Over the weekend, my Kentucky Wildcats may have lost to UConn in their Final Four match-up, but clearly there’s a lot to be said for another form of March Madness, a lot to be said for the merits of mania–the creative benefits of “crazy.”
Part of my current challenge to write a memoir about growing up in a home raided semi-regularly by the FBI and struggling for more than twenty years with bipolar disorder has meant uncovering more of my artistic past. And in that process I’m finding I created even more prolifically than I remembered during the years I was most symptomatic. Clearly, I was crazy for creativity.
(For a great book on this link between manic-depression and creativity, take a look at Kay Redfield Jamison’s Touched with Fire.)
Today specifically, I’d like to share a pair of paintings I did more than 13 years ago–both watercolor on paper.
In the late 90s, when these were done, I worked small–mostly because so much of my art was done during inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations, where I had neither the space nor the supplies to create on a larger scale. Each of these watercolors, for example, is approximately 3 x 5.5 inches.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the mania that allowed me to create like this.
Now, though I still write and draw and paint, it doesn’t come as easily. And though creating in any medium can be intoxicating, less manic making of art sometimes feels more ordinary, less inspired, less a gift from the gods–more plodding and less March-Madness.
Are you, too, crazy for creativity?