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Slowly but surely I have been soaking Rilke up these last few months: the man, his work and his life. And that is probably the only right way with literature, with study, with people or with anything else: to let it all soak in, to let it all mature slowly inside you until it has become a part of yourself. That, too, is a growing process. Everything is a growing process. And in between, emotions and sensations that strike you like lightning. But still the most important thing is the organic process of growing.
That which is useless dies. Animals that fail to serve some useful purpose in the scheme of things slowly but surely become extinct. Let any part of the human body cease to perform its ordained function, and it withers-as when an arm is kept long in a sling. This same decree, that nothing useless is permitted to survive, runs through the mind of the industrial world.
I never had one day that I didn’t want to be on the ice, because I always had an objective for that day. I had a rigorous plan and schedule in place that I had to adhere to. It was a step-by-step process of slowly but surely inching toward the Olympic Games and using every day as a series of goals to be accomplished.