Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ah the Days of the Opiate

In which our Heroine declines from lack of Opiate.  

                Well, my little discussion on the Virgin Mary today was AWESOME.  First, the ladies came over and cleaned my house for me.  I had graciously left my dishes unwashed, my toilets unscrubbed, etc… for them—all at their request.  Instead, I got to use my legendary flagging energy to do something that to me is very enjoyable.  I hit the books, and pretended I knew how to teach about this stuff still.  The good news is that most of it came back to me, despite my poor memory.  And I had the best day ever.  It is good to remember why I slaved away for three years on a master’s degree and a hundred page thesis. 
Meanwhile, all this art historical research is taking me back to my long-gone college days.  A large part of my thesis dealt with the idea of artistic genius, and what it takes to define an artist as a master.  Oddly enough, one of the ways for a sub-standard artist to prove their creative ingenuity is to claim madness.  Other than eccentricity and the occasional and sadly real bipolar issues, the best way to solve this problem is frankly with drugs. 
I began this line of thinking last night in earnest just after I’d written my incredibly boring post yesterday.  It was late in the evening, and I’d already taken my anti-seizure medicine.  So, as one who experiments (albeit unwillingly) with drugs, I will posit my firm belief that some drugs do not assist artistic creativity, but instead enable acute lameness.  However, I remember the days of the opiate, and they were a ten on the creativity scale.  It is unfortunate that I was so tired and unable to accomplish much back then, because I still have the wildest sketches and ideas jotted messily down in my notebooks.  I would lay semi-awake at night (because of the steroids) and come up with the wittiest, and yet the most implausible ideas, and then my brain would proceed to flesh them out in poetically triumphant lines that just spiraled around in my head almost without my will.  This all happened in that awkward space between sleep and full lucidity, and yet I would wake in the morning with the ideas still fully formed in my head.  I still return to those notes of bygone days when I’m running dry on ideas, and they always produce. 
To illustrate my point further, I’ve included a quote from my thesis from an early nineteenth-century author Thomas de Quincy from his very interesting book Confessions of an Opium-Eater:
“That as the creative state of the eye increased, a sympathy seemed to arise between the waking and the dreaming states of the brain in one point--that whatsoever I happened to call up and to trace by a voluntary act upon the darkness was very apt to transfer itself to my dreams, so that I feared to exercise this faculty; for, as Midas turned all things to gold that yet baffled his hopes and defrauded his human desires, so whatsoever things capable of being visually represented I did but think of in the darkness, immediately shaped themselves into phantoms of the eye; and by a process apparently no less inevitable, when thus once traced in faint and visionary colours, like writings in sympathetic ink, they were drawn out by the fierce chemistry of my dreams into insufferable splendor that fretted my heart.”
I’m not exactly advertising for drug-induced creativity, but I have to admit that during those occasional feelings of dissatisfaction, like that after my posting last night, I do wish for the ease and charm of an opiate-induced piece of inspiration.  However, to make it clear that I am in no way seriously thinking of turning to drugs as a solution for my problems in life, I will cruelly remind my readers that I have brain cancer, people, and not only am I possibly a bit touched in the head, but I really didn’t want the drugs in the first place, okay?  If you need further persuasion, kindly remember that I am a complete control freak, please.  But please think this with an unwavering sense of kindheartedness and sympathy.

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