It’s a rare Saturday when I can enjoy forty minutes wandering through a Chapters bookstore with a grande Flat White in my hand. There are so many books and so little time. Initially I’m lured by the sheen of book covers, book spines, images, illustrations and fonts. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the authors who birthed each work. Then a dark cloud descends over me that even the espresso cannot lift. The shelves are filled. There’s no room for even one more book. I think of the book I am writing and wonder, “Does the world really need another book?”
I get a similar feeling when I peruse blogsites. There are awesome writers in the blogosphere—prolific posts, poetic prose and SEO content. I wish I could have written them. Reflecting on my own writing efforts inevitably leads me to think, “Why bother?”
Enter Martha Graham, or at least the image of her words. A friend posted a quote from Ms Graham on Instagram and she had my rapt attention.
Martha Graham wasn’t an author or a writer. She was a dancer, but not just any dancer. She was termed “The Picasso of Dance,” “The Dancer Of The Century” by TIME magazine and a “national treasure” by President Gerald Ford when he awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Martha Graham danced and choreographed for over seventy years until her death in 1991 at age 96.
She understood creativity and passionate devotion to her craft and calling. When a fellow choreographer confided her desire to be excellent but her lack of faith that she could be, Martha responded,“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. 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.” The Life and Work of Martha Graham, Agnes de Ville
You are an original. Dr Suess in his wisdom said, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
What you create will be original. In fact, it can only be created by you… If you keep it yours. I coach myself to think, “Your story, your poem, your article, your blog, your book—make them yours.”
Write on. 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 the channel open.
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I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.
Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.