I was asked once if I thought creative people needed angst to create. And you know what, it's an interesting question.
Do I think creative people need angst?…. No. Do I think many creative people have angst (at least more than the average person)? ….. Yes. Do I need angst? …. I have no idea.
Angst can be defined as “A feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression…[and]…going through deep emotional and possibly physical pain .” For you visual folk, this is how I see it:
I do tend to be more inspired by angst. Depression and sadness seem to draw the creativity out of me more than other emotions. (What this says about me I really don’t want to know…not sure I want to) :D The good news is, I don’t necessarily need the angst to be my own. I get very inspired by other people’s angst as well, like a really good, angsty song or movie. I guess I’d have to say, no, I don’t think creative people have to have angst in order to produce good work. But, I do think it helps.
Robert Penn Warren said:
The writer’s fundamental attempt is to understand the meaning of his own experiences. If he can’t break through those issues that concern him deeply, he’s not going to be very good.
I think this is what I try to do in my work. I wouldn’t describe it as “angst,” but I do dissect my experiences in order to serve up the most intense parts of them. And the more “angsty” emotions do tend to be the strongest, the ones that stick with me the most. For example, I was ecstatic at my wedding. It was a wonderful day. And then when my son was born, the love and joy I felt looking into his newborn eyes was beyond description.
But the experiences that are the easiest to delve into now, are the depressing ones, the sad, heartbreaking, fearful, adrenaline-filled, emotional ones. Though I remember the "good times" clearly, I have a hard time feeling that exact euphoria I felt at the best moments of my life. But I can feel the pain and anguish and rage and heat and desire and all consuming love or hate that I felt at the worst or most intense moments in my life at a moment’s notice – I just have to dip into the right memory.
This post is getting tremendously long, so I'll go into the whole emotion aspect more next week, but for now, let me ask you...
Do you think creative people need angst to create? Do you need it?