Still, I have never been able to write that way. Although I can cull fine ideas reflecting on times in my life that feel stretched to a breaking point, and I can perhaps express myself with more abandon if I've had a glass of wine, or I’m feeling some kind of galvanized euphoria, generally clarity, good health and focus help me produce my best work.
I've been reading Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy if You Can be Normal (how great is that title?), an extraordinary memoir written by an exceptional writer who has transcended much in life. I recommend the book heartily. Jeanette Winterson is a writer who has greatly influenced my literary sensibilities, as well as my writing (hopefully).
The memoir contains many beautiful quotes that explore the notion of emotional dismantling and craft, such as this one: “Creativity is on the side of health—it isn't the thing that drives us mad; it is the capacity in us that tries to save us from madness.”
In other words, and it’s a cliché, yes, but we are perhaps not feeling in an authentic, organically creative manner when we mask feelings with self-destructive impulses. I’ve had them, I get the draw—there’s a sense that the true artist is tortured. But it came to me more recently than I’d care to admit that health, mental, physical, spiritual, is good. I can be gritty, original, wild and experimental even while I’m happy. I like that.