Good Art—Miserable Heart?
Maybe you’ve noticed…the “greats” of just about any art form, be it music, or literature, or painting, or sculpture, just to list a few, tend to be tortured souls. We authors sometimes joke about how the copious consumption of alcohol or other addictive beverages is a given within the writing community, but beneath the laughter there’s an unease that the shades of truth bring.
While I’m no “great” in either writing or art, the older I get, the more I find the compulsion to make things an inextricable part of who I am. In my 20’s, I had a job in the animation field, and so I drew 8+ hours a day, which left me comfortably managing the less-creative facets of life in my off hours. Then I moved into a phase of life that was a blur of pregnancy and toddler-chasing, punctuated by a yearly stint in decorating the entirety of a church campus for Vacation Bible School. During these years, the creative beast made few demands…went into hibernation, so to speak, probably because I knew I was pursuing something worthy (the molding of my children) with the bulk of my time. There was never a question as to the meaningfulness behind my daily pursuits, even when spit up and diapers and tiny missing socks characterized my waking hours.
Well, now I’m seeing my 40’s loom large on the horizon, and I’ve traded drawing for writing as my primary
If I’m being honest, however, there’s a part of me that knows neurosis feeds passion, and passion makes for better stories, and that’s the part of me that’s a little bit afraid to get well. To be too “normal” to make anything compelling.
But there’s a point at which emotional baggage becomes too much to bear. A point where the lows become unfair to the family that has to carry on, even if the sufferer in their midst can’t function. A point where the interior monologue that plays in times of silence becomes frightening.
I’m at that point.
Vacillating between manic periods of crazy-productivity (this is the part I’m loathe to lose) and emotional weight so unmanageable that I literally have trouble moving is no way to live, and so I’m finally doing something about it. I hope.
So it begins with a visit to a new doctor and a round of blood work—something I have been meaning to do for a year and a half, ever since a sleep study came back with no discernible issues to justify my horrible fatigue. If this comes back with no red flags in terms of physiology, that may mean my doctor and I take the road of antidepressants.
Why am I telling you all this? Mostly to give you perspective as to where my mental state may be headed as time presses on, and to give you a sense of the likely internal struggle that will provide the backdrop to what I post here in the next few months. Partially, I hope that my struggles and the road I find out of them will provide some encouragement to others who wrestle with similar issues to mine. It is my sincere hope, that although I may never become a “great” in the fields of drawing or fantasy writing, that if I can shed the weight of lies my fatigue and misery load upon me by the shovelful, that I will become more apt for what my Maker intended me to be, and that my ears will finally be clearer to hear his plans.
I invite you to walk along side me as I navigate the twisting road of creative vs. crazy. I’m increasingly convicted as someone who belongs to God, you don’t have to be one to be the other.