train the doubt right, it can become a good quality instead of something trying to bring you down. I can really relate to the poet. I always want outside help with everything. And I have so many questions that I want answered and so many things I worry about with my personal self and with my art form. Rilke really shows the connection between the two and how they can both affect each other. He really helped me realize why I am here at Elon. I am here to work on myself and to better myself. It is important to have relationship with others and to have the outside activity, but Rilke pointed out that we are naturally solitary and that we need to use the solitude to work on ourselves. I came into this book expecting it to be boring and expecting it to not be fruitful. I didn’t think it was going to have anything to do with acting; I had no clue how the book was going to help me as far as acting. But the book took a complete left turn for me and really changed everything about me. It’s crazy how much this book really connects with acting and everything I have been learning so far this semester.
Not only was the book helpful in acting, but it included life lessons in the book and how to go through this crazy thing called life. It gave me advice on struggles I am currently going through as I adapt to college life and adulthood. It is the perfect book for me as a freshman to read as I start my new chapter of my life here in college. It changed my outlook on life and on my craft but also on myself. With the advice and the fruitful words of Rilke, I am now ready to really dig deep into myself and become the best artist and person I can be.