“If you trust in Nature, in what is simple in Nature, in the small things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: the everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling…”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Just today, reading a pocket-size copy of Rilke’s wonderful Letters to a Young Poet, I came across this lovely passage. It inspired me to ponder some of the many gifts that we as writers bring to the world:
We see “the small things that hardly anyone sees.” We call attention to what is “humble” yet “huge, immeasurable” — the everyday miracles of life that people so often overlook or take for granted. We see them with fresh eyes and make the world new again by giving people the chance to look at its joy and pain through our imagination.
We bestow a sense of meaning. In our stories or novels or plays, we find ways to bring a sense of order and coherence to happenings and feelings that often seem random and chaotic. If we are truly blessed, we summon up words and images that help people discover or recover meaning in their own lives. We make the universal personal and the personal universal.
We create worlds people can enjoy and escape to. When we usher people into the stories we spin, we turn straw into gold: We transport them to kingdoms and calamities and cloud-brushed moments they might never otherwise experience.
We nourish connection and the exchange of energy. When we invite readers to join us on our journeys, wherever they take us, we become fellow travelers, each with our own unique way of seeing the world. As authors and readers, we sustain each other.
We see the small and immeasurable, we bestow meaning, we create worlds, and nourish connection: These are some of the many gifts we have to offer. Let’s remember them as we all write on.