“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
How much truth there is in that statement! There have been a lot of articles out lately about the fact that some of our most creative individuals have been decidedly nuts. As if this is a new concept. Those of us who live in that realm would tell you that it’s our predilection to wayward thinking that makes us be able to see, paint, play, design, write things in a different way. It enables us to see the beauty in unlikely things, and also to see the pain behind the beauty. It gives us the ability to make comedy out of things that would otherwise be tragedy. Creativity is our way of dealing with all the unfairness and ugliness in the world. Because we can’t take that ugliness and unfairness. It hurts us. Deeply. Because part of us is the neglected child, the abused spouse, the dehumanized minority, the aching Earth. Those all live within us. A strange type of Empathy that causes us to seek out and create for those phantom persons within us. And the spoils of our labor make us happy, even in the face of the world’s sorrows.
In other words: We have to laugh, because if we didn’t, we’d have to cry. And that’s no way to spend a life.
It’s true, few of us are going to start a revolution or lead the charge of the light brigade… We count on our logical, pragmatist friends to do that. Mostly because we are too unorganized to run anything. (Have you seen our desks? Seriously, if you have, let us know… We haven’t been able to find it in months for all the mess atop of it…)
Granted, very few of us are Picassos or Einsteins (Yes, he was a creative sort, too. Science and math is an art for those who can see past the numbers. Einstein didn’t stumble upon his theory of relativity. His roundabout way of thinking knew it was there long before the math could prove it.) Most of us are points on a spectrum. Creative versus rational thinking is often an inversely proportional graph. The more your creative mind blooms, the more you are thought to be nuts by the rational people.
What they don’t get is that, when we turn the graph to have ours be the primary axis, they are the ones who are outside the curve.
An aside: When i say “nuts”, i am talking about the benignly nuts. The quirky weirdos who fight their feelings and poles daily. You might not know what to make of us, but you know we aren’t going to hurt you. The malignantly insane, however, are on a totally separate graph. Serial killers, Genocidal dictators, Deacons of the Westboro Baptist church… These are people aren’t nuts. They are medically insane. Which is a different issue altogether.
Back to the topic at hand…
To people who are benignly nuts, the rest of the world doesn’t always make sense. The fact that some other people don’t have a child, or a madman, or a person of a different color or persuasion living within their psyche… No wonder those people have such a hard time seeing things from another’s point of view! They can only see what they know. They can’t see beyond. And they will never be able to see anything from a totally new perspective. They aren’t nuts enough to see beyond their own reality. Which pretty much precludes creativity.
Empaths and visionaries… That’s what we are. But i personally prefer the term “nuts”. Firstly, because it is taking back a term, claiming it for ourselves, and someday, hopefully, removing some of the bad connotations associated with it. Secondly, because it makes people smile. And, in the end, that is what most creativity is about. Making people smile. Smile, feel, wonder, and find peace.
It’s a worthy goal, and not really crazy at all.
So to all my fellow nuts, whatever it is that you do to bring newness and art to the world: Whether you draw or dance or garden or quilt… Keep doing it, even if others don’t always get it. Even if after they examine your work, they sometimes look at you with pity and fear and pat your head like you’re a cat who brought home a dead mouse to his master. Keep on. All God/Goddess/Universe asks is that you make a joyful noise. She never said you had to be Paul McCartney. Not everyone can be a Beatle. But use what She gave you. She gave you that special case of nuts for a reason. It was a gift. A true gift. Use it.
As Robin Williams once said, “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”