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Saturday, 24 January 2009

The World Will Not Have It

I have long believed that the universe, or our personal God, or perhaps just sheer serendipity endeavors to whisper just the right words into your soul at just the right time. Yesterday while flicking through The Creative Entrepreneur (which is one of the most well executed business books for creative women I have ever come across) I read this gorgeous quote from Martha Graham...
"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 and it will be lost. The world will not have it. You must keep that channel open. It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable. Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is for you to keep it yours, clearly and directly."
..and it resounded loudly deep inside my ever insecure stomach because we are always so quick to compare, and to imitate. To analyse ourselves and declare ourselves wanting. To say this isn't enough. This is too much. I am not her. I will never be her. Oh how I want to be her. To abandon work before it is completed. To never even start. To see too much of our awful awkward selves in everything we create. To let ego dance around everything we do, pulling tongues and calling us terrible names. To find ourselves quite unable to read what we have wrote, stare at what we have painted or look at ourselves for long enough in the mirror to see what the night has done to our face. But you know what? Our only obligation is to keep on keeping on. To exist in our own little bubble, churning out whatever it is that spills forth, and totally believing in it. That is all anyone can ask of us and everything else is just dried up gravy. So, though I live in fear of who I might be, I'm keeping on keeping on, clearly and directly. Martha's quote was merely a timely reminder that the world would not have it otherwise. Not for any of us.


Miz said...

So very true Alison. I've only just come to realise that the time I've spent trying to 'do as someone else would' could have been spent nurturing my own voice, and my own talent. Surely it's not egotistical to assume I have at least one? I have to earn it back, and I will! It's thanks to you ladies that I believe this of myself now, so thank you!


Anonymous said...

That's true of most anything in life, isn't it? Parenting, creative work, professinal life... Thank you for your post. And, I LOVE the items you list under treasures!


Gena said...

Yes that is an amazing quote,but the quote I think I resonate most with and one I se often,is one of your own "keep on keeping on" it reminds me that just getting up every day and putting one foot in front of the other,going through the everyday motions,is the only way to open the doorway to any number of remarkable,sometimes unexpected experiences,whilst we are talking quotes,wasnt it John Lennon who famously stated that"life is what happens while we are busy doing other things"? Yes,keep on keeping on.

Jayne said...

An excellent thought by Martha Graham but what also struck *me* was your third para: ...'and it resounded deeply...' because this is me through and through. We are definitely sometimes our own worst enemies. I've heard it said so many times by those who have succeeded at whatever, that a total belief in oneself is the greatest asset we have. Easier said than done if it doesn't come naturally, I know, but you're absolutely right that to just keep on keeping on is certainly a step in the right direction, especially with Martha Graham's wisdom ringing in our ears.

The Machinist's Wife said...

Right! I get it...

No more comparisons. No more imitations.

Sod it.


squarepegperson said...

Wonderful post! I need that reminder every day.

I just hunted up this quote when I was gabbing with some friends about nasty, old sayings from childhood that influenced us - like "don't rock the boat" -things that did not help us dance confidently into life (as your Martha Graham quote advices).

"When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms."

(from Mary Oliver's poem, When Death Comes)

thanks for your reminder!!

Anne R Triolo said...

That is a lovely thought! As I sit here in my small house waiting for my one small, all-consuming task to wake up from his nap, it is good to remember that no one else can be his mom. Someone else might do it better or worse, but they wouldn't do it like me!

Puttery Post!

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