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Monday, March 30, 2009

possibility for creative output

I've been thinking a lot about pain lately. Pain is something we try to do away with and try to avoid, yet is an unavoidable part of life. In fact, often times we grow mentally, spiritually or creatively after periods of great pain.

As a sufferer of migraines and all-around rather wimpy female (even though I like to talk tough) I deal a lot with trying to minimize physical pain and how to prevent it. My solution to overwhelming pain is to sleep it off, and I generally deal with physical and emotional pain the same way. I hate sleeping through entire days or sometimes even weekends -- and lately I've missed plans with dear friends and family. This is nothing new for me, but I think the bi-polar weather in Denver is to blame for recent difficulties. I'm hoping that after this winter, my body will be a little better acclimated to actual weather.

I had a discussion with my AZ soul sisters the last time I was there about the relationship between pain and art. My singer/song-writer friend Ann has been in a really happy, loving relationship the past year and has hardly written any songs she says. She admits some of her best songs came from her darkest and most painful times.

Look at Van Gogh and some of the world's favorite artists... these were NOT happy people. With intense pain and emotion springs the possibility for something really creatively exciting. And there are whole genres of music devoted to pain... the Blues, songs about that low-down man (that I love to sing even though they don't apply to me).

But what about quality of life? I struggle with depression and have a parent and many friends that do as well. There have been times that I'm so immobilized by depression that I simply can't (or won't) get out of bed. Perhaps we can accept depression as a part of life if we can still be somewhat functional in our lives. Functionally depressed? If Van Gogh had been put on depression meds, would he have produced the wild and untamed style I love in his work right before his death? Somehow I doubt it.

I watched Cadillac Records over the weekend about the label that produced Muddy Waters, Etta James, Chuck Berry, etc., and I'm always struck by the amount of pain that seems to be attracted to the most famous musicians. Do they attract it? Produce drama? I know many people who are true drama magnets. Or are they more powerful and famous because of the pain in their lives that produced powerful art?

I don't think you can dispute the fact that if you've had some serious pain or trauma in your life, there exists then the possibility to transform it into some very creative and interesting endeavor. If you're a dancer you dance what you feel, or singer sings their pain and we can all relate and share the emotive release...

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