Monday, December 06, 2004

Kay Redfield Jamison Interview

Sunday after church, as I headed out to pick up the girls at their grandmother's house, I stumbled across an interview with Kay Redfield Jamison on NPR concerning her new book, Exuberance. Jamison is the author of An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (her personal experience with bipolar disorder), Touched with Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament (on the link between the two), and Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide. She's a psychiatrist and professor at John Hopkins Medical School and one of the world's foremost authorities on manic depression. She's also a writer who will take your breath away and knock your socks off.

Jamison has been researching the emotional state of exuberance for some time now, gathering information from a variety of sources. She says there is a surprising lack of words from the fields of medicine and psychiatry with which to describe exuberance . Surprisingly enough, she finally found the vocabulary she was looking for primaily in the field of theology. The arts--literature, visual arts, dance--were the next best source.

The link between creativity and joy, creativity and despair, creativity and emotions, period, gnaws at me. And now, to throw theology into the mix. Hmmm. . . Methinks Exuberance is a book to procure, peruse and ponder postehaste.

4 comments:

Bruce said...

I find I'm at my most creative when I'm depressed, but unfortunately, I'm usually too down to do anything about it. I have found the language of the Psalms helps me when I'm depressed, I wonder if that's what Jamison was referring to?

Randy said...

This sounds fascinating...get the book and do a review :)

Joyella said...

Yeah, like Randy said, ditto.

Cindy said...

Bruce--What an honor to see you here! Welcome! Welcome! I bet you're spot on about the Psalms. I think of David dancing before the ark of the covenant, too, and Miriam and the maidens coming out of Egypt. Arts and theology combined. The created and the Creator. There's GOT to be a place somewhere in the emotional landscape, not between mania and depression, but somewhere with elements of both, that allow both the creativity and the productivity! (If you find it before I do, I want a roadmap!)

Randy and Joyella--I was actually in Borders today and picked it up and held it in my hot little hands. But I was supposed to be Christmas shopping for other people, not for me, so I put it back. :p My one act of virtue for the day. :) Maybe after Christmas. . .