Going Insane's More Like It

Do you think you have to be crazy to create something powerful?- The West Wing

We're going to get back into the topic of art for a little while because I came across this quote and it's been stuck in my head for the few days since I discovered it.

The trouble with the idea is that there seems to be a lot of evidence that you do, in fact, have to be crazy in some fashion to create something beautiful, lasting, personal, successful, etc. All of the most famous artists had, in one way or another, their vices or their idiosyncrasies (which almost looks like it has crazy as a part of the word, doesn't it?).

So the real question is, can you be entirely sane and make something worthwhile?

If you see the world in exactly the same way as everyone else, you can't possibly say anything new on the topic. You can only repeat what you've read in textbooks and seen in other pieces of art. It certainly takes a skewed perspective to develop a whole new idea about the world.

And that's what lasting art seems to be - approaching the same topic from a new perspective. Putting a new spin on an old story. Painting the same subject in a different way. Breaking the norms. Bucking the trends. Showing people something you've only seen in a way you could only see it.

There's only supposed to be six or seven stories in the world. It's said that anything written or told falls within the molds of one of these. How is it then that anything worthwhile is ever to be created again if we're just rehashing the same ol' song and dance (and yes, I find something funny in using cliches to talk about recycling topics and words).

That leads me to believe that the important question isn't, then, if you have to be crazy, but just what crazy exactly is. Comics and Cubists both have a distorted perspective. Nicholas Sparks and Quentin Tarantino both have an entirely recognizable way of telling a story.

In that way, it seems that craziness is almost synonymous with being one's self. And in that sense, yes, you do have to be crazy to create something powerful.