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Still thinking of Stephanie’s point…

Stephanie/Yarn Harlot has been on my mind all day (see previous post). Because of that, I remembered a wonderful and inspiring quotation by Martha Graham, modern dance pioneer.

Ms. Graham was a fierce and determined artist, and she fascinates me. I think I would have been afraid of her in person, perhaps… but those who danced for her knew they were changing history in one lifetime. I’m glad they did it, though it was not an easy life.

Here’s the quote (written to Agnes DeMille, another choreographer and friend, in a letter). These words got me through a lot of doubting moments when I first started calling myself an artist (having been one my whole life but not knowing it). In fact, most recently they helped me through the knitting/planning of my intarsia-knitted self portrait.

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, it will never exist through any other medium…. It will be lost…. The world will never have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares to other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have 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

(For the record, I added spacing in the middle of the block of text to make it easier to read.)

I love quotations. Many years ago I put together a website with poetry, quotes and lyrics that meant something to me at that time. If you like quotes also, you might be interested in my “Quotes on Creativity” web page.

One Response to “Still thinking of Stephanie’s point…”

  1. Trish Says:

    I love that quote! I feel like I should print it out and tape it to the bathroom mirror to read morning and night. Thanks for sharing it!

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