Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Between Art and Madness

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light, where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit, clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.
That is precious, is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog, the flowering of the spirit.
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun, they traveled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.
~Stephen Spender

Today’s Trivia Question~

What do all of the following people have in common?

George Gordon, T.S Eliot, Victor Hugo, Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, William James, Anton Arensky, Gustav Mahler, Hugo Wolf, George Hines, Charles Mingus, Cole Porter, David Bomberg, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Munch, Jackson Pollock, Gustav Holst, Richard Dadd and Edward Lear?*

Besides being writers, artists and composers…all of them had probable Cyclothymia, Major Depression or Manic-Depressive Illness.*

If you also suffer from these illness’, you are not alone. Just breathe, take your medicines and most of all take it day by day.
Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and The Artistic Temperament
by Kay Redfield Jamison, 1993
ISBN 0-684-83183-X
"Touched with Fire is a fine and artfully written work. Kay Jamison is plainly among the few who have a profound understanding of the relationship that exists between art and madness." ~William Styron
I could not have said it any better! =)
Have a great day!

N Posted by Rain at 5/23/2006 12:19:00 AM


  • Blogger Sheila posted at 4:21 AM  
    I think Edvard Munch gave that one away. I love the poem, great post as usual, Sheila
  • Anonymous Chickadee posted at 9:19 PM  
    Wow, thank you. I too suffer from depression and there is comfort in knowing there are, or have been, others who struggled with the same challenges. I didn't realize that Georgia O'Keefe was among the ranks. She is my favorite artist.

    The pianist composer Shubert also suffered from depression as did Vincent Van Gough.
  • Blogger jules posted at 5:13 AM  
    That explains a lot. As one who has recently been diagnosed with Bipolar (had the Major Depression label before) it seems to be that the people in the arts have a higher percentage of members of this club.
    Maybe it's how we create. Maybe it's just the way God made us. Maybe it doesn't matter...
    Because I would rather deal with the "madness" and create, than live in a void that those without art have.
  • Blogger Rain posted at 12:50 PM  
    Jules and chickadee~

    The list that I quoted from is huge! I personally think that we are in some great company.
    I was diagnosed Bipolar disorder in the early nineties, and after the (doctors) realization that my mother was (documented) Bipolar with multi personalities, I have participated in three studies in the process of genetic transmission of characteristics from parent to offspring.
    I could not agree with you more Jules, it really doesn't matter with the "hows". I could not imagine my life any other way.
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