Monday, August 29, 2011

It Takes a Crazy Person

Pop quiz: You have to be crazy to be truly artistic and/or creative. (T/F)

It's something I've been thinking about lately. When I was growing up back in the Stone Ages *cough* I mean, in the 80s, that was somewhat the prevailing view.

The truly creative, artistic people were all total nutjobs. Some writers even went so far as to cultivate a crazy persona to be taken more seriously. Remember this post?

Why am I thinking about this? Two reasons. First (and most importantly), I'm trying to rationalize my own nutty behavior as of late. It's all that latent creativity coming out. (Right?)

But also, thanks to Nathan Bransford, I watched Stephenie Meyer on Oprah, and she's just the most normal-seeming person on the planet. Jo Rowling, too.

These ladies don't seem crazy, but they've each created something that everyone loves. Perhaps you would argue that their books aren't particularly original or creative. Or artistic.

In the case of Twilight, I can see much borrowing from the classics. But in the case of Rowling the same can be said. She reimagined many old hero stories and myths--the Alchemist's stone? I think both ladies are great writers and demonstrate much creativity. Yet they're both just average, stay-at-home moms.

So what's the verdict? True or false?

I know, crazy is a charged term. I hesitate to describe anyone, myself included, that way. But there is something different.

Maybe it's more a matter of learning to let go. Losing a grip on self-discipline, schedule keeping, fitness regimines, keeping up with family events, the appearance of actually listening when someone's talking to you...

I guess the way most writers act when they're chasing down an idea does make them appear somewhat crazy. Or air-headed--fer sure--a bit like those absent-minded professors.

Artists can be the same way. Musicians just hum a lot and tap on everything.

I'm going to answer False, but I think the appearance would lead the uninitiated to say True. You?

Just some fun before I head back into the revisions cave--here I go again. Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends. Til Thursday~ <3


Miranda Hardy said...

I like crazy. Then again, I was never normal to begin with. My family thinks I'm crazy. Lol

Carolyn Abiad said...

LOL @ the "Losing a grip on self-discipline, schedule keeping, fitness regimines, keeping up with family events, the appearance of actually listening when someone's talking to you..." Who? Me? You? Nah!

But yes, I think crazy is perceived as the prevailing side effect of genius. Perhaps the more genius you have, the crazier the rest of society believes you are?

For example: "Visionary" is probably just a nice way to say "She sees stuff in her head that isn't there." :D

Aimee Reynolds said...

I've often been described as crazy and this fit me to a tee, "Losing a grip on self-discipline, schedule keeping, fitness regimines, keeping up with family events, the appearance of actually listening when someone's talking to you." I'm going to now take it as a compliment. Thanks Leigh! I'll wear the hat proudly! :)

PK HREZO said...

Um, yeah I'm definitely in the crazy category. But I don't mind. I like to think of it as "living" outside the box.
I like your description too! You kinda have to let go in order to float outside the box of conventional thinking and conformity.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Learning to let go is the key, at least in my opinion. Maybe some of those gifted artists from the past let go a bit too much... ??? Haha... Our imaginations are vast. We just need to quiet what's around us or what's bothering us to see it all.

Laura Pauling said...

Artistic people can come in many shapes and sizes. But yes the crazy eccentric artist is def. a stereotype. It must hold some truth.

Old Kitty said...

I'd like to think everyone has a little crazy inside them but act these out positively rather than in a harmful way.

Take care

Matthew MacNish said...

I have no idea. I consider myself pretty nuts, but in a good way.

Jessica Bell said...

LOL, yeah, you could call me a little crazy :o) hehe

Summer Ross said...

I would say true- every person has a little bit of crazy in them, but when I write all my crazy comes out. :)

DEZMOND said...

I'd never call nor consider that Meyer woman an artist. Nor a true writer. It's sad how many people today use her or some other low quality authors as an example of a writer. What they write is not literature, it's just cheap, badly written weekend reading.

And when it comes to the topic of the post, yep, we have to be nuts to be creative. Those two go together like milk and coffee :) And I'm personally supernuts :) I'm the mastermind of nut people :)

Unknown said...

Maybe we're all normal and everyone else on earth is crazy. Perhaps talking to yourself and your characters is what we're suppose to do...

Hart Johnson said...

I'm not crazy. I'm the most normal person you know *snort*

Seriously, though. I don't think we have to be full-out bonkers, but there is a refusal to subscribe to society's conventions, and among the boring, uptight stuffy people of the world, this is perceived as crazy. I happen to think THEY'RE crazy, letting others dictate their path and what is acceptible.

I know I am on the anti-social side--that has only come about since getting serious about writing. My tunnel vision--I've always had the ability to obsess... I am more focused now, but that is me... always has been.

I don't have the neuroses or mood swings some do... I don't think art needs it. But I think art is one of the healthiest channels for people who have those.

As for Meyer--she's crazy... plum loca if she identifies with Bella who is obsessed with a stalker to the point of not giving a damn about herself... Rowling probably has her stuff, but she is too classy to throw it out to the public... Her first husband was abusive and she was stuck on welfare when she wrote those first couple books... I think she's worked through her issues, but i think they were there.

Kelly Polark said...

I'm pretty normal, but have a goofy side to me. My kids call me weird and I tell them that it is more fun than being normal.
But no, you don't have to be crazy to be a successful artist/writer. You do have to have some unique quality though.

LTM said...

@Aimee--you go, girl! And I think you were the first person I saw in a bedazzler. You've got STYLE as well as craziness. And you take amazing pictures~ :D xoxo

@PK--Oh, well. At least I'm not alone! :D But I look at all those non-crazy people, and they all seem so happy... ;p

@Laura--stereotypes start somewhere. I'm thinking with YOU! j/k ;p

@Summer--me, too. And it feels rilly rilly good... :D xoxo

Janet Johnson said...

LOL at the "appearance of listening"! SO True!

I think T, but then, I think most people are crazy in their own way. Some types of crazy are more acceptable in society. I like to think that my brand of crazy isn't so horrible and off-putting. :)

Best of luck in the revisions cave!

Karen said...

Love the blog! But please don't lump Stephenie Meyer and Jo Rowling together that way, as it causes me physical pain.

Physical. Pain. :)

As far as craziness... I think there's something self-indulgent about writers, and there's definitely a self-indulgence in behaving eccentrically. But genius also arises from pain and suffering, and those experiences don't necessarily turn out the most normal of people.

All we writers borrow and steal from each other. I think the adaptation of an idea can require almost as much creativity as the creation of one. Gotta say: anybody who doesn't think Jo Rowling is a genius is missing something, borrowed themes or not!

Anonymous said...

Um, I think creativity can be linked to mental illness, however, I believe "sane" people are also very creative.

Sort of like people acting wonky on the full moon. There's no evidence to substantiate it, but there's certainly a lot of anecdotes.

Nice post!

Lydia Kang said...

I think it's true and false. I think enormous amounts of really valuable art (in all mediums) come from both the mentally stable and unstable.

Sorry, I'm so boring with my answer, right? LOL

KM Nalle said...

There is a radio personality in my state who says all creative people/inventors are crazy because they easily hurtle the "Are you nuts?" question without hesitating.

"You think people will buy computers and put them in their homes? You're nuts."

Brilliant successful people are often seen as a little crazy - but they don't ever regret trying. I could do with a little more crazy in my life. So I guess the perception from the outside looking in is true (creatives are crazy), but the reality is false.

Shannon said...

I say false but let's keep the perception that it's true. It's more fun that way. <3

Anita Grace Howard said...

Good luck on the revisions, girl! Oh, and I always use the "blonde gene" to justify my creative eccentricities. Hee

Carol Riggs said...

I'd say no. Most writers are highly intelligent and sane (coughcough). BUT I think we APPEAR crazy to other people who perhaps aren't as creative, free, or uninhibited.

Angela said...

I don't have any had numbers on this, but it seems to me that many people who suffer with depression, obsession, or have a more sensitive temperament also tend to have great artistic gifts.

Not saying they're the only ones. But it wouldn't surprise me if there's some neurological thing that gives these highly sensitive people an extra edge with the creative and artistic.

LTM said...

@Karen--LOL! Sorry for the pain! I was more just comparing fan bases than writing styles. And I think you're right about eccentric behavior. There's a touch of the OCD in there as well~ :D <3

@LBD--thanks, and maybe that was my problem the other day... Full moonitis. I wonder what Lydia K would say about that... ;p

@Anita--Thanks, hon! And well... I used to be a blonde. When I was little. Now it could be the chemicals... :D <3