Invisible Driving - Genius, Creativity & Mania (Where Does Art Come From?)

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Excerpted from Invisible Driving, my memoir of manic depression ( ( This chapter is entitled, “Daddy, Where Does Art Come From?”  In the times of true Mania, the secret wellspring of my creative energy had a going-out-of-business, lost-our-lease, everything-must-go, garage-sale-of-the-mind sale. Normally dark and mysterious, meting out its magic in dribs and drabs, it tore down the curtains, slapped back the shutters, and opened itself up for all the world to see. The level of creativity was stunning, but there was no judgment.
I now know why creative artists who are Manic Depressive often refuse help. They’re so exhilarated in their highs that they can’t imagine giving them up. They’ll even accept the pain, the crash, the depression as a reasonable price for the unfettered creativity and energy. It’s a strategy I’ve decided against, but I do understand it.
When I was Manic, I was in constant touch with that inner well. Because all the governing layers of my brain were shut down, there was nothing separating me from the force itself. It wasn’t that I created wonderful art, I was too out of control to be productive in any meaningful way. It was far more thrilling than that.
I existed in art. Every fiber of my being was fixed in a state of constant creativity. Constant inventiveness. Constant newness. Every idea in the attic was dusted off and slammed full-force onto the table for consideration. New ideas spewed forth like lava from a volcano. Weird combinations of ideas appeared out of nowhere. The sheer volume of my mind’s productivity overwhelms me to this day. It was like a holy revelation, a moment of grace that went on for months.
I knew at last the source of the words, the images, the feelings which had been inhabiting my poems for decades. That unchartable landscape within, where angel wings disturb the dust and the infinite intersects with the temporal. I heard the roar. I saw it in all of its sanctified, uncivilized splendor.
My visionary, mad, and mystical soul.