This inspiration appeared again today. Timely. Timeless. I want to share it with you: what MARTHA GRAHAM wrote to AGNES DE MILLE touches the deepest part of an artist’s life…

Photo by Barbara Morgan

Photo of Martha Graham by Barbara Morgan

According to Agnes de Mille, from her book, Martha: The Life and Work Of Martha Graham A Biography, 1991, Martha actually said this to her while they were having a soda at Schraffts, in 1943.

De Mille in Oklahoma! Photo courtesy of the Rodgers & Hamerstein Organization

de Mille in Oklahoma! 1943. Photo courtesy of the Rodgers & Hamerstein Organization

Agnes de Mille had just received accolades for her opening in “Oklahoma!” and still doubting her work, “I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be.”…and Martha leaned over, and said in a quiet voice:

“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 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 anytime
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes us more alive than the others.”

 Meryl Streep recites the letter, with Yo Yo Ma performing George Crumb’s ‘Sonata for Solo Cello’. WOW. Starts at 1:32′

Two of our greatest artists who know how to “keep the channel open”…

Photos by Barbara Morgan (1900-1992) of Martha Graham  (1894-1991) Photo Exhibition on view at the Hudson River Museum 

October 17, 2015 – January 17, 2016



Barbara Morgan: Martha Graham - Extasis, 1935

Barbara Morgan: Martha Graham – Extasis, 1935, courtesy TheRedList

 enjoy your day as you keep your channel open.


Please Subscribe to the Mailing List

You have Successfully Subscribed!


Thanks for taking time to enjoy my site

Why Not Become a Subscriber?

You have Successfully Subscribed!