Sunday, May 4, 2008


I've been reading a book I got in Amsterdam, Van Gogh's letters, abridged, with biographical info interspersed.

I have also been sleeping a lot, and I'm feeling dopey.

These two relate, albeit distantly.

There has been much thinking about madness and art in both popular and scientific circles. There are many artists who were mad...Van Gogh almost certainly was bi-polar for instance. This is by no means a unique case...and discussion of it has gone on and will go on....for instance here and here or here.

This is not really where I come together with Vincent though...

The next issue of course is medicating the illness.

Now, I am by no means a creative genius. No means. Fact one put forward, I am also quite stunned by the deadening of my impetus and thoughts by these anti-histamines. These are not normal run of the mill pills that you get over the counter, however I am hardly a walking zombie, just a little dopey-er...but I do not have serious creative work in me, I have no desire to paint, and I spent the day on a (much needed) but nearly endless boring menial task, and reasonably contentedly at that.

These are just antihistomines. It is no wonder to me that artists may chose to live with the symptoms of their disease to maintain that razor edge of focus and drive. I have certainly been dulled today, and it is nothing like the powerful mood altering drugs handed to those struggling with mental illness. Indeed I suspect it is not just the artists that resist the drugs; but then there is the struggle to manage the disease.

It is a fascinating and fertile bit of thinking that can go into that....but not for me today...I'm only up to pointing it out, not really thinking about it as of yet.

Maybe the day after tomorrow.


Beth said...

um....what do you mean you're not a creative genius????YES YOU ARE!!!! your artwork is BEAUTIFUL Rocky!!!!!

someday, people will be reading about you and your "creative genius"....

Anonymous said...

You're experiencing the central problem and certainly not just for artists!
Witness the thousands of kids put on medication as soon as they hit school, or even preschool institutions, because they are unmanageable and super-hyperactive.
Miserable and itchy and out-of-it because of allergies on top of all that and you have kids that get turned into ZOMBIES regularly.

Some of my friends, who are accutely aware of their mental disorders, regularly go off their medication, nevertheless.
Without the radical highs and creative rushes they say life is grey and boring. BUT
They needs must have someone to help them realize when to go back on before they slip over the edge -not an easy life or task to take on, to put ir mildly.

Surely your itchy, miserable, puffy condition is rapidly disappearing?
Cheers, GM
Fantastic, I love it.

Terrie said...

O.K. multi comment. I always have strange dreams when I am on a new drug or take sleep aids. HMMM Maybe that was what happened with Picaso. Maybe he had really really strange dreams.
I forced Robbie to ride a roller coaster at an amusement park this past weekend that he had talked about abunch. He was glad I did. Then he acted as if he wasn't scared and he was gonna do it all along.
Robbies class published a book this year as a group. They all drew a picture and wrote a poem and then we got a hard bound book back for only $21.95 what a deal! I don't know if it really was but he loves it.

elPadawan said...

don't worry, you just have to get crazy, that's all. All the creativity you mistakenly think you lack will pop up in front of you :p.

oreneta said...

Bullwinkle....thanks...I think I love you.

GM, in my dosey drugged state I managed to forget entirely about the near entire generation we are raising on ritalin true. Glad you liked the Eliot...I have to think about what I'll put up next.

Terrie, it is funny when we force them to overcome fear...something they need to be able to do living on a boat as you know what company they used for the book?

elPadawan, my kids are kindly helping me reach that state of insanity so I can recognise my creativity ;-)

Terrie said...

I will look it up and get back to you

Kim S. said...

This is an interesting topic for me. Speaking from experience: intense creativity is sometimes paired with a mind that is ultra sensitive to outside stimulation. In my opinion it is over-stimulation (in the form of many things) that can cause the highly creative, 'beautiful mind' to struggle and sometimes collapse. Medication, paired with lifestyle changes is a way for that 'beautiful mind' to heal and adapt. What would the outcome have been for Van Gogh if he had the medical options we have today? You are right to say that there is a trade off. Consequences for everything, right? Makes me appreciate my clear thoughts, all the more!

oreneta said...

Terrie, thanks...

Kim, there is no question in my mind that an intensely creative person who wants to create art or work of meaning has to remain sensitised to outside stimulation...and I agree there must be some kind of trade off, as I read Van Gogh's letters he was so intensely affected by the natural world, it allowed him to see and notice and utilise the beauty in the world around him, to all of our betterment, by the same token he was torn by the same things. If he had been medicated? The feeling now seems to be that he was bi-polar...could they have controlled the downswings and still allowed him the highs when he did so much work, and so much of it so amazing?

I don't know.