Maybe. The real answer is that some are, some aren’t.

I was asked several years ago why so many in my family are creative. My short answer was that I felt most artists have been broken. I should have thought about my answer longer, because it was too easy to say that. There are many broken people who aren’t artists, and many artists who aren’t broken. And just what defines broken anyway?

When I hear that someone is broken, I visualize a person who is stuck in a mud puddle that runs into quicksand. They never come out, and pain exudes from their pores. I don’t see that in the artists I’ve met. I see intelligent people who question everything. People who have a unique way of viewing the world that don’t think they are so unique.

We have all experienced pain, heartache, anger, envy,and the feeling of not being good enough. But we don’t all express those feelings through paint, music, or stage. But we do all live it. If we’re smart, we live our strengths and pursue our passions. We don’t keep our minds limited to the construct of what others decide we need to be.

Art is created from places we’ve been, places we are, and places we wish to be. How we choose to express those visions is art. The frustration in creating that art, at least for me, is the knowledge that not all of those feelings can be adequately expressed. That somehow, with each painting, there is something missing. Something left unsaid. I imagine that’s what it’s like for a novelist. There are so many stories burning through their brain that can not possibly be told in 1,000 pages. So there needs to be more novels.

And for me, there always needs to be another painting. I am not a tortured soul who feels compelled to live within the dark recesses of life. I prefer to see what I know is possible. And that is very freeing. Not tortured. Not broken.