Martha Graham Martha Graham Martha Graham
M.S. and I are teaching our Creativity class again this semester. It's funny -- not in a haha way, but in a how odd way -- how much questioning I do every time we return to the course and the material.
Of course, maybe it's also cyclical, as we're in the heart of winter and low temperatures also do something to keep my mood low, my mind disquiet. But I think it might be the tenets we teach in the class, tenets M.S. and I created together, agreed on, tenets we wholeheartedly believe -- and the way I have to face them again, and in their light confront my own creative practice, see where it falls short, where I might be phoning it in.
And once I do that, I hold myself up: I confront my own identity, how much I've tied it -- with stubbornness, with obstinacy -- to art-making and creativity. I hold this image of myself up to the weak winter light coming through the window, and I examine all my inconsistencies and flaws.
It's necessary, I suppose. It speaks to a kind of rigor, perhaps, if we assess our creative selves every once in a while and see what we might to differently. But it feels invasive, too, even if I'm the one doing the interrogating.
Anyway. Not sure where I'm going with this post. Just want to say that I'm trying to return to the idea expressed in the following quote, which I found on the Poets & Writers site for our Creativity students. It was shared by author Karen E. Bender, and comes from a book by Agnes DeMille but is ultimately from the mind and mouth of Martha Graham, who was marvelous and someone whose work and ideas strike such awe in me:
‘There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.This post hasn't been particularly upbeat, so here's a little (related) clip to lighten the mood:
It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable 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 have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.’