song du jour: Take Five, Dave Brubeck Quartet

For those of you here for the first time, welcome to the inaugural post of my relaunched blog now integrated into my website, and for those of you who've been here before welcome back! It is here that I shall endeavor to answer whether it is necessary to be crazy to create, that ever present question in an artist's life or at least the one regularly asked by most artists' friends and family.

It's day 562 of spending all day updating work on my website. Well, ok, it's only day 5, but it feels as though I've been sitting at my desk far longer. I'm taking a break before I bust out in complete techno-geek hell (a necessary step towards sanity if ever there was one)

A few feet beyond my monitor is a haze of heavy falling rain, and the thunder overrides the back beat of jazz streaming in the studio. Far be it from me to blog about the weather, but it's quite relevant. My studio is the only air conditioned room in the house for the third Hotlanta summer, and anything that smacks of a slight breeze or drop in temperature is ushered in via strategically placed fans.

While the endless dreary spring rains of non-drought years can suck all the glee out of me like a professional Dementor, I find summer storms and showers deliciously seductive. I love the moments before a storm when the air smells of nearby mists and the shadows cast are a dusky blue. The air is pregnant with anticipation and sustenance. Those are my favorite times to curl up with a book in a barely lit corner, preferably on my porch swing. Afterwards, like a child, who can go back outside to play, when the rain is over I'm ready to plunge into all manner of creative works. It's not only the weather's catharsis, it is my own reset button of unpredictability that mercifully interrupts that Right Brain killer: the monotony of routine. It's a reminder that like nature, creativity is wild.

Perhaps it's the routine from which most artists seek refuge in the dramatic rise and fall of creating one-of-a-kind works and the routine to which "normal" people cling for survival in a crazy world. I don't actually believe it's necessary to be a full fledged nutter to be a good artist. Eccentricity, however, helps. The appreciation of irony is an essential, real irony not that souped up, angst ridden, existential crisis as way of life nonsense from the death throws of Postmodernism. Real irony sometimes laments but always allows the ability to laugh at oneself, to stand back and see things from more than one perspective, and this ability to translate into art these multiple ways of looking at the world is what separates we artists from the other primates.

Such separation though, can lead to anxiety born of isolation. It's not all that fun interacting in a world where black and white are valued over shades of gray. It's not fun to come up in an education system that values facts over imagination. We retreat, or we act out, so it's no wonder that we Right Brain and Integrated Brain types have developed a reputation. Van Gogh and that ear business didn't help much either.

What follows is the beginning of my ongoing list of answers to this big question. Feel free to ad a some.

Must really creative people be crazy?

No, but it helps.

"Normal" is a setting on your washing machine.

Hey, next to the people in the group home across the street, I'm quite sane.

If I wasn't at the start, parenthood would have pushed me over the edge.

I'm not sure about me, but my partner definitely is.

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