Well of Creativity

Imagination: the bottomless well of human creativity.  Speculations abound as to what can enhance the imagination, “set it free,” or fuel it.  Possible methods: drinking alcohol to excess, ingesting illegal drugs or plants such as mushrooms, sex, or inducing physical pain.  Other speculation centers on the relationship between mental illness/instability and creativity.  No doubt, highly creative people can gravitate toward extremes in living and experiences and behavior.  They think outside of the box.  But does the imagination really need anything more from us than our attention and willingness to use it?

Recently, I had major surgery.  I enjoyed the mild sedation before we rolled into the surgical theater and I was very focused on my life after I regained consciousness.  The first pain medication they gave post-surgery didn’t work for me and made me ill.  My surgeon changed to morphine.  I’ve experienced morphine before, including hallucinating on it, and it wasn’t pleasant.  But this time, I controlled the administration of the drug completely through a self-doser.  I was happy.  No more pain.

But with the drug’s effectiveness came other things, such as feeling loopy.  My short term memory was shot.  Today, I remember very, very little of those first few post-surgery days when I was on the morphine.  The drug also did nothing for my imagination.  I felt as if my imagination had also been drugged into lethargy and grogginess.  My scientist friend visited one afternoon while I was on the morphine and we watched the movie Up together.  Last week I told her that I didn’t remember the movie at all because of the morphine.  She quite cheerfully responded that I could see it again as if it were the first time.  A rare pleasure.

My experience with morphine this time got me thinking about the importance of memory to imagination and creativity.  Writers, and I believe other creative artists, need memory of their life experiences, their sensual experiences, and stories on which to draw for their characters’ stories.  Memory is a partner in creativity.  For me, nothing about morphine and its effects enhanced my imagination or creativity.  I mourn the loss of my memories while on it.  But it did what it was supposed to do….

2 responses to “Well of Creativity

  1. Yes, I never bought into the theory that the most creative people were automatically heavy drinkers, drug-users or addicts of some kind. My best ideas have come while going for long walks outside, when my mind was crystal clear and my eyes free of daily clutter and to-do lists. The only advantage to leading a life under-the-influence would be the hair-raising stories one could tell IF one could remember.

    Good to hear your surgery is over, as well as the morphine-induced mental state.

    And you really must watch “Up” again, just for the flashback of the eldery man’s life – worth the price of admission or rental!

    • Hi, Clee’ — Memoirs of the drug or alcohol-induced shenanigans of the memoir writer are out there, but they aren’t the memoirs that interest me the most. I’ve had to use the pain pills about 4 times since my return home. They make me loopy and totally uninterested in doing anything. An odd feeling.

      I do plan to watch “Up” again!

      Thanks for your comment….

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