Martha Graham was a fantastic innovator. American Masters said about her: “Martha Graham’s impact on dance was staggering and often compared to that of Picasso on painting, Stravinsky on music, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s on architecture. Her contributions transformed the art form, revitalizing and expanding dance around the world. In her search to express herself freely and honestly, she created the Martha Graham Dance Company. As a teacher, Graham trained and inspired generations of fine dancers and choreographers.” And The Kennedy Center had this to say about Agnes de Mille: “Although Agnes de Mille seemed destined to perform on Broadway, since her paternal grandfather, father, and Uncle, Cecil B. de Mille were all successful writers and actors involved in the theatre, she avoided the easy path to The Great White Way. Instead, she struggled in obscurity and poverty, courageously pursuing a career as a dancer and choreographer. When her amazing talent was finally recognized, and she made her way to the stage, she transformed the world of musical comedy and ballet forever.”
Both these great great woman artists lived a very long time. Martha Graham was 97 when she died and de Mille was 88. How many women—how many people have both these artists inspired and touched and enlightened with their great talent and their wise understanding of what it is to be an artist and to live the life of an artist…? How very many people have read those words of Martha Graham’s and said to themselves, ‘yes’….I must never forget the importance of these words.I have shared this quote with so very many young people from time to time over the years, especially when I see someone struggling with what to do with their lives and/or being discouraged by how difficult what they have chosen to do or be, is….
The struggle and discouragement that faces artists is so very difficult and often depressing in it's loneliness and sometimes very killing to the spirit…these words of the great Martha Graham remind you that you are unique….”there is only one of you in all of time”, and further, that “if you block it, it will never exist through any medium and be lost….”. If we are to cherish something let us cherish ourselves. Let us nurture ourselves and honor that which would not exist if we do not do this, and by cherishing this, we allow who we are and what we are to grow and to be expressed in whatever way is true to ourselves. Amen, Amen.
More To Come..............
NOTE: It seems so fitting to me that I would re-read this almost on the eve of The Celebration Of Betty's life---(I will post about that, next time)----She too was an inspiration to so very many people---she too lived a very long and incredibly productive life, in every way......Blogger won't let me do the paragraphs like I want to---Grrrrrr. So, bear with me here....... Update: Saturday, April 9th, 2011. The incredibly talented film director, Sidney Lumet, died this morning. I had just written a post about one of his most memorable films "The Verdict" in March.....He was a Giant in the world of Film and Directing.....One of the last of a group of fantastic directors who began directing in what became known as The Golden Age Of Television.....His great great body of work includes such classic films as "Dog Day Afternoon", "Network", "Serpico", "Long Days Journey Into Night"---to name just a few....I admired him greatly. RIP, Mr. Lumet. We won't see his like, again.
That is an awesome quote and I can understand the impact it had on you. "It is not your business to determine how good it is . . . It is your business to keep . . . the channel open." I feel reprimanded and have a guilty conscience. I wrote manically for years. By the time I was 20 I had literally thousands of poems and a number of stories and articles. As I got older, I got more critical of my work, and rather than continue, I put it all aside by age 30 because I believed none of it was any good. I felt most alive when I wrote, now after shutting it all down so long ago, that inspiration never comes anymore.
there is most certainly but one of you my dear friend
I know planning for Betty's memorial must be so challenging
I am thinking of you as I always do
and Hope sends big hugs
The public becomes enamored with the people on the stage or in front of the camera. It's good to hear about the DeMilles of the world whose vision, the artist interprets for the rest of us.
wow.. its like making an afghan in some sense my friend.. we all have our talents and that is what keeps us going.
Thanks for sharing this with us. I will have to keep it in mind for lots of things coming my way..
The quote reminds me of how I feel about poetry too. I tap in like finding water and if I don't, it's gone. I need water and poetry to live.
This is a very moving post, especially the part about the clearing circle that the women did. I saw it all play out, and you coming to sing, like it was a scene from a movie.
What an inspiring post and all the different threads combine - like a quilt - so typical of America -to remind us of great women of the arts. I remember the impact Martha Graham had internationally. In the fifties I think.
What a precious piece of paper - I'd be inclined to do what I've done with bits of Egyptian papyrus and enclose it between two sheets of glass, but you obviously take great care of it.
I wonder if Madonna's habit of the cast of her shows meditating in a circle before the curtain was inspired by Betty?
So many people must have been encouraged to fulfil their hopes and dreams by Betty, Agnes and Martha.
this is a post worth "reposting". Betty really touched so much in your life. But then, that's what makes the friendship last so long.
Just read about sidney Lumet and his death. I am a huge Paul Newman fan..loved the The Verdict. One of the few movies my mother and I both like. And of course Serpico and DD afternoon. Great post worth reposting. I thank you for educating me about art and theatre. I love your blog...your a great teller of stories and the beauty in this life..zman sends
What a beautiful and inspirational post, Naomi! That quote is going into my book to keep for all time and I will share it on Facebook. I LOVE it...and the stories behind these wonderful women.
"...the Eve of the Celebration of Betty's life...I'd like to hear more about that, my friend. I love your stories about Betty.
Hugs and besos and all the very best to you and Sweetie!! xo
I love the quote that you showed us, and I also love the way you have illustrated your post about "Quilters" with pictures of quilts, I especially appreciate the last picture, fabulous design and colours.
Sadly, many of the well known names associated with show business and movies seem to be lost to us just recently. You are right about Sidney Lumet, a very talented director, one of a kind indeed.
Inspired post, as always, Naomi! You did a great job here!
Very wise these words of the great Martha Graham: ”there is only one of you in all of time”, and further, that “if you block it, it will never exist through any medium and be lost….”.
I am sorry that Sidney Lumet died... Last month I review Serpico, with the great Al Pacino.
PS: Flora sends to you and to Sweetie kisses and hugs.
That is an inspiring quote, indeed. Do you mind if I share it with my granddaughter? She's just ten years old and I'm going to Kansas on Wednesday to see her in her first starring role as Alice in a musical production of Alice in Wonderland. And although she's only ten, I know she will appreciate the message.
Thank you, Naomi. You are so special.
such an inspiring post!
I have come via Vagabonde..have signed to follow you as I do not want to miss out on your posts. I must take time to sit and go through all your past words.
I was deeply saddened to her of Mr.Lumets death..I have long been a fan and great admirer of his work..a great loss to the industry.
A post about Quilters seems apropos, Naomi. Each quilt block is imbued with the spirit of the quilter, and each is decidedly unique. A fitting metaphor.
I hope you're being good to yourself, and are letting yourself be surrounded by the love that is coming your way from all over this fine blue planet. ♡
I enjoyed re-reading this post – it was as interesting as the first reading and I love the quotation at the top – so well said.
Wonderful post Naomi and it deserves more than one repeat.
I think the words "there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique" needs to be burned into our being from birth.
I thought the preperformance ritual so inspiring and am sure your song set the right tone.
Thank you for such a lovely, thought provoking post.
I would say that Martha Graham was a woman with insight.
What a wonderful quote, and I understand why it means so much to you.
Those words could mean so much to so many. Kevin
I have never thought of life as a quilt sewn with a pattern of people..... Thank you for the thought.
Thank you for the quote. Walking tonight I thought about another, either invented by a friend of mine, or not. "We're each a little piece of the universe, aware of itself." I find great comfort in that.
This is one of your very finest posts!!! I stand in awe of it's glory from beginning to end. Thank you for sharing this! After a less that stellar week, this is so welcome to my tired soul! Bless you, my friend!
What powerful words that I'd never read before. I wish I had heard them when I was young. Your counsel to young people must be most welcome and is generous of you.
This is an exceptional piece and well worth sharing again as you have here.
My dear Naomi, I have just read Vagabonde's recent post, and I love it. It describes a certain fascinating lady who lives in the hills above Hollywood. I wonder who that could be? And the description of that lady's life and career and beautiful home is delightful! Blogging gives us the opportunity to meet such interesting people, people that we might never come in contact with in the course of a normal day, people who become friends even though we may never meet in person. I am so glad that you both enjoyed your visit.
Thank you Naomi for sharinng the the inspiring quote and yes, we have to cherish ourselves and nurture our soul as well.
Thinking of you and Seemah always :D
Wonderful as usual dear Naomi! That is an awesome quote and I can see why it would mean so much to you.
I think I would have liked that play, Quilters. I also like the fact that they came together before each performance like that. How wonderful that you got to sing for them!! You write so well and I could picture it all in my mind as I was reading your post!!
I found your blog after googling Betty Garrett and was so pleased to read your remembrance of the Taper production of QUILTERS. I'm the co-author of the play, Molly Newman, and I wonder where Betty's diary ended up. I'm in touch with some of the actors from the LA production and I know they'd love to see it. Do you have it?
Hi Molly....thanks for stopping by. I do not have that Diary and I have no idea where it is, unless the family still has it. I will ask her son, Garrett....If you could email me your email, that would be a better way to communicate....
My Email: myrtillo1984 AT yahoo DOT com.
I loved Quilters and I know Betty adored doing it....Such a rich beautiful show.
Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
Location: Los Angeles, California