A little Spark of Madness: Artists, Mystics and Misfits


seattle lighting thunder


As I take up pen today I see trees swaying with the wind that is bringing in more thunder and lighting, atypical of the Seattle area.  It’s hard to wait for the fireworks to commence because the built-up tension from ninety degree temperatures and high humidity also builds in me, seeking release.

The tension in the pending storm mirrors the tension that lives in me and in many of you as well.  We seek release from the horrors happening in our world.  We stagger in our beings, bouncing from Israel to Syria to Ukraine to Nigeria to Iraq and back again, with little respite from grief and rage.  Now life has become too much for Robin Williams.

Myriad media accounts have offered us much to ponder while emotion catches up to thought.  Most meaningful for me is this quote from Robin Williams, “You’re only given a little spark of madness.  You mustn’t lose it.”  What are we doing to our artists, and at what cost to our society?  That spark of madness lives in the foreground for artists, mystics and misfits of all varieties.  Their differences threaten a society which puts them into a cloven pine like Ariel in The Tempest, allowing them out only when a laugh or quick look into the soul is called for.  Never mind the price artists pay for unveiling their holy spark of madness.

How different our world could be if we released the voices of our conscience and consciousness from the faux safety of the cloven pine and treasured their humanity instead of the roles assigned to them.  In a society which valued the right-brain as much as the left-brain, and which taught its children to value it, war and suicide could become obsolete.  Thank you Robin Williams and all your tribe for showing us how to be human.