The pages are still blank
The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible
This quotation from Nabokov was the inspiration for the name of my own writing blog. At the time, it encapsulated perfectly my feelings as an emerging writer, a neophyte in the field of writing, yearning to release the words that I was aware of, stories that wanted to be seen and read by others.
Today the phrase has another, less joyous connotation for me. The words are there, I can sense them, I know they are, but clamoring now means struggle. It is a hard fight to make make the words visible. It is a painful and slow process to make sense of the screaming in my head, so many words at once and the totality making little sense, barely able to discern the single strands of coherence.
Words are there. They want to be seen, they want to be read. But at times I can’t see how to make them known.
For some months now I have struggled, and have at least been diagnosed with, depression. My attention is unfocused, my will almost non-existant and my energy low. Writing is an effort, whereas before it was a joy. And while the anti-depressants I have begun to take will help to dispel the worst of the murky gloom that hangs over my mind, I’m terrified that it will also dull other parts of me, specifically my ability to imagine, to write, to tell stories.
Is depression, indeed is mental illness more generally, the price for artistic merit? Or is artistic talent more prevalent amongst those who are prone to, or suffer from, mental illnesses? I know of (and in some cases know personally) writers who suffer from depression. Musicians and visual artists also have amongst their ranks many talented individuals who have seen depression touch their lives to varying degrees.
Is the incidence of depression amongst artists higher than the rest of the population? Or are artists more willing to acknowledge it, and so it is merely a higher reported incidence?