I want to dedicate my first blog to one of my heroes: Martha Graham. She begins her autobiography, Blood Memory, with these words: “I am a dancer. I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dance or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”
As a writer, I’m inspired by Ms. Graham’s dedication to her craft. (Every year, I reread Blood Memory. It’s worth checking out folks, especially, if like me, you’re always looking for inspiration.) She says it takes 10 years to become a mature dancer, and I think that’s true in the mastering of any art. It takes years to build the “muscles,” whatever those muscles are for you. For her, it was “shaping the body and cultivating eloquent movement.” When it’s achieved, she writes, then “Comes the cultivation of the being from which whatever you have to say comes.”
Don’t you love that last thought? Isn’t that what our lives are about? It’s certainly why we write and why we read.