Weird gifts

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This was a weird gift

Inspired by a tweet a month or so ago by Rick O’Shea, about ridiculous art purchases, I decided to release images of possibly one of the strangest gifts I’ve ever been given – a two headed stuffed duck. Now, I love this little fella (and so does @Katyod); he sits in my writing room, happily looking down on me as I work. I like to think he’s spurring me on. But, of course, he got a mixed reaction on Twitter…after all, he’s not quite ‘normal’.

The funny thing is, the reaction I got to this little fella (feel free to suggest a name!) was akin to the reaction I get when I say I’m a writer. Especially when you’re an, as yet, unpublished author. Set in whatever backdrop you like (a party, a shop, a reunion), I’m sure this conversation will resonate with many of you:

“What do you do?”

“I’m a writer.”

“Oh, wow! have I heard of you? Do you have anything published?”

“No, not yet but…”

“Oh. You must be mad!”

*Interested party skulks away*

There’s no denying that writing is a weird gift…after all, you lock yourself away in a room, making up worlds and people, hoping someone other than you/your other half/your retired neighbour will read it one day. You feel driven by the characters, the plot, the twists at the end. You spend nights dreaming about plot blips and days dreaming about a publishing deal. And once you get the publishing deal, you start dreaming of deadlines and starting something completely new.

But lightheartedness aside, this ‘weirdness’ is not limited to writers; and there can be a dark side to creative talent. It’s well known that many of the world’s most creative minds (whether in film, science, art, sculpture, writing, comedy, etc) also suffer from some form of depression/social difficulties/addictions/phobias. Of course, just as many creative folk don’t – but there’s still no denying that creativity and the darker side of the brain may be linked.

Mslexia is currently conducting a survey on creativity and mental health – there are only twelve questions to answer and I think the answers will be enlightening. So, help us to understand the weird gifts we have and click here to take part (deadline Sunday, February 12th).

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15 responses »

  1. In all seriousness, this is one of the reasons I *hate* getting my hair done. The conversation inevitably starts off with, “So, are you working?” and then you can either lie or say “Well, I’m a writer…” which leads to awkward questions about being published, etc. I’m self-published (in the meantime; fingers still crossed for a deal!) but I don’t even like saying that. Of course then the conversation moves on to “Do you go out?” (as in, do you partake in weekend binge drinking activities around Cork City) to which I have to respond that with a novel to write, I barely leave the house…! :-)

    • Ha ha – how absolutely true! Glad I’m not the only one – though of course, it’d be nicer if we didn’t have to experience this verbal punishment at all! Still, guess it comes with the territory. I now get my sister-in-law to cut my hair, to avoid the awkward conversations.

  2. Love this because it just enlightens me as to your creative commitment, and my own too. I think what people don’t understand is that you live with your writing in your head and being. It is a big part of you. How fantastic you have put that into words for me! Now for the dark side….will have to think about that one…..I think my dark side only emerges when I am cut off from my creative life lines actually…..I bet that’s what happens to a lot of souls. X

    • What a lovely comment – I’m glad that I could help, even a little. I’m the same as you – when I don’t get chance to create, I get more stressed. I don’t use writing as therapy like some people (which is a valid activity, it’s just not my approach), but I certainly feel more balanced when I’m writing every day. I do, however, like to take week-long breaks now and again. I find ideas flow more freely after a short writing vacation.

  3. Just love this! I also love the other additions to your “weird” collection, so no surprises you have ended up with a two headed duck (who looks very cheeky by the way) to help you quack on with your writing and stop you falling fowl of any literary errors! Sorry, had to be done. Sending best wishes across the pond x

    • I’m not sure whether to laugh or groan! As usual, you got me giddy. Glad you love the two-headed duck – you’ll meet him one day. Tweedle and MonkeyElephant are great friends. Maybe they could do a tour together?

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