Jan 28th, 2021

Dear Reader,

My intention is to restart Bookended (Bookended, 2.0). I can blame 2020 for not providing enough time, bandwidth, or opportunity to be present here but that would be taking the easy way out because it wasn’t until recently that I became clear on what I was doing here.

Bookended

What is Bookended?

I’d like to create a space that celebrates books and the unique relationship that develops between the words and the reader. My goal is for Bookended to be a place for information about various books but also one that encourages us to live our own stories. A place of growing pains and of blossoming into one’s full self. A place of beauty and soul. Of creativity and self-expression.

Self-doubt

Do I doubt my ability to do so? Yes. I have accepted that some amount of self-doubt and anxiety is a part of my creative process but I am not going to let it stop me from trying new things. We all have an inner critic and it may raise its voice in any area of our lives: career, creative hobbies and projects, relationships. In my case, it’s easy for self-doubt to loudly declare that I need to be an expert before I write about anything. That I should wait until I have a lot to say, as though I’m collecting words in a bucket. To look for permission to take up space and to write. For awhile, I even convinced myself that as I was already working on a book, writing here might mean that I ran out of words to use. What you see are all my self-doubts and fears lining up and telling me why I shouldn’t write here. But I’d really like to write for no reason other than the joy writing brings, to compare notes with other readers, and to share experiences. I unhooked Bookended from internal and any external expectations and have decided to just write. I’d love to hear what your experiences have been like.

On that note, I want to share with you this slim volume of 10 letters written between 1903 and 1908 by Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke to an aspiring poet, Franz Kappus. They are translated into English by M.D. Herter Norton. In these letters, Rilke admonishes the new poet to consider his reasons for writing and urges him to look inward for answers. (You can read the first letter here.) Set against the background of Rilke’s own life, his travels at that time and his uncertain health, the letters discuss the nature of creative work, the importance of solitude for doing the work, how vital it is to repeatedly go inwards for answers rather than look for it outside, in addition to thoughts on love and how life’s beauty is in its most ordinary moments. While it may be tempting to read it in one sitting, I urge you to take your time with it. It’s both a meditation as well as a call to action.

Thank you for reading Bookended!