May 11th, 2005
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stalking the wild asperagus

This morning I had planned to wax poetically here about so many things, wandering around a sun drenched city yesterday holding hands, buying bread, cheese and wine in quaint little shops, talking to the tea lady about traveling the world and studying the Japanese tea ceremony, eating the best veggie dogs (with sauerkraut) in a flower filled park and watching so many adorable dogs run around in circles. I had planned to write more about the idea of making big changes in my life, how I am shifting between doubt and excitement almost constantly. I had planned to attack my day and get to all of the things I have been putting off, writing dozens of people back, organzing my time, clean the studio. I had.
And then I got completely sucked into the fantastically frank blog of Ayelet Waldman, (after first reading the new blog by my favorite folk singer Summer Pierre, please go read it and you will know why I love her so).
A successful author in her own regard Ayelet is also the wife of author of Michael Chabon, and though the blog is discontinued I found myself obsessively reading her rants on motherhood, misscarriage, bi-polar disorder, the writing life, procrastination, blog addiction and being obsessed with her husband (stalking him). I was sucked into the writing initially because of this last one, something I can relate to finding myself in a similar position with the man I married. She asks at one point, “can you stalk the man you live with?” I now know the answer is yes, strange though it may seem to some. How does one explain an obsession with a person, especially one you are married to? Healthy? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. I find myself constantly staring at him at times when he doesn’t know I’m doing it, looking at his fingers and hands, marvelling at them, melting when I hear his laugh, missing him even when he is in another room. He is one that attracts this behaviour in many, not just myself (a fact that is challenging at times).
My favorite post of Ayelet’s is this one on fears and phobias. Just a week ago I found myself writing a similar list in my journal. It is interesting to look at the things on it and be confronted rather blatantly by one’s neuroses. Halfway through the list I wanted to stop thinking that this might only serve to make the fears bigger, instead of dealing with them. “o.k. so I know I have a fear of cancer, am I just accepting this fact by writing it down, making it more concrete, or does the act of writing help me to confront it in some way?” I think what I responded to so readily in Ayelet’s writing was her blatant acceptance of her imperfections. In fact they are what makes her unique and interesting as a human being. I have for a long time known that the same things in my personality that make me rather obsessive, also in turn fuel my creativity. (tile counting, finding faces in man made items, ie. washroom stalls, etc. more on this at another time.) Ayelet confesses that her books get written during periods when she is ‘manic’ (she used a different word for it but i can’t remember it offhand), able to pound out a first draft in a month. I can relate to this kind of obsessive behaviour, most of my own projects are done in this fashion. A flurry of page turning, frantic “get the ideas out NOW”, sore finger making, studio trashing writing/sketching. Yes, that’s me.
I haven’t really told very many people this before. What tips the thin thread of obsessive scales into maddness? Am I anywhere close? I think all creative people (sorry to bring up this sterotype), have diversions into madness. I haven’t actually met one who was worth their creative salt who didn’t express at least a small, slightly insidious fear of insanity at some point in their life.
Shakespeare wrote,
“Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”
I’ve often wondered about this quote. Is he saying it is a good thing, that we should pay attention to the source of one’s brilliance and channel that for use in our own creative endeavours? Or is he saying, “Watch out for that one, he’s dangerously close to the edge, about fall off at any moment. What a nutbar!”
I kind of like the old addage, “if you can’t fix it, feature it.”

 
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