“You’re only given a little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it.”
– Robin Williams, Academy Award-winning actor (Best Supporting Actor, Good Will Hunting, 1997) and multiple Grammy-winning performer
Regardless what you think of Robin Williams’ body of work (I think it is mostly hilarious), it can’t be argued that he ever lost his “spark of madness.” From the early days of his fame, appearing as the alien Mork in a multiple-story arc on the television show Happy Days, through Mrs. Doubtfire and Awakenings, he has consistently sparked.
That spark, which he urges us to never lose, is what makes him–and more important, his work–memorable. He isn’t afraid to push beyond merely funny to borderline manic (remember the Genie in the Walt Disney flick Aladdin?).
A creative person’s “spark of madness” doesn’t have to be comedic. Stephen King’s spark may be his ability to see, and imagine, scary things within the perfectly mundane. Patsy Cline’s spark may have been her talent for inhabiting the songs she sang.
I’m not sure what mine is. It may be seeing gold where others see only tin. Regardless, our “spark”, I think, is where we are most fully using our gifts–with abandon!
What’s your “spark of madness”?
Michael Ehret, for Writing on the Fine Line
Michael Ehret loves to play with words and as editor of the ACFW Journal, he is enjoying his playground. He also plays with words as a freelance editor right here at WritingOnTheFineLine.com, where he often takes a writer Into The Edit, pulling back the veil on the editing process. He has edited several nonfiction books, played with words as a corporate communicator, and reported for The Indianapolis Star.