“The thought sings its way into the soul”
I was racking my brain what to write. To find a topic that is dear to me — on which I have something to talk about.
The internet is a great place to go if you are doing any research and know what you are looking for. But nothing seems to be falling in place. Nothing seems to be quite right. If you do not know what you are looking for, what would you search for?
A lot of ideas were coming but the effort to see through those ideas into a cohesive written piece was lacking.
I spent my whole morning in limbo.
As I was browsing aimlessly and reading anything that my search threw up, I came across the following letter by George William Russell. He was a nineteenth-century Irish writer, painter, and poet. The letter was written to Mrs. T. P. Hyatt in 1895.
As I was reading the piece, I was stunned. The letter, written 125 years ago, so succinctly expressed my present state of mind! The anguish, that I need to write something, but cannot! That sense of guilt comes from doing something that does not immediately translate into an income! That sense of urgency to produce something, but not been able to do it! All the anguish was expressed so clearly. This anguish may be true for all creative persons.
I thought the best will be to share a part of the letter with you all so that, as Russell wrote, “the thought sings its way into the soul.”
There are heaps of things I would like to do, but there is no time to do them. The most gorgeous ideas float before the imagination, but time, money, and alas! inspiration to complete them do not arrive, and for any work to be really valuable we must have time to brood and dream a little over it, or else it is bloodless and does not draw forth the God light in those who read. I believe myself, that there is a great deal too much hasty writing in our magazines and pamphlets. No matter how kindly and well disposed we are when we write we cannot get rid of the essential conditions under which really good literature is produced, love for the art of expression in itself; a feeling for the music of sentences, so that they become mantrams, and the thought sings its way into the soul. To get this, one has to spend what seems a disproportionate time in dreaming over and making the art and workmanship as perfect as possible. I could if I wanted, sit down and write steadily and without any soul; but my conscience would hurt me just as much as if I had stolen money or committed some immorality. To do even a ballad as long as The Dream of the Children, takes months of thought, not about the ballad itself, but to absorb the atmosphere, the special current connected with the subject. When this is done the poem shapes itself readily enough; but without the long, previous brooding it would be no good. So you see, from my slow habit of mind and limited time it is all I can do to place monthly, my copy in the hands of my editor when he comes with a pathetic face to me.
Originally published at https://barun.substack.com.