Just This Side of Madness

This page contains quotes from and comments about the Arkansas writer Carol Ann Beeman. Her book, Just This Side of Madness is subtitled Creativity and the Drive to Create. She discusses “the concept of a drive to create which is genetically transmitted and separate from creativity itself.” Her book is fascinating and filled with clear, insightful prose about such things as The Dilemma of the Creative Person, The Drive to Create, Mental Illness and Creative Drive, The Creative Process in Virginia Woolf, Women and Creative Drive and others. I will be adding quotes from her book from time to time. Please come again!

There is really no such thing as a sole accomplishment.

Manic-depressive (bipolar) disorder did not “run” in my family–it galloped!

I am learning…to understand dysfunctional families, the battered wife syndrome, alcoholism, and mental illness. I am a survivor. All these things have happened to me, been the fabric of my living on the way to becoming the poet and writer I had hoped I could be.

What is proposed here and what is still under investigation is the possibility that a genetic factor exists and operates that predisposes certain people toward the artistic life.

The problem of being a gifted individual is not identical with being a driven individual, but often we are enlarged and advanced by the contributions of a driven, gifted person.

(Added here 10.5.2019, published by Carol Beeman in 1990)  As humans we are capable of surviving enormous personal as well as social holocausts if we can be linked up with other human beings who will be with us in our pain—share the load. The discovery is being made that we cannot eliminate all human suffering, but we can be here for each other. This is not to rebuke science for its benefits, the luxuries we have received from technological advancement, the comfort of certain kinds of knowledge. Knowledge, however, is not the same as awareness and neither knowledge nor awareness is a substitute for compassion. To think otherwise is to embrace the illusions of the stainless steel hospital and the lunar landing moduleInside both we still find a mortal whose beginning was a birth-wail and whose natural end is a cessation of breath. What happens in between depends on choice. Where that uniquely human choice has been denied, limited, or lost, it can be restored by participation in the healing group. We are social beings; we can learn to be here together—in love, not hate. 

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