“The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater thing”.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Dear writer and artist,
I hope that the mountain you may be facing
will not be too hard to climb.
I hope that today you will
write or draw or paint your way
through whatever barrier seems to be in your way.
And while you are at it try to remember that this
is the struggle that makes life worth living.
If you feel alone and unloved
from lack of recognition,
or if you are thinking
that no one really cares what you do
I hope you will not let those thoughts
dictate how you care about what you do.
And if you think that your stories
will never find their way beyond your laptop
Or that your music will go unheard by anyone
but your disgruntled neighbours–
or that your paintings will never
hang in a gallery–
I hope that you are strong enough
to keep working anyway.
As for me I am ploughing down this path even
though I have no idea where it leads.
And even though I am afraid-
shaking in my boots afraid–
that the piece I am working on
is not going anywhere-
that it’s rubbish-
that the structure is flimsy
that the plot is weak–
none of these fears are
really all that threatening.
I mean they are not some kind of
intractable evidence of impending failure.
Because fear is not evidence of failure.
Fear is not a reliable predictor of an outcome.
Fear is just fear.
The only remedy is to encourage myself
to do what I love–
in spite of the way that fear
makes me hate it sometimes.
To open the laptop and face the screen–
even when fear makes me feel I have nothing
to say, is the first step I must take down the fearless
path– every day even if all I write
is a blog post to tell myself not to be afraid.
I can’t see what’s around the next bend–
I won’t turn back.