Another post over on Thinking Through Our Fingers today–this one about what it’s like to live as an artist and how hard it can sometimes be to fit into modern society. Come check it out and leave a comment!
There’s this ongoing joke in the writing community: that writers are all a little bit crazy. We talk to imaginary people, have unusual habits and rituals for ensuring a good day’s work, and we’re often workaholics to the point that it would be perfectly expected to find us hiding in the bathroom with a laptop. Our spouses wouldn’t blink an eye.
The truth is that we’re pretty normal. We have families that we clean up after and shuttle around and love. We have jobs we clock in and out of and do our best to stay present for, even though it isn’t our passion. We search Pinterest for fast, easy, healthy dinners for less than $10, 5 ingredients, and 30 minutes. And we struggle each day to be the best parent, spouse, employee, friend, sibling, and child we can be.
And yet, we “like” every single one of those artist-crazy memes on Facebook.
Because there’s a truth at the heart of it. We are a little crazy…or at least we wish we were allowed to be.
CREATIVES HAVE TO BE A LITTLE CRAZY
Think of any great artist in history and you’re bound to have heard some stories. Many of them have had drinking problems, odd sleep/work schedules, social awkwardness, mistresses. I won’t say who, but someone even cut off his own ear. In previous centuries, artists were known for being moody, eccentric, neurotic, socially awkward, and since the beginning of time, this has been understood.
These days, though, we’ve worked so hard to appear normal that it’s become expected that we cover up those eccentricities. Different is shunned. Not showing up to a friend’s party because you’re allergic to small talk is considered a hate crime. Holing up for some much needed alone time is labeled depression. What “normal” people don’t realize is that our real label is “writer” and to reach that place inside ourselves where creativity comes from, we have to let go of reality a bit and let the crazy take over.