There’s a quote of Martha Graham’s in “The Art of Possibility” that I wrote down a while ago. It sits in my stage make-up box. I read it before every performance.
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.
I sat down earlier today to write a brief synopsis of “Carmen and the Bull,” a little children’s opera that I created for Union Avenue Opera’s educational programs with Springboard St. Louis. In the middle of writing the summary, it occurred to me that the heart of that quote was all over my silly made-up opera lyrics. Little Ferdinand and his new friends spend a lot of time understanding and fully appreciating what it is to be unique…and, though they use other words, they are definitely “keeping the channel open.”
Maybe not so silly after all. Thanks, Martha.