Friday, December 30, 2011

Torment and Imagination: A Gateway to Creativity or Madness?

In the story, Emily handles her torment and abuse by escaping into her imagination. Her life is fraught with difficulties and every day she has to navigate around an abusive and sadistic father. Her world is difficult to bear, so she creates a world that is woven in happiness and suits her kind nature. Emily spends a lot of time drawing and writing, and creating her own bearable world as a shield to the world she has to face whenever her father is around. Emily is, by nature, a sensitive person which compounds the impact that abuse has on her. It follows a natural transition that Emily's nature is in direct contrast to her father's abusive nature and would result in the use of her imagination to protect her from harm. This begs the question, if Emily lived in a happy environment with loving parents - would her imagination flourish? If adversity fuels the imagination and creativity - how far can it reach before it crosses over into madness?

In Pages in the Wind, there is a passage in the beginning of the book that illustrates how her imagination rescues her from the torment of her father:

"It was a typical sunny day and Emily got up early before the rest of the family, and quickly dressed and walked quietly to the front porch. This was a special time of day for her. The house was silent and the world was quiet. All she could hear were the thoughts within her own mind, uninterrupted by the terrifying shouting of her father. She would sit on the porch, her favorite place and the place where Reid would always wait for her. She would have a pencil and a tablet with her during these quiet times, for Emily loved to draw. She would always draw the same thing - faces of girls. She was talented at drawing and could capture an imaginary girl in her mind, draw her face as she imagined it, and fantasize an entire life around the picture. For hours she would sketch, not missing a detail of who this girl was. She would imagine what kind of life this girl lived, and the people that surrounded the imaginary girl's life. She would draw for hours, lost in her rapid and endless imagination, until her fantasy world was interrupted by the terrifying sound of her father's voice."

So - I wonder, where will this imagination lead? Surely Emily would rather live in her imaginary world as opposed to the wicked world imposed by her father. If the mind creates thoughts and perceptions - which world is real? Will her imagined world collide with her real world? What is the impact of prolonged trauma on the young mind?

What do you think?


  1. Love the post and its something Ive thought of so many times. I dont know of an author or playwright that has not had some torment because I truly believe that it gives them the material they need to create great works. Honest and super blog.

  2. So true and I have wondered about this myself. There is that fine line though. Great piece.

  3. It is an nteresting question, I wonder if this has been studied. I have read this with many artists, it is a fine line Im sure. But where would we be without the masters? I don't think that there would be the masterpieces of art without a little bit of madness. Super blog!!!!!!

  4. You bring up a good and interesting question. I do think that artists have a certain type of imagination that probably calls for a unique chemical balance. Whether it is further developed through what your hero goes through is a great questio. I also enjoy your blog very much!

  5. Sometimes people go the other way and I don't know exactly what drives them one way or another. Its a mystery of life. I think that we need to teach our children from an early age to spot abuse and report it. It seems like we are more trained to ignore it until it becomes a problem like what happens to kids in high school. Why not check parents out more? It seems a small price to pay considering what happens in the long run. I love your writing because it gives me a lot to think about. Great blog.

  6. This is an interesting post. I have been reading your work for awhile now and find it to be fascinating. I love your grasp of psychological issues. I think that there is a strong link between creative people and art for sure. In the big picture, I would definitely take art.


I would love your input on this work-in-progress. I thank you for your opinion.