Chapter 1

Creativity hurts

1.3c Suicide - destruction and creation

Although destruction and creation are opposed to each other there seems to be a sort of love - hate relationship between the two. The artist, consciously struggling to fulfill his/her aims might as much as escaping by drinking give up entirely. After all, the misuse of alcohol is very destructive and often results in furthering problems, not reducing them.


The woman is perfected

Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,

The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga'

Her bare

Feet seem to be saying

We have come so far, it is over

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent',

one at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty

She has folded

Them back into her body as petals

Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed

From the sweet deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,

Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.

Her blacks crackle and drag.


Sylvia Plath



depressive work Artist unknown

There is a certain divinity in taking one's life, a kind of ultimate control for which we are all looking. However, suicide is hardly ever caused by creativity because creativity when adequately recognised by the artist should add to their self-esteem. In fact creativity is rather a means to deal with such highly destructive feelings and helps the affected person to communicate these painful and dangerous feelings.

It may be argued that creativity in this context is not truly artistic because it merely serves as therapy.

Sylvia Plath is said to have written quite differently when in a suicidal phase and these writings are not what earned her the world-wide respect and recognition as a gifted writer. Virginia Woolf was practically unable to create while she was in a suicidal phase. However, I have strong reservations about this idea. Is it not the need to communicate something we feel strongly about that provides the prime motivation for artistic creation ? Of the artists that I talked to and that answered my questionnaire many indicated that this is the case. ' It is the sea of sorrows and depressions from which I seize my inspiration'.

Thankfully the number of suicides within the arts is relatively low.

Sylvia Plath