What a Woman Wants in a Man

As I was rollerblading the other day, I was thinking about artistic geniuses (stop laughing). It seems that every unbelieving artistic genius is also a bit insane—or a lot insane! I always thought it was because they just had too much talent to handle, but I came to a different conclusion about halfway down Sudley Lane. The arts are all about beauty. And beauty is all about truth. Here is a definition of beauty from The Free Dictionary:

The quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is associated with such properties as harmony of form or color, excellence of artistry, truthfulness and originality.

If excellence of artistry is in the business of finding beauty, creating beauty, and interpreting beauty, it is also in the pursuit of truth. This can be a real problem for the unbelieving artistic genius. I can’t imagine being so gifted, so richly able to express creation, all the while hating the Creator. An artist has an eye for beauty, and yet, the unbelieving artist struggles with the truth associated with it. Basically, they become obsessed with something they can’t have, even though they are so abundantly blessed with their artistic gift. But they can’t possess the Author of Beauty, and they won’t glorify him in their work. How frustrating! It’s enough to drive you truly crazy. These artistic geniuses come so close to Truth. But they hate it. They pursue beauty, but will never see the Beatific Vision, Christ in all his glory.

It was a quote by Anias Nin that got me thinking about all this. She was liberally gifted as a writer. Unfortunately, this bohemian, French-Cuban author squandered much of her talent on erotic literature. Her life pretty much mirrored her writing. She was married to two men, living a supposed secret life on the side with her second husband, who was sixteen years her junior. But she didn’t let two measly marriages stop her from indulging in other affairs. So I don’t support much of her writing, and I certainly don’t endorse her lifestyle, but I do acknowledge her gifts as an artist. Her life sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? But maybe that’s because Anias Nin had some beautiful glimpses of Truth, but suppressed them in unrighteousness.

Here is a famous quote of hers that reveals both profound insight, and utter rejection of the source of strength:

I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.

I prefer a man like this as well. But I want even more. I can look for a man that compels my strength, but in doing this I’m going to be driven to my own weakness. There is one Man, who really can do this right because he also provides my strength, courage, and toughness. He does make enormous demands on me, but only because he has already secured my victory. He doesn’t believe me naïve or innocent, so he sacrificed his own perfect life for mine, taking the curse for my sin and accrediting his own righteousness to my account.

In praising her own strength, Anais Nin is actually exposing her weakness. That’s why she had to keep looking to another man. She knew the value in strength, but wanted to find it in herself. I want something more than her feigned strength. With an even deeper instinct, I choose a Man who humbles me to depend on his incredible strength.

He is the only Man who can truly satisfy.

And he has the courage to treat me like the woman he created me to be.


oh my! Couldn't agree with

oh my! Couldn't agree with you more!! I appreciate her intelligence and ability to articulate so well on her feet.. Ok..I'm quite jealous. I admire those with great articulation skills since that is so far from my own gifting. She nearly nailed it but there is that truth that hangs. She doesn't know of whom she speaks which is a grievous sadness but also point of great amazing humble gratitude that I do. and yet some hope is there, that someday she will. Thank you for your comment!

Dana, I've been singing that

Dana, I've been singing that one too!

Now another song is stuck in

Now another song is stuck in my head! Jewel sings, "You can be Henry Miller and I'll be Anias Nin. This time it will be even better we'll stay together in the end."

I know you are lovin all

I know you are lovin all these comments falling into your "how the brain works" obsession and your love for art. Which is why I think this is one of your best articles to date! It is definately in my top 5!

Lucy--the artist genius who

Lucy--the artist genius who rips her pictures off the wall :)

Here's the question--can good

Here's the question--can good art be ugly? Yes and no, I think. But only yes when if fits the above definition of beauty. Excellence of artistry, harmony, truth...art is about truth--so is beauty.
Good art can be both ugly and beautiful at the same time, but if you take the beautiful out--it's just bad art.

Joan, just had the time to

Joan, just had the time to listen to your link this morning, while doing my housework. Interesting stuff. What an acknowledgement of God's common grace to mankind. Although, I think Gilbert could do better than naming him the Divine, Cock-Eyed Genius. But the whole idea of the artist trying to have a a conversation with "the other," and that those moments of perfect harmony in our work not coming from within us, but actually are on loan to us--right on. The conversation is really the created one, being made in the Creator's image, now creating in the Creator's world. As Christian's we know the Creator, and our prayers are heard.
When she said, "Just do your job," I want to shout Olay!

I mentioned this to my

I mentioned this to my husband, who was closer with our Asperger's friend, and when I mentioned that your thought was that art was about beauty, my husband's immediate response was, "Some art is ugly, and depicts ugly." He and I wondered if perhaps art is about truth, whatever the artist sees: beauty and the not so beautiful.

Great roller blading

Great roller blading reflecting seester. I think Lucy told me she wanted to be an" artist genius "once.

I really like your thinking

I really like your thinking around this concept Aimee. I really believe you have hit on a profound truth. I just wanted to attach the articles to help ground your belief that creativity and madness have some linkage.

A number of artists that I know hold their mental illness up like a badge of honour. Ascribing themselves to the belief that "you are not a real artist if your are not crazy/irresponsible/flamboyant/liberal/political/feminist etc...."

To restate your point: The beauty of creativity as a gift from God is lost when the recipient of the gift rejects the Creator. Instead, the gift becomes a curse and drives the artist into madness. Their choices are clouded by Satan's lies.

One need only look at the latest Hollywood drama's to surmise some similarity.

As I was driving to the dump

As I was driving to the dump in New Hampshire this summer (lovely thought, no?) NPR was on the radio and I happened to catch a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love. She had 18 minutes to talk about her chosen topic of artistic genius and suffering. Interesting parallels to your own conclusions. While she is missing the profound truths that we can appreciate, I think you'll enjoy this delightfully articulate woman's perspective. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

Yes, Kim the arts are

Yes, Kim the arts are certainly a therapeutic way to express suffering. I think the emotion and experience put into a suffering artist's work can make it all the more beautiful because their own experiences and pain harmonize with the truthfulness of the world they are interpreting. But I also know some extraordinary writers/artists who did not experience painful lives.
That's an interesting distinction that the young man with Asperger's said he pursued art to better understand his world. And yet, I think his motivation falls right under the definition I provided for beauty above:
The quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is associated with such properties as harmony of form or color, excellence of artistry, truthfulness and originality.
He was needing to find that harmony in truth.
Great conversation, guys!

Yay, thanks for sharing some

Yay, thanks for sharing some related articles, Lyndsay. I find it interesting how both articles want to link mental illness or madness with creativity. That's kind of the opposite of what I'm thinking. My theological reasoning would be that God is the Creator and made us in his image. When we are being creative, we are reflecting our God. That is sanity. God is certainly not mentally ill, although he is the most creative. But, if you are gifted creatively and you don't know the creator, I could see how this would lead to madness.
Also, I found it interesting how an artist in the 2nd article was quoted saying that they "suspend unbelief" to be more creative.

I would be very interested

I would be very interested to understand the differences in cognitive mapping in someone who is extremely artistic. For example, my husband and I had opportunity to mentor a young man with Asperger's Syndrome. He was a brilliant artist, but his social skills were lacking, and people thought he was crazy. He complained often of not being able to shut off his mind. His pursuit of art was not about beauty at all. It was about understanding his world; that's what he said. Also, my daughter has often said that people who have had the most tortured lives write the best literature. Sometimes, pain is the way to see things in a different way, perhaps. It certainly is an issue that one could spend a great time of time and education on it. In fact, one of my daughter's fellow grad students is actually doing his dissertation on the link between cognition and art.

Hi Aimee and Emily - below is

Hi Aimee and Emily - below is a very old article (1997) but it was easily located. More recent research also confirms some correlations between mental illness and creativity.


Quick article on recent data (2010) - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10154775

Interesting idea's Aimee. Need to think through it, but it does correlate with some of my own isolated and anecdotal experiences.

It's just a rollerblading

It's just a rollerblading theory, but I think there's something to it, Emily. Thanks for commenting on your own experience--I can identify.

I've met a tricky rock or

I've met a tricky rock or two.

Ian, I said no laughing!

Ian, I said no laughing! Anyway, it makes for a good opening line at the writer's expense. :)

This is the first time I've

This is the first time I've heard this theory about artists and their collective tendency to get a case of the crazies. I'm not an artistic genius but I do work as an illustrator from time to time, and I find I only do my best work when I pray first and ask God to help me to use the talent he's given me. When I have forgotten to do so I end up antsy and dissatisfied with my work.

Great points, Aimee. Weakness

Great points, Aimee. Weakness exposed and strength supplied. God does wonderful stuff in our lives, doesn't he?


P.S. My wife and I were out rollerblading the other day too. Sometimes my rollerblading looks like the work of an artistic genius. Like performance art, usually represented in the abstract forms I adopt as one of my wheels slams into a rock and sends my body flying into nearby shrubbery.

Hey everyone, how many

Hey everyone, how many "housewife" blogs have you read that start with the phrase "As I was rollerblading the other day. . ."

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