"Go into yourself.
Find out the reason that commands you to write;
see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart;
confess to yourself whether you would have to die
if you were forbidden to write.
This most of all:
ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night:
must I write?
Dig into yourself for the deep answer.
And if this answer rings out in assent,
if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple
then build your life in accordance with this necessity."
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a young poet
Except, here I am. A barista with a blog and a Master's in counseling and no paid writing gigs to speak of.
But, my journey is for a purpose, just as it's been written. I can't tamper with the past, but I can embrace what I know today to the best of my ability and purpose to say yes to those opportunities that come to me in the future and ask to be written, as one of my favorite authors expressed:
"I believe that each work of art, whether it is a work of great genius,
or something very small,
comes to the artist and says,
'Here I am.
Enflesh me. Give birth to me.' "
~ Madeleine L' Engle, Walking on Water
And I know, now, not to quench this inner thirst that compels me to create with words; that I am a better person when I listen to this, when I write as I was created to. Some may refer to this as a 'hobby' if it is not supported by an income or full-time work, but I know better. I know that writing is more a part of who I am than what I do, that I finally learned that I don't need a title or position, paycheck or publication, to validate this truth.
I've dug deep and sat in the silent hour of the night and asked the question, and I know - I write because I must. Because stopping my words would be no easier than plugging a dam with a cork, and I cannot. In a very real sense, a part of me would die.
So this year, I ask another question: What will I do to say yes, to nurture what's been entrusted to my care as an artist?
And not because I need to - to prove myself or secure my worth - but because it's time to move forward, even a few steps, I'm going to begin writing separate pieces for a book. Not here, on this blog, but on my own. For years, the apparent lack of direction for a book to write has held me back from even trying. It's only now I'm reevaluating, to step out and test the belief that inspiration comes during the work, not before, and that the book I set out to write and the book that needs to be written may look very different. But venturing out into this unknown takes courage and humility and a sense of openness, to be taught by the very work itself.
It's taken the past three years of the life of this blog to start to find my voice - and it's still emerging - but I know myself as a writer better than I did when I first started here, with Beautiful Rubbish.
I can't say I know where this will lead in the next year, but simply choosing to build my life in accordance with this necessity is the first step of what may be a long adventure.
Joining back up for another year with a favorite blogger-writer of mine, Heather King, and the talented Tuesday's Just Write crew. Also, joining up at Emily Wierenga's inspiring blog for my first Imperfect Prose post.