Martha Graham’s words to live by

Agnes de Mille, choreographer of the 1943 Broadway hit, Oklahoma, confessed to her lifelong friend Martha Graham that she was disheartened by the success of Oklahoma. She preferred many of her earlier dances, which had largely been ignored. She shared
with her friend how she had a burning desire to be exellent, but no faith that she could be. Here are the wise words that Graham shared with de Mille:

‘There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it out, it will never exist through any other  medium and be lost. The world will not hear it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even need to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.’ 

Martha Graham


Those are some of the most comforting words as a writer. No satisfaction whatever at any time… It is not our job to judge our work. It is our job to let the blessed unrest keep us marching and make us more alive…


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