“Creative work is often driven by pain. It may be that if you don’t have something in the back of your head driving you nuts, you may not do anything. It’s not a good arrangement. If I were God, I wouldn’t have done it that way.” ― Cormac McCarthy
The well-known American author Cormac McCarthy mentioned this in his interview to Wall Street Journal in 2009, when quizzed about his writing work and sources from where he draws his inspiration. There has been an ongoing debate forever now, on the co-relation between pain and creativity and many believe that they – suffering and art – are directly co-related. In a sense, the greater the pain one suffers in life at some point of time leads to higher manifestations of those painful emotions into creative works of art.
As crazy as it may sound, it is true for a large number of musical geniuses of the world too. If you’re a music aficionado like me, you’ve definitely heard of the 27 Club – greatest musicians of the world who died only at the age of 27, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, to name a few. Of course many of these were accidental deaths, though basically led by disturbed mental condition or substance abuse habits.
For the record, I believe in wishful thinking and consider myself a shameless optimist. And not to take any credit away from those creative artists and people who have their creative juices flowing even in a happy state of mind and produce amazing results. I am myself in a creative writing and designing job, and I am not a drug addict, not yet!! But I also think it is kind of sad that so much of exemplary creative work -art, music, writings and poetry- in the world is a result of the pain and suffering, endured by these talented artistic souls.
I asked “What about my eyes?”
God said “Keep them on the road”.
I asked “What about my passion?”
God said, “Keep it burning.”
I asked “What about my heart?”
God said, “Tell me what you hold inside it?
I replied “Pain and sorrow.”
He said, “Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi
Centuries before McCarthy gave that interview to Wall Street Journal and was even alive, Rumi the Persian poet wrote the above lines. May be it might be that true wisdom comes from pain and suffering and hence, the creativity that emerges from that wisdom is pure, honest and inspiring!
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