On a plane last weekend, I was reading Stephen King’s “On Writing” (she’s STILL reading that?! why yes, I am) and something he wrote struck a chord that spawned a thought that inspired this post. He was discussing the dangers and beauties of description and, in giving an example from his work, briefly mentioned how deeply into drugs and alcohol he was at the time he wrote the piece in question…
Why is that? I asked myself. What is it about artists (writers, musicians, composers, painters, etc.) that makes them so seemingly vulnerable to drugs, alcohol, and depression? I’ve developed an answer which may or may not ring true for you other artists, but it satisfies me.
I believe it’s because we are in constant limbo between giving life and feeling loss. While art is largely expression in some form, some part of the original, internal creative genius of an idea is lost upon expression. Between the artist’s…soul? heart?…creative center? and the page or the canvas or the strings, something is lost and we feel it deeply. We are unable, in our imperfect state, to translate unharmed the true beauty and purity of the creative work inside of us. This sense of lost essence perpetuates a level of melancholy artists are rarely able to avoid. But what are we to do? Keep our creative genius to our selves? Certainly not. For the art inside will erode its master if it is not let out. And that is far worse. So we express. We bear life. We internalize the hurt of not getting it “quite right,” and we do it again. This is the artist’s curse. Perhaps in eternity, our creative nature will be perfected, but for now, we submit ourselves to whatever it is that drives us and try to produce more life than we feel loss.
And that’s how Sue “Cs” it. 🙂 I realize there are a million and seventeen other external factors that drive artists to substance abuse and depression. Poverty is probably the most common–if there was money in it everyone would do it. But at the heart of things, when all else in life appears to be held together, I still can’t shake the feeling that I’ll never get it “quite right” when it comes to the things I write. So like I said, I just submit myself to the creative process, allow life to flow out of me, and attempt to burn the sense of loss as midnight oil.
Fellow creatives, what say you?
A Wittle Note About the Blog:
It’s been a while, I know. I’m over explaining the chaos of my life, making promises about a “fresh” start at blogging, and then not being able to deliver. I’ve resolved to accept the ebb and flow of creativity and chaos and just roll with it, however it comes. But no matter how long between posts, I’m still here. Creating, growing, living, and chasing all the adventure I can handle.