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Inspiring Quote: Martha Graham on Creativity

Hello, friends. I have allowed life (and a five-day headache) to distract me from writing for you. You deserve better.

It will be another cram-packed day but I believe you deserve a little content here from me. Your loyalty is much appreciated.

Therefore, today I will share with you a particularly important quotation for me. It has inspired me through times of self-doubt. I hope it will inspire you, as well.

This text reminds me that whatever I can contribute, that contribution is important to the world. Doubt is human, and particularly common in artful folks. Perhaps this will help you, too.

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. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable 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
(to Agnes DeMille

For those who do not know, Martha Graham was a pioneer in Modern Dance. She changed the dance world in one lifetime, created a new branch of a tree called “dance.” If you enjoy biographies, I recommend the book “Martha” by Agnes DeMille (another dancer/choreographer who worked mostly in theater, and who was a friend of Martha’s).

6 Responses to “Inspiring Quote: Martha Graham on Creativity”

  1. Priscilla Says:

    I have enough doubt to last several lifetimes. Pathetic, isn’t it.

  2. Lindy Says:

    Oh my! A 5-day headache? Sounds like a migraine – been there, done that. These are really terrible and more than just a good excuse for doing absolutely nothing other than suffer. I do hope it is beyond you now and you are back to feeling good again.

    Lindy in AZ

  3. Lindy Says:


    In response to Priscilla I just a few minutes ago read this on Sherrie York’s blog (Salida, CO):

    “More than 20 years ago a friend gave me a bootleg tape of author David Viscott speaking about the creative process at the (now-something-else) International Design Conference in Aspen. I can’t remember his exact words on the subject of self doubt, but the essence of it was this: Doubt is always with you. Now, get back to work.”

    Coincidence? I don’t think so. Things happen for reasons. We connect. We communicate. We share.

    Lindy in AZ (again:)

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