Submitted by alistairmcharg on Sat, 03/08/2008 - 11:47am
The relationship between genius, artistic creativity, and mania has been studied at length, and it’s a deep vein. But to say that mania is a state of pure creativity is an oversimplification; rather like saying an erupting volcano is a good source of energy. There is truth to the statement, but who among us can control a volcano? When I was writing Invisible Driving, my memoir of manic depression (http://www.invisibledriving.com) (Amazon.com) I had to reconstruct my manic episodes with great care. In doing so, two things became obvious. The first was that my creative energies were at their highest, I existed in a state of constant, unfettered creativity. The other was that creativity was far beyond my grasp, it was controlling me, in a sense, my new persona was the greatest single product of my uncontrolled creativity – I was a fabulous fiction. In hindsight I understood that, while the sensation of unbridled creativity was seductive, it could never qualify as art, since art is the result of a careful balance between creativity and control. In mania, there was no control.