Burn a Bit too Brightly

Posted By Pamela on Oct 18, 2006 | 17 comments

A friend once sent me the following quote from Pearl S. Buck.

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him…

a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create – – – so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.¹

This quote strongly resonated with me. It recognizes that in some individuals, emotions run too strong, and like the human orchid, we blossom with powerful beauty when kissed by the Sun, but die instantly in the slightest frost. This quote recognizes that to some of us, a kiss isn´t just a kiss, but rather it´s a promise that there will be a tomorrow. It recognizes that to some of us a raised voice is a violent slap. And it recognizes that some of us don´t know how to let go of the things that have captured our mind, heart and soul – no matter how small the obsession.

In discussing strong emotions with like-hearted souls, I learned that we´ve all realized that sometimes (usually?) we ruin things simply by emoting too strongly. How odd it is to live in a society that praises such ideals as “Truth, [inner] Beauty, Freedom and Love”* and is simultaneously filled with individuals fixated on lies, [outer] beauty, corporate slavery, and lust. Sex on the first date is acceptable, but telling someone how you feel after the second is not. It´s alright to say “I want to {insert crude fantasy here} to you“, but it´s not alright to say  “I feel {insert earnest emotion here} for you“.

How does an open heart protect itself?

Sometimes it is necessary to pull away; to back away before you break your own heart; before you fall in love too strongly with a fantasy. The sensitive soul learns tricks. The things that really matter aren´t articulated. Physical affection is carefully leashed. Dreams are quietly reached for, but there is a mantra running in the background, whispering, “Life will go on, even if I fail.” This isn´t to say that I succeed. The people closest to me always know what´s going on in my heart. The people I want to be close to sometimes learn things a bit faster than they may want to. All because I know what I should do, doesn´t mean I always do it. Isn´t that what it means to be human?

Some overly sensitive souls run the risk of becoming emotionally masochistic. The desire to be open and honest isn´t properly balanced against the urge for self preservation. This has some consequences that may not be obvious at first – like any other form of pain, emotional pain eventually leads to desensitization.

At the same time, the overly sensitive soul also runs the risk of putting up barriers around their heart that are too tall and too strong for anyone to get past. Rather then risking the hurt of failure, they stop dreaming. Rather than risking the hurt of rejection, they stop loving. This is a form of self applied anaesthetization.

Either way, is easy to think that it is simply safer to be dead inside.

The safe and easy option, isn´t always the right option. The safe, easy option is to sit back, take an ordinary job, accept an ordinary lover, and bury all but ordinary dreams. “Hello, my name is Charlie Brown, I work in the cube next to Dilbert, and I live next to Ziggy. Why do I need anything more?” But when you have the heart, the intellect, and the passion to do more, living the easy life isn´t the correct option.

There is another quote that means a lot to me. I cut it off a box of Silk and it claims the quote “has been attributed to Nelson Mendela, but he didn´t write it.” The quote is simple and true:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn´t serve the world. There´s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won´t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it´s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

The truly creative mind has a power. It has the ability to love when love seems impossible. It has the ability to nurture growth it the desert and built castles from mud. The truly creative mind can do anything. The truly creative mind can be anything. The creative mind must only take care not to lose too much of itself in every little hurt. My creative friends, my creative kindred – dream, love, have passion and be passionate, and most of all, believe in yourself.

*From Moulin Rouge


  1. I believe Life is not an exact Science.
    It can be choatic or orderly.

    How can you be so radically creative in pursuing the best you can be when you have to satisfy your basic needs? There is no right or wrong in life, making mistakes tend to teach us not to repeat them but to deliberately make an error and not man enough to stand the consequences means that person is immature or to shrewd or stupid.

    Sometimes, creativity is not the one and all formula.


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