mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF crazy & creative

Creative madness?

I'm bleary-eyed this morning from my final push to find current prices for the book collection we're trying to sell. Interesting to think about all the 19th-century scientific genius this collection represents. Creativity and contribution. Hmm...

That's not all I did yesterday — though by 10 PM it felt that way. In the morning I finished the preliminary packaging up of the audio and movie versions of the 3-minute "centering exercise" I'm doing with Joanne P. Joanne is always thinking about achieving these quiet mental/emotional/spiritual places as part of a healing process. I like thinking of them as part of a creative process.

I like to think of the creative process as achieving some kind of "alignment." Getting the "flow." But then there are the days when I think I'm not crazy enough to be truly creative. Hacks achieve flow. Geniuses are a little unhinged, right?

I also squeezed in a walk yesterday and spent it listening to a Studio 360 episode called "The Biology of Creativity." The bottom line: no one quite knows where creativity comes from. Highly creative people seem to make more mental associations than regular folks. On functional magnetic resonance tests, their brains light up like Christmas trees.

Maybe the "unhinged" part is important only to help you escape from all the rules and compartments that clogs up a copycat brain. Darwin — known to be an anxious hypochondriac — was unhinged enough to make some inventive associations. But clearly he was also disciplined enough to synthesize it all into cogent writing. And had friends enough to get his work out into the world.

I suspect that the phenomenon of the mad genius is more myth than reality. "Madness" might open up brilliant insights into how the world works — but productivity is probably limited.

Gotta go...

9.27.06

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