Monday, October 31, 2005

The Roller Coaster of Creativity

Maybe it's just that I've been eating too much chocolate and not enough fresh vegetables, but I feel like I've been on a roller coaster this week. Up, Down, Upside Down.

Middlebrow often thinks my self-esteem slumps are an effect of my being a creative writer. You don't see American Studies professors acting like that, he says. It may be true. In graduate school, the creative writers were the ones on mood altering drugs (prescription!) and the American Studies folks seemed very even keeled. Maybe they just self-medicate with beer and Cosmopolitans.

But it begs the question, does the creativity required to be a writer or an artist also mean that we are more prone to bouts of low self-confidence and more days where we just want to stay in our jammies and watch "Ellen"?

I don't know. But maybe it is my lack of writing time, or the feeling that no one, ever, will publish my collection of short stories that is so eclectic as to be schizophrenic, and to contradict the word "collection."

See, this is why MB gets frustrated with me. I just won the Utah Collection Contest, I have an essay, beautifully designed and illustrated, forthcoming in Ninth Letter, what the hell is wrong with me?

Oh yeah, I'm a writer.

3 comments:

Lisa B. said...

I so hear you, Dr. I have experienced this phenomenon so often that I have given it a name and have written it a ghazal. I know not all creative writers are this way (think Trollope, for instance), but enough are that I do think there's a function to it--it's the necessary self-abolishment that allows you to make something new again. It's the dialectical necessary--the antithesis of creation is destruction. I hope watching Ellen helps. I often take naps, when circumstances allow. Also cry.

Sleepy E said...

I think one must be a little unhinged to want to devote their lives to this anyway. It's not really a good way to make money, it's not partiticularly satisfying, the odds of success are very low, nobody cares, nobody reads, nobody understands. So I think the act of writing makes you a little unhinged, but we probably were already unhinged to begin with if we are compelled to write at all.

Counterintuitive said...

I'm kind of a downer type person myself and I don't write, not really. My point: at least you have your stories to make up for any psychological issues. Me: I have reviews of textbooks solely offered to me because some publishers think I can influence textbook adoption.

BTW I do think MB has the self-medicating American Studies thing down.