A while ago I was talking to my cousin about “the creative journey” and she shared this quote with me:
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and 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, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. 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
I like this quote. It captures so powerfully my own sentiments about creating. It reminds me to not let my own personal creativity police (who are quick to tell me all about their cohorts … the quilt police) … to make sure they don’t have any “air time” in my brain. It drives home that I must create or it will be lost. How often have I had an idea and poof it was gone.
And I like her succinct command to be open. Not easy. So necessary.
But I have tussled with her last paragraph. It has stirred introspection and observation. Does it fit me? Yes and no. I do feel that marching forward need to create, however there are so many times that I have been thrilled with my creative results … satisfied. And then I reflect back at the process of the projects that have crossed my table the past few weeks. The tweaking, the almost continual scanning of the vision in my mind, the looking, the seeing (so different from looking!), the auditioning, rejecting, pondering, playing, resting, returning, tapping into intuition, and the assessing repeatedly until I feel it is “done”. That feeling of completion is so elusive sometimes and when it presents itself it often doesn’t feel solid and sure, instead loose and ethereal. In remaining open sometimes it is hard to “close” a project. Is that the “no satisfaction whatever at any time”?
As I started on making a new class sample, this creative melee is brought home to me again.
How do you know when it is “just right”? How do you recognize your “Goldilocks” moment?