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.