A number of weeks back, several friends sent me the same link to a wonderful video of Elizabeth Gilbert speaking on the angst of artistic genius. I'm not purporting to be a genius, but I have had my share of artistic challenges.
My first true passion was acting. I felt more alive when acting, soaking up the spot light and wrestling with the nuances of character development than I did living my real life. I achieved some modest success while making acting my hobby throughout my life including some professional time with a North Carolina Shakespeare Company, and several cable-run commercials. During college I discovered creative writing and I've had a few article published (during my time as a pastor). Sermon writing, at its best, is a highly creative venue and I relished in both the creation and presentation of sermons for 15 years.
In each of my creative adventures, I discovered the same reality – satisfaction of the urge to create and the compulsion to be a part of something new and dramatic is fleeting.
Often, upon reflection on my own creative internal disturbance, I am left with the following apparent and unsavory thought - The creative spirit, as embodied in so many artists, is its own bane. The artist can devote his/herself to the task fully and in doing so risk a rapid burn or can deny the very passion of the soul and lead a life of frustrated mediocrity. My trouble with this thought is that I don’t want it to be true. Is it possible for an artist to pursue his passion and not self destruct? Is there something in the nature of art that demands the humanity of the artist and leaves her broken?
There is more to say here, but I would rather leave it for your comments. So, dear reader, is your artistic passion dangerous?