too much happiness
So here’s a moment, a short rant, of self-justification; a defence of my gravity towards melancholy, by highlighting the benefits of life in lugubrious shadows.
It has been a tendency of mine to adhere to the notion that creativity springs from suffering, particularly suffering of the internal, angst-filled type which, legend would have it, stereotypically characterises the artistic temperament. Circumstantial evidence would support this claim; poetry which is joyful is often, unfortunately, sugary and dissatisfying, the stuff of greeting cards and similar inspirational art; many find darker writing truer to experience; less trite, more courageous.
The problem with happiness, I lately suspect, is that it makes us less discerning. A general feeling of joy is contagious; it stifles our inner critic, rendering us temperate, tolerant and positive. These are, unquestionably, admirable qualities but it seems they do not necessarily lead to artistic polish: the poem which is never right until it is perfectly phrased, the photograph microscopically cropped. In this context, temperance and tolerance do not care about excellence.
So, the long, dark nights have their purpose. What remains is the invisibly fine line between exploiting the depressive or angry state, and pursuing it.
P.S. I was very much hoping to use the word “lugubrious” somewhere in there, even if I have overstretched its meaning somewhat.