We had a dear friend over for a long evening of great conversation and good food and drink on Friday. Along the way he mentioned some self-doubts which most truly creative people have from time to time, or sometimes a lot of the time. “What if my writing/painting/poetry/fill in the blank is mediocre, or has been done better by someone else. I see the ideal in my mind’s eye but it never comes out like my ideal. Yet it feels like it comes through me from a Divine hand. But why should I bother? “
Well I have news for you Buddy, for myself and for all of the other Creatives who struggle with this very same thing. What we make will never match the beauty and perfection and exquisiteness of our Ideal. Even the most accomplished Creatives have doubts about their abilities and output. But the struggle to put that beauty, perfection and exquisiteness into our work touches it with the Divine. And those who experience it are similiarly touched. And that’s a good thing.
I recalled, found and shared this quote from the American dancer & choreographer 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.
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 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 feel that the ‘commercial’ art world is very cynical, soul-less and competitive. People who don’t make it there are made to feel as failures, which is wrong. Our artistic creativity is a gift and a blessing. So whatever art or craft you practice, keep doing it and share it with at least one other receptive person, someone who can see the divine in it. And then make another one.