So. No, Rilke, I Am a Writer.

Photo by Alexa Mazzarello on Unsplash


When I was six, I decided to be a writer…

When I grew up.

I was a hippy child

And my tribe was not big on practice

So I had an idea

That someday….

I would be a writer

Then, I went to college

And decided that someday was now


I wasn’t any good at writing

I hadn’t been practicing


I thought I should be good

If I had talent


I wasn’t good


The writing wasn’t fun


The writing wasn’t Shakespeare

Or even

Nora Roberts

And then I read Rilke

Who said,

“Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write?”


“If, as I have said, one feels one could live without writing, then one shouldn’t write at all.”


I thought

Well!  I can certainly live without writing.  

I don’t really like writing.  

It is hard.  

And I’m not very good at it.

So I said

I am not a writer

And I went about my life.

Adventuring in many other ways

On other seas (at times in tallships).


And then one day

A friend was talking about running marathons

And he talked about how he noticed

That there were three kinds of runners

Those at the front for whom the running was all about winning and psyching out the competition

Those in the middle for whom the running was all about community and supporting others to keep going

and enjoy the struggle


Those at the back for whom the running was about finishing and

proving something to themselves


For some reason

I thought not about runners

But about writers

And writing

I suddenly saw that I had wanted to be the best

And win awards

And fame

(and money)


Having to be at the front

Has never been

Who I am

Who I am is in the middle

Supporting the others

To keep going

And enjoy the struggle

Who I am is about community

So, No, Rilke.

I do not wake up in the morning

Having to write

And needing to write

And I could live my life without writing


I am a writer.


(Apologies to Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) for my immature reading of his work when I young.)

4 thoughts on “So. No, Rilke, I Am a Writer.

Add yours

  1. I have to write
    I go crazy sometimes and I have to write
    I get depressed and I have to write
    I’ve been writing poetry and in a journal for over 40 years
    Yet I never considered myself a writer


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