Thoughts & Quotes about Rilke and patience

There’s a very well known quote from Rilke :

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”

…from the Letters to a young poet.

In fact, when he was around 30; Rilke wrote a few letters to a young man who had asked him advices about poetry. Rilke’s answer is splendid :

“Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody. There is only one way. Go into yourself.”

 

But at this time he was also writing letters to Lou Andreas-Salomé, who was… 14 years older than him. I read their letters, they are amazing : two high-range brains talking about subtleties of life…

In 1903 he wrote :

“Patience contains everything: humility, strength and moderation.”

 

Patience, at this time, seemed to be an obsession to him.

How do we hear this today?

  1. Do we hear that negatively, patience as inertia disguised in virtues? Should we be patient instead of enter a resistance?
  2. Do we hear that positively, patience as hope? Humility, strength and moderation… Is it linked to indecision “as a decision”?

Savoir Attendre – Know How to Wait

 

How do you hear it?

Why do I think about Saint-Exupéry?

Les vaincus doivent se taire, comme les graines

The vanquished must stay silent, like the seeds…

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Smart Simplicity vs Subtle Complexities

Today I ask for your help with a dual idea. Some artists with a long life and experience tend towards :

  1. The essential : Simplicity. Refining. Paring down.
  2. Smart subtleties : Not the simplicity, which is senseless, but secret and modest complexity.

 

Maybe 1. works for painters and other visual artists and 2. for writers and other ideas‘ artists? – another article to write.

Of course there are other ways of being mature, like “to dare more”, or “being decadent”.

 

Do you have examples? Poets, directors, photographers? Can you weave one and two without being paradoxical? Do we have to care for layers of creativity? What about the audience?

What about the contraries? It’s common that young creatives tend to give everything they have in their first big projects…

What do you think?

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Vial & Stoop : Types of black holes in language

I’m French and I write in English – I make mistakes and I discover new words everyday.

When I read an article or a short story, I understand what happens, and I admit I don’t translate anymore.

But, well, I always meet new insects, which are really puzzling at times…

Today I met “Vial“. Never seen this word but I guessed. A little bottle. In French we call this “une fiole”, which I find funny. Same structure : vial/fiole. OK.

Stoop” was trickier. First, it’s a noun AND a verb. A doorstep (“perron”, in French), and also “to bend”.

There, here am I questioning English Gods : why do you have to stoop, if you have to bend or even to bow?? Can stoop be replaced by to crouch or to squat?

Worse : as a metaphor or a figurative sense, to demean, to do something “below one’s status, standards, or morals”. “S’abaisser à”.

OK, but also to slant (to stoop a bottle of wine?) – then what is to lean? – to catch a prey for an eagle (“the bird stooped and seized a salmon” – un piqué), to submit (“stooped by death” or “this people does not stoop to Rome”) – even to degrade?

 

Thus, when you read “not your language”, you see holes. Little ones can be filled by contexts, other ones make you make a face, pick a dictionary, and go travel in language, in an awe, for twenty minutes. You should try French while I study the word “slew” (4 nouns, 7 verbs, pfff…).

 

At the end, I found : Stoop : “a vessel for holding liquids; a flagon”. Come on!

Hmmm. Fetch me a stoop of liquor, please. Two new words and I’m done. Back to bed. With my book!

Thanks for reading!

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Whyhow you should know your art

ONE

I talked with a woman working in a photography school.

“The first year, all our students work on analog photography only!”

Waow, in the the digital era, it’s a big deal, right?

Every cam today can keep hundreds or thousands of pictures on a little cheap SD Card. It’s so easy to try, trigger, take bunches of photos until you have a great one, that some photographers buy vintage cams to get :

  1. the splendid grain or texture of real film rolls
  2. but also the necessary meticulousness of the whole process

Choosing a brand for films, choosing settings for the cam, choosing how and when you take a picture, developing : all this becomes important, much more important : rolls are expensive!

This makes you focus.

Therefore it makes perfect sense to begin photography with analog cams.

TWO

Picasso or Klimt and many other painters began with the big knowledge of being great “classical” artists. Manet began to make what ignorants called “mistakes” (showing paintbrush strokes, flattening perspectives). Picasso told that he needed years to un-learn it :

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THREE

Martin L. Gore, composer/singer of Depeche Mode, explains that a song, before going to production with synths and beat-boxes, has to “sound” great with a single voice/acoustic guitar. Before. If it’s good, you can alter textures : the harmonic structure stays good.

TOOL

Where else do we find and use this pattern?

“Know the difficult core of your Art before exploring it, breaking rules or pushing it: you’ll be better”.

Thanks for reading!

Layers of WHYs

Is the art for you and your happiness? Or for others?

Let’s take photography. Why do I do that?

I wondered a lot already about his :

 

OK Here are 4 pictures. For the first one I had to : the cat was great, the verticals were profuse, interesting (light, reflections, shadows), the textures were puzzling (white, bricks, blue), and I love the stairs of books. Plus the darks were dark (I love underexposed photos).

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I took this one in Orsay’s Museum. Silhouette, vertical lines, the walls of Paris. I knew it was a great picture to “stop” the audience. The statue is so cool…

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Here I wanted you to feel the mood, ambiance. The concrete ruin of the war, my daughter in pink (in a coat). Feel the size, feel the wind…

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And here in Lille, the storm was coming. I made it blurry on purpose. The sky was dark, the night was coming, the lights were great, and the perspective cool (the red walls on the right). You can almost smell the first drops of rain, right? I hope so… Entre chien et loup (between dog and wolf is our way to say… dusk).

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So : I love dark & colors. I think on proportions, structures. I don’t do portraits. I do what I love. Each photographer works on something : the camera itself, the post-production, landscapes, animals, fashion.

There are shades and layers. What does the photographer want…

For himself, or for the audience?

In the end, I think we all do things in society… to be loved, to be liked, recognized, noticed… It’s maybe the core of all art.

No. Let’s go deeper.

While doing it, the photographer has fun. He looks for things, frames, moments. He is like a child. He plays. He is focused, busy, occupied, absorbed by their pleasant task.

That’s it, folk. The “child state”. This is pure bliss.

These are many layered reasons why we work, right?

Thanks for reading!!