Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Madness Of Muses

"Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence--whether much that is glorious--whether all that is profound--does not spring from disease of thought--from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect. Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night"- Edgar Allen Poe (1809 - 1849)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" 
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

For many years, I struggled with my eccentricity and regarded myself with suspicion, fearing that perhaps I was not “normal”, and would not fit in society. This suspicion against myself killed my creativity, diminished life and even forced me into a mental institution for brief time when I was twenty-three.
Now, I do not even try to “fit in.” I thrive on surprise and √©lan. The more I have been able to embrace the fullness of my being—including the fact that I am off-center, whacky, exuberant, and mysterious—the more I have been able to embrace life and bring my artistic gifts to the stage.

Now that I am an adult with years of experience and wisdom gained, I often think of the words of Jesus, “Unless ye become as little children, ye shall not know the kingdom of heaven.” This saying brings back my earliest memories of life. My family was poor and lived on the south side of Chicago, in a brownstone tenement building on a crowded street. In the winter, coal was shoveled into a furnace in the basement and heated the apartments. Outwardly, our life was one of poverty; my mother stayed home to rear the growing brood of children and my father worked three jobs to support the family. But for me, in the earliest stages of my life, I could not compare my existence to any other, and only loved being alive without prejudice. I remember my first school experience was a neighborhood day school that equally served all the local children and their families. In the concrete playground was a stagecoach, and every day, during recess the children ran about, playing with gleeful shouts and full hearts. My very first friend that I loved was a boy named Darnell. We laughed and played together with all our might, running everywhere within the boundaries of the schoolyard. I noticed that Darnell was black, and it made no difference to me because I had no judgment about color. I only knew that I loved to play with him and he loved me too—we were attracted in Spirit. I think that this was what Jesus meant when he spoke of knowing heaven. Because in heaven, only Spirit and the truth of Spirit matters.

"If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the inspired madman". Socrates 469 BC - 399 BC

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