June 20, 2011
charles m schulz, tormented artist
from The Discomfort Zone
© 2006 by Jonathan Franzen
Yes, more Franzen! I have a schoolgirl crush on the guy and I still haven't read his fiction. Now I'm afraid to, in case I hate it. This excerpt is from his 2006 memoir, which I just finished, and I love this unexpected take on the psychology of the artist/creative person. Just the fact that, as a child, he was as devoted to his Peanuts treasuries as I was (for my boys it was Calvin and Hobbes) ticks a major box for me.
His angle on the creative mindset doesn't surprise me in the least, though I've never heard it put quite like this before. I have heard other analyses that suggest that to be really creative you need enough downtime to get really bored, and it's that boredom that generates the kind of open mind spaces needed to write/paint/invent/research obscure and quirky theories, etc. People who are battling mental illness, substance abuse, etc., have minds that are busy elsewhere. There's no question that my own empty childhood summers were a gold mine for my drawing and story-writing explorations. When I wasn't reading Peanuts, that is. And now? Ask my shrink. :)