I was doing some research into the creative spark/gene/instinct and was pleasantly excited to see how often the reference to some level of insanity came up. Whether officially or unofficially, there is a general agreement that creativity in any field requires some sort of madness.
The border between the eccentric genuis and the clinically insane is fine and delicate. I guess in that context, I should be okay with hearing people use the word ‘odd’ or ‘weird’ or ‘crazy’ to describe me. It happens every so often and depending on my mood and circumstance, I’ve found it funny, inspiring or plain depressing.
Thomas Henry (1825-1895) said: “Tolerably early in life I discovered that one of the unpardonable sins, in the eyes of most people, is for a man to presume to go about unlabelled. The world regards such a person as the police do an unmuzzled dog, not under proper control.“
I found that perfectly appropriate for my own life. Through no conscious decision of my own (which would have been more admirable), I’ve managed to evade the labels society would love to tag on me. When people ask me what I do, depending on the time I can say “I write” or “I work with a magazine” or “I teach”, but sooner or later I have to come to terms with the fact that I do a lot of different things, but none of them long enough to make a label out of.
If anything, I can probably say I’m simply a perpetual learner. The kind of person who given a chance would haunt the corridors of a university infinitely, simply finishing one course and moving on to another. There’s never enough answers for me and sometimes the process of learning something new is more exciting than the actual knowledge I gain.
Having said that, I should get back to the main point of this post which is that:
“I’m done with my exams!” I would add a “whoo-hoo!” but I’m not in a whoo-hoo-ing mood right now. I’m just too tired. I’ve slept for about 6 hrs in the past 48 (split into 3-hr sessions) and I can tell I’m tired because I’ve beeen stumbling over words all day long.
I’ve learnt that my tongue imitates unwieldy rubber in direct proportion to my energy, so when I hit hazardously low levels, I end up using the wrong words in the wrong place or the right word but in some weird combinations of sounds and basically I sound less than intelligent. Next time, I should make a point to ask those around me if they can detect a greater, noticeable incoherancy in my speech. Or maybe I sound like that all the time? (*eeek*)
And time loses its clarity too – moments become surreal and I wonder whether things ever did happen the way I remember. Was that me sitting there? Did I say that? What the hell was I thinking? and so on and so forth.
The very worst bit is that I’m so tired, I can barely type this out, but I can’t sleep either. I think the term for it is ‘wired’, but seriously I’m having difficulty just remembering the spellings of normal words so I might be very wrong.
So anyhoo…before I resign myself to that fact that I HAVE to sleep, here’s what’s in store for me:
– 3 (supposed) weeks of holiday
– 1 (forced) week of working on the magazine/finishing projects
– 2 (actual) weeks of holiday and (hopefully) of creative license and experimentation.
And I also need to clean, sort out stuff I’ve been ignoring for weeks, clear out the confused mess in my head, get rid of junk – both external and mental, and basically pretend to join the masses of the normal for a fortnight or so.
Is this what life is going to be like from now? It sounds surprisingly appealing.
I am a night painter, so when I come into the studio the next morning the delirium is over. I come into the studio very fearfully, I creep in to see what happened the night before. And the feeling is one of, “My God, did I do that?”
– Philip Guston