Archives for February, 2013
Ang Lee recently won his second Academy Award as best director for "Life of Pi" (his first was for "Brokeback Mountain"). In an article on leadership, Susan Cain gives a number of examples of "effective Asian-American leaders" including Lee, and others: "novelist Chang Rae-Lee; fashion designer Vera Wang; New York Times literary critic Michiko Kakutani…the list goes on and on." From Are Asian-Americans Too Quiet to Lead U.S. Businesses? One of the stars of "Life of Pi," Adil Hussain, described how the Taiwanese filmmaker works. He commented that Ang Lee is "so sensitive and the way he directs you is so silent. He’d whisper into your ear what he has to say.
Being relatively free of disabling moods like high levels of depression and anxiety can enhance and release creative thinking, but a number of writers and psychologists think too much focus on the pursuit of happiness may be limiting how we develop creativity. "I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood for 40 years." Ouiser Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine), in Steel Magnolias (1989). As Shirley MacLaine has also noted, "Art is about energy, positive and negative. All art has the power to heal because it helps us see who we are, and what we resist."
Being exceptional may cause a variety of reactions; some of those responses are supportive, but others can discourage or discount people with high ability. “I got that whole precocious thing [as a child]. I had no reason to doubt my own abilities or not share my opinion. The adults were offended, and the kids were resentful. I was persona non grata in both camps for quite a while.” Diane Lane [Lifetime magazine, Oct 2003] - the image is Lane on the cover of a 1979 Time magazine about “Hollywood Whiz Kids.” Many other gifted and talented people are drawn to the arts and entertainment – and other fields, of course – and have had similar experiences and reactions from other people, both as children and adults.
“The creative process shrivels in the absence of continual dialogue with the soul. And creativity is what makes life worth living.” That is a quote by Jungian analyst and author Marion Woodman, from my post Spirituality and Creative Expression, which also includes quotes by Julia Cameron and others. [This post is a continuation from Part 2.] Spiritual insights Author Tom Wootton has written about his experiences with depression, and says, "I have begun to gain tremendous insight into many things, including my spiritual life. It is in the spiritual sense that I have really begun to see that depression can be a great thing." From his article The Art of Seeing Depression. He is author of several books including The Bipolar Advantage.
"The only thing I could do was write. I used to crawl from the bedroom to the computer and just sit and write, and then I was alright, because I was not present. 'Sense and Sensibility' really saved me from going under, I think, in a very nasty way.” Emma Thompson on her depression in the past. From my post: Emma Thompson, depression, and Mental Health Awareness. [Photo: Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, 1995, for which she also wrote the screenplay.] An article on the BP hope site (which "strives to increase the awareness of Bipolar Disorder), quotes a number of psychiatrists and experts, including Kiki D. Chang, MD, quoted in Part 1 of this article.
"As a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely…" Psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison has written a number of books, including a memoir, about bipolar disorder. She reportedly first planned her own suicide at 17, and attempted to carry it out at 28. Can such a profoundly challenging mental health issue like depression actually have some benefit for the many creative people who suffer from it? Dr. Jamison responded to a question about experiencing bipolar, if she had a choice: "If lithium were not available to me, or didn't work for me, the answer would be a simple no... and it would be an answer laced with terror. "But lithium does work for me...Strangely enough, I think I would choose to have it. It's complicated.