Late Blooming Genius


Late Blooming Genius

I’m not a creative genius by any means, and that’s probably a good thing. A large percentage of such geniuses (77% for novelists and 87% for poets) suffer from some sort of mental disturbance — schizophrenia, cognitive disorders, depression, bipolarism, neuroses, alcoholism.

I don’t even have the sort of mental dissociation that many creative non-geniuses have, such as sitting back and letting my characters tell the story, like some form of spirit writing. My characters never do anything that I didn’t intend them to do, they never take on a life of their own, they never appear to me in my dreams. They are a deliberate construct, created by carefully chosen words.

Late Blooming GeniusOn the other hand, there is still a chance that I will end up as one of those poor tormented souls. There are two kinds of genius — the wunderkind kind where a person is born with their genius and the late bloomer kind where a person develops their genius through experience and trial and error.

(To the extent that I have a talent for writing, mine is the late-blooming kind. I tried to write a novel when I was young, but when I sat down to write, hoping the words would flow, my mind was a complete blank. Throughout the years, though, I did learn how to write.)

There is another possibility for such a late-blooming genius to flower in me.

Dan Chiasson, writing about poet Marianne Moore who became a star in her seventies, said “Poets often make a sudden advance with the death of their parents, as though a curfew has suddenly been lifted; for some, it happens just at the moment the imagination has stalled.”

If this “curfew” is lifted from other creative types, too, then when I am free from the responsibilities of looking after my father, my creativity could erupt.

(And anyway, I used to be a poet once upon a time, so either way, the curfew lifting could be a boon.) I have the stalled imagination, that’s for sure — for several years, I haven’t been able to write much of anything except blog posts with sporadic forays into fiction writing — so who knows what will happen in the coming years.

I just hope that if genius decides to descend on me, I get to keep my normalcy. I have no desire to suffer from any sort of mental disturbance. I’ll be satisfied with being just a garden-variety, every day, creative non-genius who writes magnificent books.

  1. Avatar of Joyce+White
    Joyce+White says

    Hi Pat. It so happens I’m in my seventies. I am one of those people that blossomed late in life. I was busy when younger
    raising four kids and chasing reality. I suffered chronic depression that kept me couch-bound, but I watched a lot of television,
    took medication, and went back to college hungry to find something was good at. I took every writing class they had. I also took some art classes sculpting, and metalworking. Sometimes grief lifts us up.

  2. Avatar of Joyce White
    Joyce White says

    Hi Pat, I love your work. I reread this and it just hit me. Yes, I didn’t write until both my parents died. WOW So that is when I started studying to be a genuis. Lol

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