A recent discussion on LinkedIn about creative madness brought out many differing views on life, psychology, and politics, but little in the way of an inspiring take on writing as a divine extension of the mind into unknown worlds of words, images and endless possibilities.A writer who posted an article on how to push away critics that seek to steal our unique voice and the way we scream or whisper through words and images was berated for daring to mention madness as an asset.
The discussion devolved to discussing how we shouldn't talk about mental illness as an asset. Van Gogh was brought up as an example of brilliance enclosed in an iconic battle for his life. It actually was great fuel for exploring that creative path in our souls that cries out when something is wrong. Sometimes, the best way to expunge the pain or follow through on elation is to write, paint, build, code or pursue other hands-on expressions of creation that make life worth living.
Unfortunately, we have imbued labels such as "ADD/ADHD" with the power to stigmatize a whole population of people who may run instead of walking, who may speak out of turn, who may not be able to organize their lives without sticky notes (in some cases), and who might be perfectly happy the way they are if it wasn't for living in a time when deviation from the norm equals deviance.
We Write to Survive
Writing and survival cannot be separated.
We are led to believe that getting through school with good grades and attending a quality college will ensure our place in a profession that will feed us while we pursue what we love. If we are really lucky, we can work on what we love in our professional and private lives. (To see artists doing just that...tune into the PBS series on "Craft in America.")
Unfortunately, especially with writing, our worlds may collide and one or the other has to give way to reality. But how we set up that reality is part of the creative process we can embrace and pass forward.