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 Especially when you’re an, as yet, unpublished author.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).