Sad can equal Beautiful. I’m in a bit of a bleak patch. A bit blah. At first just because, and then because of a few events this week. But I take hope in the Rota Fortunae of Boethius (and Tony Wilson).
I know it can’t be all rolling in kittens and daisies sunshine when you write like the flowy unconscious spirit of Inspiration. Sometimes it’s sloggy work. It’s not quite despair. That’s too dramatic. It’s a kind of an ennui. It’s mehness. But I don’t mind. There’s a kind of beauty in it when you look hard enough. And in the mehness, the work done could even be seen as more valuable, if not better quality, because you knew the effort it took.
I feel like I’m saying a lot but the point I’m trying to reach is that the grey and the dark is where dreams form, where life is made. There’s magic in the shadows, in the twilight and by the evening star, perhaps more than by the dawn and the brightest daylight. Every once in a while it’s ok to glut your sorrow on a morning rose. I think it’s something to do with mortality and awareness of mortality. We are born astride the grave, my high school teacher was fond of quoting. We are and mostly we forget and spend our moments on distractions because that’s how our amygdala part of the brain is wired.
But sometimes, like I said, we want to wallow and should. It’s like letting a field go fallow so next season’s crops will be better. We should dwell in the noche oscura sometimes, if only to better appreciate everything else by day. So here’s a short list for getting to the sad shadow realm, if you can’t get there by yourself.
Some Sad and Beautiful Inspirations
Bright Star – film by Jane Campion. Glorious.
Leonard Cohen. His music.
Sylvia Plath’s poetry. Troubled and beautiful.
TS Eliot – Thinking man’s depressive.
Wilfred Owen’s WWI poetry. Made all the more poignant by his death in 1918.
The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham. You can try the film or the novel. Captures the ennui of the lost generation after WWI.
The master of the ornate beautiful horror story Edgar Allan Poe. Read his biography and be made sadder.
The supernatural fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock is good, but try his other stuff too. Also Conan Doyle’s own story is one of tragedy and spiritualism.
Pre-Raphaelite art – generally speaking is wistful and beautiful and references antique legends like King Arthur or Shakespearean tragic heroines like Ophelia or the Greek myths (most of which end sadly).
The end of Breaker Morant. Edward Woodward!
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. (All those beautiful shirts and a voice that sounded like money.)
The love poetry of John Donne.
Just generally I’ve found most ‘cello music to be sad and beautiful. That could be just me though. If you’re more classically minded, Google ‘sad classical music’ for heaps of inspirational ideas.