Thursday, 11 July 2013

A Struggle of Emotion

The creative mind it's not an easy thing to live with. Inside your head are so many different worlds and characters, pain and emotions that don't even belong to you. As an artist you look around you see the hurt the struggles of others and you guilt and worry. You can be overly sensitive to the things around you and its so easy to go over the edge. Look at the correlation between artistic, creative talent and mental illness and the results are astounding. Looking into the history of so many of them you find a coping mechanism of alcohol or substance abuse. So many historically dealing with depression and as you look into the strength and personal drive and struggle it takes to create and immerse yourself another world it's not that surprising. I've found so many studies to have looked into it claiming a correlation, though others have tried to disprove it. One study claimed 71% of famous 20th century writers had alcoholism 71%! That is almost 3/4 of the writing population. That's an insanely high number. It begs the question of what to do about it. To drown out the emotions that drive you is to squash your creative talent all together.

 "Write drunk; edit sober.” - Ernest Hemingway

 Are we really two drastically different people when we write? There is such a difference between the inspiration that drives the creative flow and the person who has to read it over again. Personally when I'm writing and really writing, there's no stopping me until everything in my mind has been placed on the page. It's part of the reason I write in such a chaotic manner. I don't write from beginning to end, I write beginning, end, middle, more middle, end again. I need to get my ideas out while they're still there, still fresh and interesting. To go back and try to remember produces a lesser product. If it means dropping everything to run and write it all down, I do it. I can only write in a chaotic state, if I'm too calm, too distracted analytically nothing will flow, it's the time to read back over my work and find all the flaws I couldn't notice when I was writing.

 "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." -Ernest Hemingway

 Writing especially fiction would seem as though it's less personal but despite what you've written on the page, real or not allowing others to look at it it is allowing them to look into your soul and experience the emotions  the terror, the fear, the worry that you feel. You're translating it into your characters. Though you may never have literally been hanging on the edge of a cliff for dear life, it's a reference to your emotional state.

 They say to write what you know, and what you know may not be life as an adopted 16 year old witch who holds the power to fall between good and evil...beneath the base of the story is your life, your hopes and dreams, your beliefs and morals. It's all there for the world to see if anyone truly wants to look. Maybe I should stop quoting Hemingway as an example of a great creative mind dealing with the struggle as his didn't exactly end happily ever after. I was reading a book the other day where two writers were having a correspondence that went 'I now know why Hemingway shot himself' which was responded with 'Yeah, because he couldn't drink himself to death fast enough'

 It's not to discredit a horrific end to a beautiful mind, it's to show that the stress of dealing with it is something so many can relate to. Every human being is different, we feel different, love different, hurt differently.  What causes stress for one person may be nothing to another. There are so many factors, personality, age, mental state, upbringing, even genetics. The fragile breaking point is different for everyone.

 “And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad.” - Stephen Chbosky The Perks of Being a Wallflower

 To say 'it could be worse' is always true but does that really make it better? When you're feeling so strongly over something, it's true, and life could always be worse but it doesn't make a difference to how you are feeling about yourself, about your life. Thinking of the misfortune of others, having it thrown in your face just adds to it. The upset and pain you feel living in a relatively good life and to have to think, and imagine the pain of someone worse off than you. How do you not feel it, not care. You don't dismiss your own pain, you add to it and you keep adding.

 “It's strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.” - Stephen Chbosky The Perks of Being a Wallflower

 If that is true for a reader, if you can become the book, the character, believe that these things are happening, feel and experience the emotions that have been placed on the page for you, think of those who have sat back and pulled these things from their own minds, their own lives.

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