Made of Books is a monthly column (partly inspired by hero Roxane Gay) where Christina discusses writing that has been meaningful to her, in one way or another.
I first read Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet at a time of transition. I had recently finished college and scraped together two part-time jobs to pay rent. Other kids had ambitions to go to grad school, or they were moving in with their partners, or getting jobs in their field. I had no field—only a undesirable history degree—and without school ahead of me anymore I felt myself floundering.
I wanted to make some kind of decision about my new adult life, to actively choose to do something to move forward instead of getting a job at a mall because I needed money and working with my friend would be fun. So I sought advice in book form. The page allows time and space to open up, and it was easier to feel vulnerable with a book because a book doesn’t know you, has no expectations for what you supposedly are, or for how you should be.
A guest post by Jason Fabeck, who lives in Chicago and is currently writing a book while trying desperately to match his socks.
when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
Before you ask, the answer is yes. I titled my first piece after a Bukowski poem. I decided to take a risk and quote a famous writer. But guess what? That’s what writers do: take risks. We wear hats! We have relationship problems! We own dogs with dead celebrity names! Now, you say, “So do I. And I’m not a writer.” Well, you might just be. The first rule of becoming a great writer-human is to know that you are capable of being one. Sounds silly but I really think it starts as simple as that.