A lifetime ago, my friends and I would spend time talking heavy. One of the topics, since we were listening to what others might have described as depressing music (Cure, Bauhaus, Smiths), was did you need to be unhappy to create good music.
Well, I can't speak to good music but last week my dog, Bear, died. I was completely unprepared for the intensity of the shock and grief I felt. I and my family were (are still) devastated. For three days, I could not bring myself to touch my guitar.
For me, I now know that unhappiness, in the extreme, kills creativity (apparently not for my daughter who took a number of wonderful photographs).
This weekend, exactly one week almost to the hour when it happened I recorded Grief. I'm not sure it qualifies as good or how it comes across. But I can tell you that I was weeping as I played the last note.
It was cathartic but I remain sad. I also have no desire to play that anymore. Right now I cannot imagine how Clapton could sing about his son night after night.
For the rest of the weekend, I spent as much time as I could wangle hiding out in the Lab making music. Which leads to the conclusion that mid-grade unhappiness seems to be good for creativity.
What about other parts of the emotional landscape?