So, I've had nearly a three-month hiatus from posting hub articles. No particular reason, other than it being summer, and me just not feeling the inspiration.
I was taking a long walk/run down into the east part of town yesterday morning; however, and it occurred to me why I needed to pick up where I left off. Because. Just because.
Because this is a community of writers, where we publish some things that have meaning, some with very little meaning, and and some with absolutely no meaning whatsoever.
Because it forces me to sit down and focus my thoughts into one activity, instead of the dozen or more that I typically handle.
Because I want to further my writing career - and since I work out to keep my body in shape, similarly I need to work out ("use your words!", I tell my kids) to keep my writing crisp, so I can be a multi-bazillionaire author!
Because I friggen feel like it - and that trumps all!
Previously, I've written about how it seems our culture tends to link the scientifically-literate left-brainers with craziness, as demonstrated in movies like "A Beautiful Mind" or "Proof" (see Are All Geniuses Crazy?) Now, I find articles that imply creative types (right-brainers), such as writers, poets, etc. tend to be depressed and melancholy (see The Sylvia Plath effect.)
Hold on, whilst I pour another martini...
Okay, so what gives them the right to say that? They're even pulling Aristotle against us. I mean, what does Jacqueline Onassis' husband know about this stuff anyway?
The theory is that certain famous artists, writers, etc. have been thought to be bipolar or depressed. However, and this comes from my new hero, "creativity researcher" (how do I get that job?) James Kaufman, PhD from CSU, San Bernardino: "such research is often fraught with methodological problems, including selection bias, controls that are not blinded, reliance on biographies that might play up mental illness, retrospective designs and unclear definitions of creativity." Sha-ZAM! Take that, theorists!
Is that martini glass of mine empty again?
Hey wait, is that the same JC Kaufman listed in the bibliographic references at the bottom of the article who wrote the book, "I Bask In Dreams of Suicide: Mental Illness, Poetry and Women"? I like poetry. I like women. I've taken a Philosophy course in Logic - is someone playing a game with me here?
And where did all the olives go?
Processing the pain
Seriously, there are a lot of challenges in life. Each of us approaches them in varying ways that work for us. I think it just becomes interesting for us to speculate on the painter, the writer, the mathematician, the politician, the pop star ... and the act of putting that energy into their well-being is crazy-making in and of itself. I think it's more troublesome the way so many people tuck away their pain behind these spit-shined images that we see in the papers and on the streets every day.
If a writer or poet expresses pain in their work, perhaps what you're seeing is that expression in its pure raw form, and in the rest of their life, they interact with others seamlessly, have dinner parties, have lunch with friends, and attend religious and community events like the rest of us. Only they have a method of tapping into their truth in a way that releases and clarifies things for them.
I always admire the person who is able to be their truest, most honest self both in private and in public - and that's a rare person. After all, isn't emotional congruency what we truly seek?
Oh shit, I'm getting profound. Somewhere someone is thinking of prescribing me Prozac... ;-)
The key, I think is just to do what works for you - what makes you feel alive and focused and happy, whether it's writing, acting, doing people's taxes, juggling avocados or painting watercolors with your toes!
So write. Exercise. Smoke em if you got em. Enjoy that martini. Savor every bite of that amazing entree.
And don't be afraid of the dark... ;-)