The work submitted is text-based art, 5 images that form the Front Cover, Back Cover, and first 3 pages of a fictitious novel and reference book “Novel Writing for Depressives: A study of P and Non-P” by Pamela Crowe. As the back cover explains, the work is an attempt by the author to understand the difference between pain that artists can find creatively generative and pain that artists find totally blocks creativity, hence ‘P’ = Productive pain, ‘Non-P’ = Non-Productive pain.
I have experienced both and during the long period of Non-P I longed for P but in fact, gave up on ever experiencing it again. I felt that my conscious productive mind had, in mourning itself, ceased to hope and therefore died. Then, randomly, EMDR therapy that I accessed for medical trauma unexpectedly released me and I found myself able to write/read/make again. After nearly 20 years. So, now having been P, then Non-P and now P again – I’m making work about it and trying to dissect how trauma/depression/anxiety can completely block creativity. I’m particularly interested in this issue because I think the ‘popular’ way that creativity is understood (within the arts, academia, mental health services) with regard to mental health and wellbeing is that it is a ‘salve’, an escape, therapeutic (mindful etc) but I find this very problematic – what if the therapy has to come FIRST before we have any chance of accessing life without a daily insidious fear and creative block?
So my work ‘Novel Writing for Depressives…’ is my exploration of this issue, around a central female character, it has some autobiographical elements (inevitably) but is a work playing with different female writer’s voices: Jane Austen, Nancy Mitford, Margaret Atwood – as well as my own. The work is ongoing and I’m still writing it but I feel strongly that the first 3 pages – sandwiched between the Front and Back covers – sit well as a stand-alone piece.
Find Pamela here: www.pamelacrowe.com