The madness

I see it in my two year old son, Will, when he dances. I see it in my friends that play music. I see it in my husband when he’s not looking. And sometimes I see it in myself. And its always when I look my best. Feeling it.

No, feelin’ it.

Down to the bones. Its the passion, the dedication, the blind and selfish love for something. Anything. My very wise and wonderfully crazy, seventy-five year old friend Philip calls it, appropriately, the madness.  The madness is something precious, something that if you can tap into it, you should consider yourself lucky, very next level. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are doing, if you’re feeling it, other people are inevitably drawn to you like a magnet. Its a quality that we all have, but that gets buried. That’s why Will can dance like a mad man with a huge grin on his face to David Bowie’s Under Pressure. But over the years, insecurities and inhibitions cause us to lose sight of this ephemeral quality. I think a worthy goal in life is to always strive to find it, get to that place.

Okay, admittedly, a shortcut to get to this place may be alcohol. Just the other night, I was at my writing group (AKA: Write Club, rhymes with Fight Club) which meets bi-weekly at a bar called The Pinch. We all had to submit quotes from great writers. The one that struck me the most was this one by Hemingway:

Write drunk. Edit sober.

Hemingway had the madness. He didn’t care about the writing community of his time, about pretenses, parameters. He just wrote his heart out. He probably tapped into it with a bit more alcohol and indulgence than is recommended. He was drunk as a skunk most of the time, but the south of France brings that out in you.  Bottom line, he knew how to get to that place where a creative truth flowed freely from his right brain to his pen. And the end result was beautiful. There are endless artists that have exhibited the same qualities. Van Gogh, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Woody Allen… need I say more? (Not that you need to cut your ear off or molest children.) But these people suffered for their art and produced beauty that we have all enjoyed.

Having an art or talent isn’t even necessary. But knowing yourself is essential. I don’t think it would be possible to get there otherwise.

Anyway, I’ve been really caught up in life lately  –  our endless kitchen renovation, raising two tiny tots, keeping up with the mundane tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning, flossing. Perhaps some would describe these as first world problems. A couple nights ago, John showed me a video clip of the lead singer from Future Islands. I was actually so busy trying to catch up on my email that I silently groaned inside when he interrupted. But something in this guy’s face grabbed me and I couldn’t stop watching. I could see his heart pouring out as he sang. The expression on his face was excruciatingly pained with passion. It was beautiful. And his dancing… well, ya just have to see it. He has that madness, and he inspires me to look for mine. In my writing, in my secret mid-day dancing to David Bowie with Will, in whatever comes my way.

Take a look at the Future Islands Video…

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “The madness

  1. Leah

    Love this post.

  2. kimberlypanzer

    Yes, girl! Yes!

  3. Emily Wilson

    I love this. As in your book, your descriptions are wonderful Tanya!

  4. Linsey Z.

    Love this post! A great reminder for us all.

  5. Cate

    Right on Tan! I miss my madness these days a lot! Good reminder to keep seeking it.

  6. Derek

    Great read! It’s funny–I recognize the people infected with what you call “the madness” instead of the trait itself. I’ve always called them Bleeders. (My personal categories for the pursuers of any endeavor: Hobbyist, Professional, or Bleeder.) A rose by any other name is still a ridiculously sincere madman, right?
    This was my first intro to Future Islands/Sam Herring back in 2010:

    Fun to watch, even if you’ve seen it before. Especially the first and last few seconds when he’s getting up and coming down.
    I saw that even Richard Lewis was tweeting the Letterman performance, and my own grandmother couldn’t take her eyes off the screen. It’s amazing how a little authenticity can throttle people no matter the form it takes.
    Thanks for sharing “the madness.” I like having another, if not more accurate, name to call it when I see it.

    • Ha, that totally looks like a frat party at Chapel Hill. I bet I’ve been there before. Must have been awesome to see them play there. Thanks for the nice comments about the post. Bleeders. Ha. I love it. Hope to see you on my next trip to Charlotte, Derek!

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