Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Meeting, A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction

Martha Graham picture from
Hello all, welcome to Monday!

On last Wednesday's post, my friend Martha left an amazing quote in the comments here, and I hope that she doesn't mind that I bump it up here--I really love it. It's a quote from dancer and choreographer, Martha Graham.
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.
I really feel that openness is the best way to live and write--being open to opportunity whether that opportunity presents itself within me, or within the world in general.  And I love this quote because it doesn't sugar coat, but speaks to truth--the truth about living within dissatisfaction, but a dissatisfaction which spurs us to create.

What do you see in this quote?  How open are you to your own talent?  How dissatisfied are you?  What will you do with that dissatisfaction this week?

And, a sidebar on being open to the universe--Martha (not the dancer, but the writer friend) and I had our first children at the same time, lived in the same town, and grew a friendship through learning how to be mothers. We both moved away from that town, and into the same new town.  :) Regardless of this, we lost touch.  Occasionally, we bumped into each other around town, but not as much as one might think.  Then I met Anna, who introduced me to Nandini, who "introduced" me to Martha.  LOL.  I am so happy to be reconnected with this amazing friend! Thanks Martha!  


  1. Great quote! I'm definitely fighting dissatisfaction this week, but there's also some hope there. So glad I could play a part in getting you re-acquainted with Martha!

  2. That is a fab quote. How wonderful that you got back in touch with your friend!
    Happy Thanksgiving!!

  3. Wow, what a story (of 'meeting' Martha)!!!

    And what a great quote. Definitely connected with it. I am stuck with extreme dissatisfaction, too, and though it is almost creatively paralyzing sometimes, it does keep me wanting to do more - get better, learn more, be the best I can be, even though I'm never good enough for ME.

  4. Heather, I've regretted losing touch for that stretch, but now I wonder if it was some sort of cosmic plan? At the least, it's a reminder that life is not linear; we've orbited back around, and I'm so glad we're back in touch again!! (And one more reason why I love the kidlit community!)

    And there's something about good quotes that feels right today. I just came across other inspiring words at the blog of poet and instructor Kelly Fineman, Writing and Ruminating: .

    Thanks ... and thanks!

  5. I love the perspective of the quote. That creating is so totally not about finishing, publishing, or pleasing anyone, not even your self. It certainly removes us from the baggage I can get lost in. AND I love the idea that my displeasure in the project at whatever form it currently in is part of the process. Thanks for re-posting. The quote spoke to me right away!

    Off to check the Kelly Fineman inspiration.

  6. Everything about this post is great! I had a similar thing happen to me and a dear friend of mine...I love that we reconnected.

  7. Everything about this post is great! I had a similar thing happen to me and a dear friend of mine...I love that we reconnected.

  8. That's a great quote. In general like Anna, I'm facing too many distractions with work, family, and volunteering for my daughter's events. I'm not getting enough writing time in and it's bothering me, like I'm not disciplined enough. I'm hoping to get some writing done most days the rest of the week, even if it's only 20 minutes some days.

  9. I love the quote. That dissatisfaction that we all feel is part of the process.

    And, I really like the way you re-connected with Martha!!

  10. I love the quote and it's true we have to be open, we have to listen when our 'muse' speaks to us because she doesn't always speak loudly and clearly, at least, mine doesn't!

  11. ps: I left you an award on my blog which you can pick up whenever. Thanks for being here:)

  12. That's a wonderful quote! Thanks for sharing it, I'm going to write it in my quote-saving little notebook.

  13. Small world. I love it when that happens. My crit partners parents live in the same town as my inlaws and have heard of eachother!

  14. Oh, how I love you today and Martha and Martha. Wonderful quote. Printing it out because I'm so stuck in not believing in the pages I've been writing. The critic can come later, but for now I just want to be open to the crazy things flowing onto the page. Thanks, Heather!!

  15. Hey Heather,
    Just call me the cosmic re-connector! It is so strange though, isn't it? But I'm glad I lucky enough to know both you and Martha. And I love the quote too. I'm struggling with revisions this week. Trying to get closer emotionally to my character's voice and getting her dissatisfaction on the page without my voice intruding. Not happy with it, of course, but that's the point of the quote isn't it?

  16. Great quote! I think it's the "no artist is pleased" that appeals. When I leave my WIP for a few days and come back, I think, Oh, why didn't I incorporate This? There's always that fiddling...(as if I'm an artist, I'm not!)

  17. I'm so sorry, everybody that I haven't responded to your wonderful comments before now--my busy life took over for a bit.

    Anna--I'll just call you the puppet master!!

    Kelly--Happy Holidays right back at ya!!

    Marisa--You are good enough. And I'm finding just how much friends are involved in making us all great enough for publication. You're not in it alone!!

    Martha--Yes, Cosmic Plan. I'll wave to you at play pick-up this week. :)

    That second quote was great as well! You are a wealth of inspiration.

    Tina--I agree. Dissatisfaction as a means to an end is BIG for me too!

    Anita--I love how friends come around again when the timing is right!

    Natalie--I'm glad that you are using even those 20 minutes to your benefit. It's so important to just keep plugging forward, I think.

    Paul--I love the quote too. Martha's awesome. :)

    mshatch--Thanks so much!! Your award and kind words are helping me out of a slump. I needed to hear that these words aren't just floating around the blogosphere... Thanks.

    KarenG--Oh, that's wonderful! Now where did I put my quote notebook? I bet it has lots of dust on it...

    Laura--I love how small this world is...

    Lori--So, so, so glad that this meant something to you. I am so thankful to be connected to everyone through blogging and writing!

    Nandini--LOL. I'm working on voice now as well. Good luck revising, Cosmic Re-Connector.

    Kittie--I'm glad that when you come back to a WIP that you see opportunity and not just frustration that something isn't working and you don't know how to fix it. I think that says a lot about how open you are to the writing process. Go you!!