Wise words to a struggling young writer

Mylene's response to Kathrine's post below was way too wonderful to be buried in the comment section, so I'm taking the liberty of posting it up front. What a great example of how we love and mentor each other (especially our younglings) as artists.

Mylene said:

By now you will have dried your tears, and I hope will hear me when I tell you that that was one of the most lucid analyses of one's own work I have every read. It takes talent not just to write, but to know when something isn't good enough. It takes courage not to let it slide. It takes heart for it to mean so much to you that you weep in the quest for mastery. It takes insight to parse the problem and grope toward the solution. You have all of these. You are almost there.

Remember that the frustration you are feeling right now is not ordinary, and that is why it is intense. It is what the choreographer Martha Graham calls "divine dissatisfaction." You are trying to make something that is fit and meet--something that refuses to be pedestrian. This connects you and your struggle to all the angels of better creation. It would be easier just to let those chapters stumble inadequately along. But you refuse to. And therein lies your gift.

This thought doesn't necessarily make it any easier while you're struggling, I know. But whenever I reach the same kind of impasse, I remember Graham. I may feel lost, groveling, lowly. But this is an error in my perception. I am dancing. I am burning with the same hectic fire as the stars. And eventually will burn my way through.



Thanks, Mylene.
Mylène said…
Hope it was a good day, Kathryn.
Mylène said…
For those who might be curious, here is Graham's quote in full and in context, as it appears in The Life and Work of Martha Graham, by Agnes de Mille:

"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. ... 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."
Thanks for posting the whole quote, Mylene. Wonderful stuff.

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