March Madness: Angela Yuriko Smith
Embracing Madness for Creativity’s Sake
Madness is the harangued sister to Creativity.
Creativity is the sweet one. She makes socially palatable works of art where the colors compliment, the words make sense and the tune harmonizes.
Not so with Madness. She doesn’t show up on time to engagements, and when she does appear, often at an awkward moment, she is disheveled. Polite company shies away from her wild eye and disjointed conversation.
Madness is the under appreciated genius. She sees what Creativity can’t—the ghost peering from the beams, the dragon in the clouds. She hears the Tell-Tale Heart.
Creativity steals from her sister. She watches her on the sly and borrows her vision like a dress. She wears it well and receives accolades for her use of accessories, texture and color, but it’s the piece that Madness lent that draws the conversation.
Madness should be the one in the spotlight, but she is too unwound and agitated for polite company. Her colors run together, the words jumble into nonsense and her tune jars the ear with discordance.
Each of us host both sisters within us. We learn quickly in our early years to color inside the lines and let demure Creativity take the lead. We are praised when we create gently and with care.
Madness makes tantrums. She spills the ink pot and ignores it to write runes on the wall. She rages without knowing why. She is the evil twin of Creativity—unleashed and uncontrollable.
If we want to be solid, successful artists, we must learn to live with both sisters. Sweet Creativity gets us through the performances and exhibitions peacefully. We appropriately nod and smile at the praise we are given… but the spark the audience praises, oblivious to truth, will be the work of Madness.
The murder settles around me
judging me with rude calls—
a cacophony of dark portent
drapes like a pall
signalling my doom.
And I love the murder
with all it’s ominous gesturing
full of dark rustle and scraping caw.
From deep within the sharp and grasping maw
I hear my name called out sharp, rasping and raw
with strong hints toward apocalyptic prophecies
that surround, but somehow, cannot touch me
and I laugh, in the gloom, at all they foresee
because there is no guilt in being guilty.
I was made to love the murder.
Sadly, it becomes bored and takes wing
taking the chorus of discontent away.
I’m sad to lose their violent affection.
For all their rude ways, they see me
and call my madness
for what it is.
Angela Yuriko Smith’s work has been published in several print and online publications, including the “Horror Writers Association’s Poetry Showcase” vols. 2-4, “Christmas Lites” vols. 1-6 and the “Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy” anthology.
She has nearly 20 books of speculative fiction and poetry for adults, YAs and children. Her first collection of poetry, “In Favor of Pain,” was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award.
Find her online at AngelaYSmith.com.