I have talked before about the madness an artist feels when compelled to create (see here). Compulsion is truly too mild of a word for this feeling. It is a desire – a complete NEED to create. It can take many … Continue reading
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?”-Theodore Roethke-
Do you ever feel like you are losing your mind? I mean really losing your mind. This is me – at least the me of now.
I have developed this huge fear of dementia – more specifically of Alzheimer’s. A person that has Alzheimer’s Disease has a brain that looks like Swiss Cheese – holes everywhere. This disease literally eats pieces of your brain. You forget people. You forget places. You forget experiences. You forget how to take care of yourself. You forget how to swallow. You forget how to talk. You lose you.
Back in the 1980s, my maternal grandfather had Alzheimer’s. He died not long after I turned five, so I have very few memories of him. In fact, I only have one memory and I am not sure it is even real. Over the years, I have heard my mom talk about her father during this period. He would walk and walk and walk and have to be brought home from miles away. He had moments of not recognizing his wife of many years or his children. She always comes back to, “I wish we knew then what is known now about this disease. It would have helped us.” It is true that very little was known and so members of the family were hurt much more by his forgetting them than perhaps could have been the result. The family had not been given key information to aid them in their coping with this loss of their husband and father. This information just was not readily available because it was still early days.
Alzheimer’s Disease is called “The Long Goodbye” for a reason. By the time a person does die, he is truly and completely gone. I see this every day at work. I see the grief family members are called to endure as they slowly lose their family member. Would I wish this disease on even my greatest enemy? NO!
I feel this incredible fear and almost certainty that this will happen to me. I do not want to miss or regret any moment of the life that I am given.
I often feel that my mind is this jumbled jar of thoughts, ideas, and warring emotions. This past week has been one of heightened creativity. However, with this creativity comes this feeling of unimaginable madness. I could not even begin to describe this feeling. It is like wanting more, more, more and being given a pittance. I want more time to devote to my art, more time for personal and professional creativity, more time to just live. I am happy and sad, satisfied and unsatisfied, energized and exhausted all at the same time.
So, for today, I live and create. Tomorrow I hope to be able to do the same. There will come a day, hopefully in the far distant future, when I may not even remember that I desired to do so.
Peace and Love (And Creativity),
A mad pianist? I am sure you are thinking that mad equals angry, right? Wrong. I am glad to finally prove you wrong. The “mad” that you will want to equate is that of, perhaps, the Mad Hatter. Kind of.
Truthfully, the term “mad pianist” came upon reflection of a section of one of my favorite poems by Theodore Roethke. There is a stanza that has always stayed with me and I could probably recite from memory (had you asked). Is that where all the problems and “madness began? High School AP English? The root of my problems? Eh. Probably not. We would have to go much deeper and engage in some real therapy for that one.
So, these are my journeys, my trying to make sense of the unsensable. This mad pianist just trying to find her way to, well, anywhere.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall,
That place among the rocks — is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have…
–Theodore Roethke– “In a Dark Time” —