What is your “must”?

by Starla J. King on March 9, 2011

I write because I must.  

Not must in the “ugh, I am forcing myself to do this” sort of way.  I’m talking about must in the “it’s an inseparable part of my being” sort of way.  

I’m talking about must in the Rilke sort of way:

There is only one single way.  Go into yourself.  Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. 

This above all — ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night; must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer.  And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple, “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet

Even typing the words “acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write” brings tears to my eyes.  Because YES, my answer is YES!

That is why I have a fountain pen nib tattoo on the inside of my (writing hand) wrist.   And why I started this business.   

What is YOUR writing — what is that thing, that experience, that dream that might, just might, be exactly what you are supposed to do, supposed to BE?

We all have a purpose, you know (um, you DO know, right??)

“There is only one single way.  Go into yourself.  Search for the reason that bids you [fill in your blank]. ”   

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nona March 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Oooh, I love this. I feel the inner imperative with many things – writing is one, but it feels like it’s a part of a bigger whole. That “must” of teaching and sharing and bringing clarity and light into the world wherever I can.

That is my must – I’m sure I fail sometimes, but I must keep going. I can’t do anything but.

Beautiful, Starla.

xoxo.n

Reply

Starla J. King March 10, 2011 at 7:47 am

Nona, I love your “must” — and how clearly it comes through in your writing.

My writing is a MUST in and of itself, AND it is part of that bigger whole you mentioned. Excellent reminder and clarification for me there!
xo
Starla

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