To Willing Conflators Of Rainer Maria Rilke And Jeremy Todd (first letter)

My Dear Friends,
One cannot comment on the style of these not sent letters; nothing manages to influence them less than critical words, which always carry unfortunate misunderstandings. Things are not as easily understood nor as expressible as people usually would like us to believe. Most happenings are beyond expression; they exist where a word has never intruded. Even more inexpressible are works of art; mysterious entities they are, whose lives, compared to our own, defy summation.
Having said these things at the outset, I now dare tell you only this: that my not sent letters do not seek an individual style. Yet they possess a quiet and hidden inclination to reveal something personal. However, they can’t stand on their own merit. They are not yet independent, not even this last one to you, not yet. I cannot fail to admit to and to analyze some shortcomings, which I always sense while reading my efforts, but can’t directly put into words. I never ask if these not sent letters are good. I don’t send them to publishers or compare them with other things. I gave all that up. There has only been one way: Go within. Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids me to write in each instance. Put it to this test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest places of the heart? Above all, in the most silent hour of my night, I ask myself this: Must I write this not sent letter? They have become my necessity. My life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, has become a sign, a testimony to this urge.
I’ve drawn near to nature, pretending I am the very first person to write what I see and experience, what I love and lose. I don’t write love letters, at least not at first; they present the greatest challenge. They require a great, fully ripened power to produce something personal, something unique, when there are so many already existing and even brilliant renditions. I am wary of general themes and cling to what my everyday life offers me. I write about my sorrows, my wishes, my passing thoughts, my belief in anything beautiful. I describe all that with fervent, quiet, and humble sincerity. In order to express myself, I use things in my surroundings, the scenes of my dreams, and the subjects of my memory.
When my everyday life appears to be unworthy subject matter, I do not complain to life. I complain to myself, lamenting that I am not enough to call up its wealth. For in creation there is no poverty—nothing is insignificant or unimportant. Even if I were in a prison whose walls would shut out from my senses the sounds of the outer world, would I not then still have all that has come before? I have gained assuredness in this and my aloneness has expanded and became my home, greeting me like the quiet dawn. Outer tumult passes by me from afar. A not sent letter is good if it is born of necessity. They are their own criterion; there is no other.
Therefore, my dear friends, know I go within and scale the depths of my being from which my very life springs forth. At its source I have found the answer to why I must write these not sent letters. I have accepted this fate and bear its burden, and its grandeur, without asking for any rewards that might come from without. What else shall I tell you? It seems to me everything has been said, with just the right emphasis. I want only to say that I must continue to progress quietly and seriously in my evolvement.
With my sincerest interest and devotion,
jeremy