Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Blah blah blah blah blah
I am intellectually lazy. I don't try to find the exact right word. If I find that I can't reach a conclusion, I'll stop writing and say "oh, I think I'll end it here". Most days I think it's a-okay, that's me, take it or leave it, so what. I never said I was a Writer (with a capital W no less). No, I never did and I don't. My writing is me talking in my head, talking to you, my imaginary readers, and is just an exercise in self indulgence (which to be very good for my mental health).
Once in a while I dearly want to express an idea but i find it hard, and so, I have many drafts that are left in the dust, abandoned, never to be finished and never to be read. And I wonder if these poor abandoned potential posts might contain the best stuff.
See, I don't want to write the word stuff, but i can't think of anything else, and I can't be bothered to tax my brain enough to find another.
As usual, this is but a preface to what I want to write about. First I make excuses, hem and haw, explain, apologize, ruminate, or any other tactic to obfuscate the fact that I can't get straight to the point, state my position, back it up and then come to a conclusion. I was going to write, "see, I'd never be a good debater" (and I did, in fact, just write that). But no, I am a fairly good debater, but when people start raising their voices, I walk away, or if I am cornered I'll say "Oh, I really don't know much about this anyway. You're right." Blogging is a good remedy for that. If you disagree with me, I don't have to hear the tone of your voice and I can walk away from a topic at any point without some else saying, "Hey wait, I wasn't finished yet!".
Well. Let's get to the subject, now, shall we?
Earlier tonight I was thinking about the connection between creativity and depression or other "mental illnesses". I've been in a very good mood lately, and I find that when I am, I have less of a desire or need to write. I don't even know what to write about. I could write about politics, but I realize that even though I'm nearly obsessed with this particular political season, I have nothing really new to say, and as I've written before, there are hundreds of professional talking heads to write about this topic. I have some perfumes I'd like to write about, but my thoughts on them are not much more than reviews, so why bother? I've been knitting more than usual, but I have nothing to say about my knitting (well, that may not be true, so I'll hold off on that).
What remains is a question that has been asked over and over again: If people could rid themselves of mental anguish, would they be as creative? If no one had a lousy childhood or faced hardships, would the arts die out? Think about it: there's art as protest, art as catharsis, art as redemption, art as revenge. . .(ah, see how I trail off. . .)
How important is art about beauty? The notion, of art expressing beauty, is practically archaic. Can you imagine a Whitney biennial full of "romantic" art that is not tongue-in-cheek? Or rock and roll that is truly about lasting, enduring and possibly universal love (without any shmaltz?) Or poetry and novels where people are not struggling in some way?
I wonder sometimes if my inordinate appreciation for the tiny things in life is intense mostly due to its contrast to the times in which I find the world bleak, miserable and unbearable. If I didn't find such joy in the plants, the birds, the way the light comes in the windows at a certain angle just so, the smell of a new miniscule vial of perfume, I would be near suicidal. I must, absolutely must, stop and notice. I can not afford to not slow down and appreciate this stuff (there's that word again). When I do, I fall apart. Completely. The world becomes bleaker and bleaker until all I see is a kind of horror and futility. The days drag on with purposelessness. People seem distant, as if I'm separated from them by a thick dirty window. I only see what's bad (and there's plenty of it) until I find myself hiding under the covers, wishing for obliteration.
My moods are like weather. If I stay alert, take it slow, watch and notice, I may not see the storm coming, or if I do, I may not be able to keep it at bay (for who can control the weather?) but I can sit back and watch it pass, wreak its havoc and then clean up afterwards.
In truth, I love the weather after a good storm. And as with the real weather, the weather of my moods, the days that have gone black, are always followed by an intense parting of the clouds, with bright light illuminating something new, always something new. New ideas are hatched, the dead and fallen wood of the received ideas I carry around with me gets thrown away (though there's always more where that came from) and I arise, feeling radiant, refreshed, cleaner and more alive.
I remember when Kramer's "Listening to Prozac" came out, back in 1993. In it, Kramer worried about the lessening of creativity when some of his patients took this new SSRI. And some of his patients, indeed, felt like their creative selves had somehow been diminished. Others felt freed, at long last!, from their demons and depressions and could work well and happily in the world. It was a hodgepodge, an interesting hodgepodge.
I do not remember his conclusions (though I remembered that I asked my doctor for Prozac, so they must not have been too forceful against the drug). Perhaps I should re-visit the book, which has been revised and has a new preface entitled "The Landmark Book About Antidepressants and the Remaking of the Self".
The re-making of the Self? That's a pretty scary thought.
I like my self. I don't want to re-make it! I even like the things that are "wrong with me" (well, on good days, at least). Really really normal people are boring.
A friend of mine and I watched some clips of Russell Brand, an English comedian/actor/TV show host/media whore (oh, sorry about that) last night. The guy is a lunatic! I'm jealous of him! He blathers on and on about nothing and everything. If he censors himself, it doesn't show. He'll tell another man he wants to have sex with him (even though he's straight), 'cause he's cute. He says heroin is lovely (though he doesn't do it anymore) and, besides, who describes heroin as lovely? Well, only an English person; "Oh, dahling, I'd like a dime bag of heroin and a crumpet. Pass me a lump of sugar, there's a dear. Thank you oh so very much."
Who wants to watch normal people talking to each other, anyway? How boring would that be? Y'know, I realized Adam Sandler was not a funny guy when I saw Russell Brand interview him. He's just a shade more smart seeming than the character he's played over and over again and epitomized in "Billy Madison". Oh dear. He's so american.
We are so ambivalent in this country. Be weird, but just enough to entertain us. That's a very fine line. Dean blew his chances at the presidential nomination because he screamed way too out-of-control. Leaving his Scientology aside (which is a bit hard to do) what's his name (what IS his name??!!) ruined his career by jumping up and down on an interview sofa. Britney shaved her head. I could go on and on.
The only thing that ever saves people who go over this edge is coming back redeemed. They have to publicly denounce or renounce their behavior (usually chalking it up to some addiction or another), basically confess their sins in public, and then show how normal they really are, or are working towards (one day at a time, in most cases).
But no, in other places in the world, being eccentric or even flat out crazy is perfectly fine as long as you don't hurt yourself or others. In fact, you may be a shaman or, at the very least, someone others would like to have lunch with.
Okay: here is where I stop arbitrarily. Do you know how long I could go on like this? This isn't one of my finer writing moments, but I'm going to leave it, just the way it is, overlong, absurdly rambling and without an obvious thesis and conclusion. Make of it what you will(and if you've reached the end here, I congratulate you on your stamina).