The Conditions for Creativity


Some people say you don’t have to be a depressed, starving artist.  You don’t have to suffer.  You don’t have to cut off your ear or live in a garret or die of syphilis contracted while having obligatory sex with your patron.   You don’t have to drink yourself to death or drug yourself to death.  You don’t have to be tortured by demons that pierce your eyes, entering your brain, causing confusion and compelling you to paint microscopic landscapes on lima beans.

These commentators say the creative spirit can flourish in happy times.  They tell us the creative spirit can exist in a well-balanced human: centered, grounded, cheery, sociable, fulfilled.  First chakra in harmony.  The bottom 5 rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy solidified.  Financially stable.

So they claim.

These cheerleaders for artists write happy self-help books and make lots of money lecturing on how to be a happy artist.  How to overcome your own inner blocks.  How to re-write the movies in your mind.

The people who make these pronouncements are overly medicated.

They take too much Prozac.

They are not in touch with reality.

In high probability, anyone who espouses the happy artist theory is nuts.  They could possibly be right, but…

…but…

…but I must say to you that since I have gotten breast cancer, uterine cancer, a life-threatening breathing disorder, cataracts, a huge (expensive) abscess in my jaw…all this without health insurance; and since I  filed for bankruptcy, my house went into foreclosure, my unemployment benefits ran out after being out of work for 36 months…

…I sure have been doing a heck of a lot of creative writing!

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