movement, movement

Ripening Like The Tree

Posted in art, books, conversation, quotes by amoslanka on October 8, 2008

Several days a week during my lunch break, and several days a week after work, I find myself on the couches or at the bar at Ground Coffee Shop across from my office reading a book and spending time with my friends there. (The same coffee shop I hung my photography in last month) I do this in order to be around people I know, and because going home after work makes it easy to get distracted doing something else.

This is where I found myself this evening and my friend, Moriah, who works at Ground, asked me a question who’s answer I’m not sure I’ve ever put into words before. She asked why I read so much. Sometimes I forget that I suppose it is, relatively speaking, more than most. 

My answer consisted of something likely more vague than I would have liked and resembled a reason surrounding the knowledge of my miniscule perspective and a desire to consume my mind with a world bigger than myself. I was reading Rilke at the moment, and lo and behold, five minutes later read a section of his Letters to a Young Poet that I could not help but attach to my own otherwise inarticulate answer. Rilke said:

Everything is gestation and then bringing forth. To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the un-conscious, beyond the reach of one’s own intelligence, and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity: that alone is living the artist’s life: in understanding as in creating.

And less than a paragraph later, he also added:

Being an artist means, not reckoning and not counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer.

What more could I say to add to this? Were Rilke still alive today, I think we would be pals. He was, after all, born in Prague, which is the general vicinity of where the Lanka family immigrated from. He probably knew my family.

Cheers to Mo’ and her ironic question.

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2 Responses

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  1. ash said, on October 8, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    i like the second quote over the first. granted i am prone to deep thoughts…as i often lose myself in my own head. but i love the simplicity and imagery of the second quote. one art i would love to master is painting a picture w/ my words, simple and available to the reader’s imagination.

  2. emmsy said, on October 9, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    letters to a young poet is one of the books that has impacted me most, and continues to shape and mould me.

    that said, it is a very good question: why read so much? i read ‘more than most’ also (on average 4 books/month), noone has yet to ask me why, but it is good to think about these things… thanks for making me think about. I guess i read because i love the stimulus of over peoples thoughts and words, how they guide and shape my own. i read because i have to, because i am compelled to! i am insatiably curious…


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