Thursday, January 11, 2007

Walk in Shade

"If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad." - Lord Byron
I have those words in all of my writing folders. When I first read them, I felt a connection to Byron. He was cynical, clever, amoral, and completely insane. I felt that he would have been a fascinating man to have known, as long as you didn't get too close. He burned like a human flame, and he knew the fires and agonies of creation.
He was also Bipolar. Just as I am. I knew this instinctively, long before I bothered to look for any confirmation of the fact. I recognised my own kind.

"No ear can hear nor tongue can tell the tortures of the inward hell!" - Lord Byron

When I think of him, living in the early 1800's, without the benefit of modern medicines and our understanding of mental illness, I feel immeasurably sad. How must it have been for him, to suffer through the periodic splintering of his mind? Without the drugs we have now to calm the demons, the understanding we have begun to develop about how our behaviour can effect our illness. Without any help at all.
His only release was his writing. Perhaps that was how he managed to survive until he was 36.

"My turn of mind is so given to taking things in the absurd point of view, that it breaks out in spite of me every now and then." - Lord Byron

I have an absurd view of the world. Everything is off-center, slightly odd. People look at me, with their heads tilted, and frown slightly. They don't quite get it. There's nothing in this world more glorious than the absurd. Humor, light, love and happiness all come from absurdity.

Shelley wrote that Byron was "an exceedingly interesting person, but as mad as the wind."

In the end, the wind is free. That is all we can hope to accomplish, I suppose, those of us that are touched by madness.

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