I have been reading Rilke.
“You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your while life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.”
R.M.Rilke: “Letters to a young poet”
Learning begins with motivation; true motivation is intrinsic – the place where one forgets oneself where one does what one does for itself, not for a reward or the image it gives us of ourselves. “Quality is an event”, wrote Persig, “where subject becomes aware of object” (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). It is part of the process of learning to love (something else which Rilke has also a lot to say about) where there is a merging of self with other: I become one with the target, with the flower, with the music with the dance: with the motorbike, with the beloved.
Grades: boredom: the transfer of responsibility for what we do to outside influences: lack of self-worth and self-respect; all these things can come between ourselves and learning.
Let us begin with “I must” – let us lead people from here towards themselves.
Let us help and not hinder.