“Oh, I just hate you, you can draw so well! I always wished I could draw like that.”
Yes, the perfect thing to hear when you are a twelve year old boy in the sixth grade, and you are hearing it from the girl in your class whom you most want to have a chance to see naked when you grow up. Being smart, creative, and according to Alicia when we were twelve, “You’re so funny,” is not really as fun and wonderful as you might imagine. There’s a downside to being highly creative.
First of all, there’s that. Yes, the naked part of the illustration above. An artist, especially one who also writes and knows how to write from the heart, makes himself or herself naked all the time. The secret parts on the inside come out constantly. You can’t have a private, embarrassing, or secret thought without it being obviously discernible somewhere in the artworks you create. Even the perverted ones like the one about wanting to see Alicia naked when I was twelve. If nakedness is one of things that is on your creative little mind even though it is the one thing that you wish really wasn’t there at all, guess which of the many things on your creative little mind is going to come out first. Artists walk around naked in front of the world all the time, no matter how many clothes they put on.
Secondly, you don’t seem to be able to think like normal people do. Normal people are not divergent thinkers. They are not constantly trying to stand on their head before looking at the world, connecting bizarre things together and seeing the world in constantly shifting and highly exotic colors. I imagine normal people probably walk around all the time with Elton John tunes playing in their head, thinking only about what they ate for lunch and then posted pictures of on Facebook. The lights are not always on in their attic, and they certainly don’t have ghost dogs and booger-men named Douglas playing noisy games of full contact tackle Parcheesi in there during the middle of the night. They don’t have wake-up-sweating nightmares about being attacked by ducks with gigantic white dentures.
There are no Clowntown Kops throwing pies at them in their daydreams about rescuing naked Alicias from sinister bald villains with trained seals for evil minions. Their minds go round and round on a single railroad track on an ordinary oval path. Unlike my mind that is a multi-tracked switch yard where you have to approach going at least ninety miles and hour, losing a single car at every switch, nearly careening sideways off the track at least three times, and having to come together as a train on the other side, collecting all the cars again at high speed and chugging down the tracks to destinations unknown.
And it is all too easy to see the future when you are both creative and at least mildly perceptive. I knew the Cubs were going to win the World Series. I knew Trump would become our leader. I still pray that I am wrong about the whole world-ending thing.
Being creative is not easy. Sometimes it hurts more than it makes you laugh. It leaves you naked and vulnerable. It makes you think in abnormal ways that are studied by abnormal psychiatrists. And it makes you see and understand things that you really wish you were still ignorant of. But would I trade it for anything else? Hmm… let me think about that one for a few more years.