The magic of madness

'I feel like sometimes you have to block out real life,' I said to a friend recently over coffee.

'It's like, there are all of these forces telling you to be sensible, to get real, to stop believing in dreams, or madness. But you have to find a way to exist on a different plane, where anything is possible, before you can start to forge a relationship with your creativity.'

I was once gifted a beautiful edition of Don Quixote, under the instruction that I should use it as a reminder to believe in madness.

And then, more recently, I came across a book called The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. Described as 'nothing less than the Sun-Tzu for the soul', I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to 'seize the creative potential of your life'.

In it, Pressfield quotes Socrates, in Plato's Phaedrus, on the 'noble effect of heaven-sent madness':

'The third type of possession and madness is possession by the Muses. When this seizes upon a gentle and virgin soul, it rouses it to inspired expression in lyric and other sorts of poetry, and glorifies countless deeds of heroes of old for the instruction of posterity. But if a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman.'

So, rest assured if you ever find yourself feeling a bit crazy...