I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.
-Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
My research thesis focuses on the correlation between illnesses of the brain and brilliance. Sylvia Plath was one of those brilliant lights snuffed out in essence by her battle with manic-depression. It’s been considered that poets are more likely and susceptible to have mental illnesses and experience personal tragedy than other creative writers. Are existential crises requirements of creativity? The question is… while the light might have burned longer, would it burn less bright for treatment and medication? Would we have more prolific but less brilliant authors and poets and artists? Would their works be less impressive? If so, how can we treat an illness of the brain without destroying the creativity and imagination of the mind?
I contributed “Breath of Honu” to National Geographic’s Your Shot for an underwater assignment. This is one of a family of turtles that live just outside our family home in Maui. The water is usually in turmoil and makes snorkeling/fishing/diving in that particular spot quite ill advised. On this day the sea was oddly calm off the cliffs and made snorkeling possible. When the turtles of Hawaii are left alone and not harassed by tourists (you cannot chase or touch them), they can be rather chill and approachable. This one was exceedingly inquisitive and happy to share space as it broke the surface for a deep breath.