Friday, April 19, 2013

A Year in Bed

I’ve always been interested in the biographies of creative people. 

I’ve noticed that people who go on to live a creative life have often spent a year in bed as children, with polio or long bouts of illness.

Richard Fidler, host of Conversations on Sydney 702, has made the same observation.   

So what does it do, when you are pulled out of your routine and spend lots of time alone, reading or listening to the radio? It means living in your imagination. Having lots of time to think deeply and explore ideas. For Joni Mitchell it forged in her the determination to live a creative life.

So here’s list of creative people who had serious childhood illnesses: Kate Mulvany, Kate Forsyth,
Tom Jones, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Neil Young, Donald Sutherland, Alan Alda, Frida Kahlo, Francis Ford Copolla.

I don’t know that being sick will make me change my life in any significant way. Perhaps the effect doesn’t apply to adults. Or to adults with internet connection. I don’t expect to suddenly become a circus clown. But I do know that being creative has always been important to me, and that I’ve made more time for creative pursuits in the past than I have since having children. That’s something I can address. Although I expect that being well will mean more of the same (studying, wanting to work, driving children around and running the household) I hope I also make more effort to catch up with friends, and follow creative pursuits.


Jenny said...

I imagine it forces you to reflect more and gives your brain some space - it will be interesting to see what you think when you come out of hospital.

Liz said...

Hi Catherine. I typed a long comment yesterday, only to discover that I couldn't remember my blogger password (argh!!), so I'll start with a brief one and see if the problem is solved. I am fascinated by your list of artists with 'years in bed'. If you feel inspired to reflect on your cancer experience artistically at any time, I was wondering if you'd heard of the Cancer Council Arts Awards. The website is here:

I came third in the poetry section last year and scored a lovely box of Aesop beauty products - the entry is here:

Am thinking of entering again this year - the theme is 'Balance' (last year's was 'Strength') in case you feel inspired!

Liz said...

Yay, it worked!! Also wanted to send my very best wishes for the transplant process. I will be thinking of you on the 23rd and hoping like mad that the 100+ days that follow go very smoothly. How wonderful to think of coming out the other end cured. I love the thought of you on horseback, health and energy restored! I hope you enjoy your imaginative travels around NYC - what a lovely idea. The Sopranos was one of my treatment mainstays, which feels a little similar (while it's based in Jersey there is lots of coming and going from NYC) and funnily enough I'm immersed in The Great Gatsby at the moment - I'm waving to you from Long Island!! I hope that lots of great books will provide company over the coming months.