Solitude is my Dragon
September 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
I am aware I haven’t written for a while, and it eats at me. I do not write because I think I don’t have anything worth sharing, but tonight I do. My friend Amy reminded me to read Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, and I will a few lines from letter eight:
“I believe that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension that we find paralyzing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings that has entered into our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for an instant taken away; because we stand in the midle of a transition where cannot remain standing. For this reason the sadness too passes: the new thing in us, the added thing, has entered into our heart…We could easily be made to believe that nothing has happened, and yet we have changed, as a house changes into which a guest has entered. We cannot say who has come, perhaps we shall never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters into us in this way in order to transform itself in us long before it happens. And this is why it is so important to be lonely and attentive when one is sad: because the apparently uneventful and stark moment at which our future sets foot in us is so much closer to life than that other noisy and fortuitous point of time at which it happens to us as if from outside.”
When B. broke up with me, I made plans every night of the week, and the week thereafter. I didn’t want to sit at home, alone and sad and I thought it was the best thing to do. I have been desperately clutching after people and love and experience day after day, and when I am home, I turn on the T.V. for company. I thought I was happy being single–my year between being divorced and meeting B.–but perhaps I was just busy.
I met someone recently and choose to fall headlong. It was young and foolish, and I knew that, but I didn’t care. And now, that too, is done. Nevermind the reasons why it couldn’t have lasted, I did not want to give it up. I think: how do these crazy things happen to me? They don’t happen, I make them happen. I am impatient and quick to give up my solitude for relationship. And even Rilke says that love is good and loving another “is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks”, but I think I’m still in preparation. I am still learning. And I think I need to embrace solitude and sit with my sadness instead of running away from it. Rilke goes on to say, “…just remember that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself of foreign matter…but there are in every illness many days when the doctor can do nothing but wait. And this it is that you must now above all do.” And so I will wait, and pray for patience.
Ranier Maria Rilke says it much more eloquently than I do, and I don’t mean to be too dark and depressing, but I also find it comforting that this is what it means to be human. We are solitary and we must learn how to live with ourselves.
I feel as though I should bring up the topic of my novel. I don’t know how many of you readers are writers, but I tend to not write when I’m in the midst of emotional turmoil because when I write, I write the truth and sometimes I’m afraid of what I really believe, or what I want. Unfortunately for my book, this means I’m not sure what is going to happen with my protagonist because I’m not sure what I want with her, and could that mean I don’t know what I want with myself? Possibly. I had the thought today that I’d rather train for a 50 or even a 100-mile marathon than write this book. Running these days has been easy, but then again, I’ve been training hard and so perhaps I must do the same with my book.
It’s been a strange couple of days, months, years for that matter and I think I need to sit down and just be for a while. I will try to keep writing, at least in here as my record of thoughts about writing and being. I will leave you with these hopeful words of Rilke:
“…perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.”