The relationship between creativity and madness is a longstanding topic for psychologists and artists alike, but answers elude all. Nevertheless, the question continues to haunt students of the human psyche. So, if others think you half-mad to be a writer, or if you sometimes fear they may be right, take a look at this take on the Muse by one of the greatest science fiction and horror writers of the Twentieth Century—Theodore Sturgeon–excerpted from The Perfect Host.
“I am a Thing which lives in fantasy, where true fantasy lives in the minds of men.
What fumbling is this, what clumsiness, what pain … I who was never a weight, who never turned, coerced, nor pressed a person, never ordered, never forced—I who live with laughter, die with weeping, rise and hope and cheer with man’s achievements, yet with failure and despair go numb and cold and silent and unnoticeable—what have I to do with agony?
Know me mankind, know me now and let me be.
Know the worst. I feed on you. I eat and breathe no substance but a precious ether. …
… But know this too. The thing that I take is the essence of joy—and in joy is created an excess of that which I need.
… I demand only sustenance: that is the right of all living things. I ask in addition a thing which is simple enough—I ask to be left to myself to encyst or to flower or sleep or be joyful; without any devilish probing.”