For you today this exerpt from a letter written by Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille:
“ 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 with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ”
Keep the channel open to your art. Whatever it takes. Go live in the flow. That’s the whole point.
8 thoughts on “Keep the channel open”
I really appreciate the quote. Often, self judgement rather than self editing keeps me slogging along in my writing.
Thank you for that.
I am looking forward to reading “Party.” I like the idea of a “tell some”, rather than a “tell all”. My story might help someone. But publicly airing some of the more horrific moments in my life is not the most welcoming idea I've had.
Perhaps a “tell some” will be an answer for me as well.
Agnes de Mille wrote a great biography of Martha Graham. I humbly and highly recommend it.
The point of a memoir is to tell a focused story. It's not a full autobiography, it's just one layer of the whole. Subtitles really help with this. I picked “Liner notes to a writer's early life” and stuck to it ruthlessly.
Thanks for the rec.
I meant to reply to this sooner, but I very much needed that quote when you posted it after one mediocre review (“This is the strangest book I've ever read and I skipped the xxx scenes because they were creepy”) and a lack of notice for the more recent book I had a lot of hope for. Ah, well, I write what I write, strange as it is, and I have one coming out on Halloween so we'll see…
I hope you're feeling better about your work and are already planning the next.
I really love this quote, and thank you.
I also needed this quote as I am on a very slow journey to “keeping the channel open”.
I'll put this somewhere on my LJ.
Best of luck with that.
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