Friday, November 13, 2009

Does One Have to be Crazy to Be Creative?

So I was doing some research for fun on good ol' JD Salinger. I am cliche and he is a very favorite of mine. I can't tell you what Franny and Zooey does for me and reading Teddy gives me an indescribable feeling like no other piece of literature can. That being said after doing some reading on Mr. Salinger I have realized that he was kind of bat shit crazy.

To those of you that know even the slightest bit about him this is of no surprise as he is a known recluse who hasn't been seen in many many years. However the extent of his reclusiveness and case of the Madonnas (as he switches religions as she switches personas) was unknown to me up until now. He forced his second wife to stay in their home and really cut her off from her family. His daughter wrote a memoir about him that wasn't too pleasant and I believe he even sued to have it stopped being published. At any rate why is it that the most creative minds are the CRAZIEST?

I am a little crazy and I'm okay with admitting it. I am OCD and fairly ADD (apparently they only diagnose ADHD anymore, but I don't think I'm all that hyperactive so I will stick with old school, because no one really reads this anyway). I have anxiety, however, I function well in society and am pretty good at hiding my crazies or making them endearing enough for people to love! (I like to tell myself anyway). So that being said I like to think I'm also mildly creative, but that might be up for debate. Some of the most creative people I know are the most unstable. I'm not sure why these things are so closely related. As so many of us long for the ability to write lyrics like Elliott Smith or write verse like Poe or write amazingly beautiful stream of consciousness like Salinger would you take it if it came with such crazy consequences?

I'm not sure that I would as I have enough crazy on my own and as much as I revere those particular men they probably do not revere themselves. I'm okay with being completely mediocre if it comes with some sanity and ability to cope with day to day life. Perhaps some of you would disagree, but I wish great talent could come without all of the baggage. Misery certainly does breed creativity though.

Finding yourself in a city such as New York can be challenging. As I arrived here on the boat through Ellis Island...okay that didn't happen, but I feel the story would have more depth if it had. Whatever, fine, truth. I came here on a 747 from Kansas, yes Kansas. I'm not from the country, far from it. I'm from a land of the homogeneous home with matching humans to coordinate. Is was a great bubble to grow up in and I met some wonderful people, experienced some shit, and made it through with a great family and friend base with which to plan my escape route.

When I moved to New York I was pretty damn excited. I had what I thought was an awesome job. I was fulfilling a dream my best friend from middle school and some high school and I had devised and as she died I had to do this on my own. I was supported, yet I knew that most people thought it was dumb to move to an expensive city with no real permanent job. Of course these same people were not incorrect, however, that is not how I flow and as the people around me know...I do what I want (said in a Cartman voice for good measure). I did it though, I came here, made something of a career and then decided to switch careers. Blah blah everyone knows all of this. The point is with all of this trepidatious (this isn't a word, but I like it) decision making I have come out all right...pretty poor, but great actually.

I'm not sure when the rest of the population "found" themselves, but oh how I hate saying it that way. I don't think there is some magic age for these things to happen. I can say with confidence that it's an ongoing process, but being happy with yourself is a constant challenge. There are always things I am working on, but you know, I am really happy with my life and myself. I'm sure this will change and things will be tossed my way that could shatter this reality for me. I can only say that I wish this for everyone that I love. I write this because I feel like I write about the city a lot and I wanted to say that this city really helped me find me, because nothing can make you question your own sanity like the smell of human fecal matter and a cab coming centimeters from taking out your knee caps.

New York City can be a conniving bitch, but she comes around and once you find the magic of this great city she can really become your BFF. With such great history and so many secrets to tell I think I know what an Empire State of Mind is (and yes, I quoted a Jay-Z song and no, I'm not ashamed of it).

PS I must apologize for my unusually optimistic posting. I'll go back to hobo stories shortly.