Speaking of Rilke quoting mammoths, here is good advice from Rilke, taken from his Letters to a Young Poet.

Write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty - describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds - wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories?
Also from the above link to the book, this quote:
Go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create. Accept it, just as it sounds, without inquiring into it. Perhaps it will turn out that you are called to be an artist. Then take that destiny upon yourself and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what recompense might come from outside.
I need to buy the book (only $5.95) and read/devour it; as well as his other interestingly titled book: On Love and Other Difficulties: Translations and Considerations, which per one of the reviews at the link has this amazing quote about love.
"What ruthless magnificence and yet how terrible to ignite love; what conflagration, what disaster, what doom.To be on fire yourself, of course , if one is capable of it: that may well be worth life and death."
By the way, I found the above quote in an interesting post about writing by Austin Kleon.

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