Divine Dissatisfaction

Below is the most authentic description I’ve ever read of the artist’s experience of creating. As I work on draft two of my novel, I’m reminded how incomplete even the best work can be, how tantalizing even the smallest morsel of satisfaction is, and how I’ll likely spend the rest of my life chasing the carrot of artistic perfection.

A Letter to Agnes De Mille

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 anytime
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes “us” MORE alive than the others.

Martha Graham

( – a letter to Agnes De Mille-)

agnes demille, art, artists, creativity, inspiration, martha graham, writing


Jeff Garvin

Author of SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN and THE LIGHTNESS OF HANDS. Cohost of THE HERO'S JOURNEY podcast. Rock musician, D&D geek, aspiring revolutionary.

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