In a previous post, I talked about the Wisdom of Solomon and his prayer to God. In the Apocrypha (14 books removed from the Holy Bible) Solomon pleads for wisdom, that sits at the LORD's throne, to labor with him. Wisdom of Solomon 9:10 KJV.
And this made me think, if Wisdom is an entity that can be dispatched from heaven, what is art?
Then I began thinking of a separate question: Where do I get my inspiration for my art?
I see myself as a conduit and my Creator—the Most High—as the source. I am nothing without Him. I give all credit to God for there are none good but Him.
My understanding of this gift of writing that God has given me, is that inspiration, more precisely art, is like a portal. On the other side is ideas, characters, complex stories and things of creative nature that at any point I can reach in and grab. It's interesting because the more I engage with this portal the stronger it becomes and the more it speaks to me. Which is incredible! I know by the glory of God I will never endure writer's block because of this portal.
But ah, alas, this portal comes with a caveat. Use it too much and it will use you back. Why would something so eternal and powerful require nothing in return? I learned this recently.
After my debut novel BARREN was published in 2022, I received praise from friends and family alike. It was wonderful hearing how the twists and turns of the novel terrified audiences and made them question reality simultaneously. However, once the project was complete, I noticed I was different.
I was easily scared. I thought people were following me. I experienced racing thoughts. Malaise hovered me just like the portal; it was everywhere and all the time. Overall I did not quite feel like myself.
Then I realized where it came from. Hours to days to months to years of me working on a crime novel unraveled something inside of me. All that time of devoted to a suspenseful speculative novel took a toll on me, here's why:
In order for me to write the voices of these characters I put myself mentally in their situations. I let the fear, shock, despair, all of it inside all in the name of writing compelling stories.
Writing the book was easy, but shutting off the voices that move my pen was the hard part. The brain doesn't work like that; it can't differentiate from reality and imagination as seamlessly as I would have liked. My brain believed I was in these situations for some time and the feelings did not go away once I stopped writing. It was like snow in Germany in the winter, it dwelled and laid around for a couple of days and even weeks.
I started getting anxious for no reason. I started feeling like someone was watching me. I did not trust doctors. I began second guessing reality. I was not in a good place mentally.
I’m still not where I want to be.
I say all this to say that being a writer I learned that art requires sacrifice or what I call it TEARS: Time, energy, attention, resources and in some rare cases sanity.
I learned that art is like wisdom, it comes to those who labor for its presence. Art is a living entity. It is an eternal energy that is not to be played with.
This goes for all types of art, not just writing. Performing artists like ballet dancers sacrifice their feet while singers put their entire respiratory system on the line. Musicians place their fingers and hands at the altar of their dreams while visual artists like Van Gogh and Edgar's Munch sacrificed their sanity.
I have a theory about the greatest actors. I think they all have some sort of personality disorder. Hear me out, what is acting? Completely taking on the identity of someone else, right? If someone can convince audiences that they were a different person altogether how can they walk away from that unscathed? I think personally it’s more terrifying if they are “normal” afterwards. How can you bounce between personalities and it not change you at your core? I’m not convinced that actors are sane people.
Maybe you can shed some light, what are your thoughts on actors and their mental health? Is it possible to maintain a positive self image and be an actor? Comment below!