It’s late at night and I’m far from home.

I’m used to that.

Indeed, being far from home is not new to me.

As a kid I am a compulsive runaway.

I mean, who wants to be home all the time?

No, my concern is not due to any spatio-temporal confusion or separation.

What’s worrying me is the company I’m keeping.

She’s supposedly a friend of JJ’s; somebody said Billy the Pill might be a relative…

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.

I won’t say you’re wrong and I won’t say you’re right, morality is irrelevant to this discourse.

‘Tell me,’ she says, ‘as a man who knows Shakespeare… is there a link between madness and creativity?’

Don’t you just love questions like that, at three in the morning, with a spleen full of lust?

She continues:

‘Shakespeare believes that creative genius is only a kiss away from insanity…’

I sense puckered lips invading my space, lips that, up to that temporal point have seemed luscious…

Suddenly the puckering thing threatens.

‘Another drink?’ I suggest.

She nods.

I escape to the kitchen, she starts reciting some crap from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

‘The lunatic, the lover and the poet are of imagination all compact. One sees more devils than vast hell can hold…’ etc. etc.

You’ll be familiar with that bit, I guess.

Now, I don’t ‘know’ Shakespeare, nobody ‘knows’ Shakespeare, I mean, I…

Look, personally I think Shakespeare is over-rated. I mean, the guy never writes an original plot, for Christ sake; just picks up on popular legends and such and moulds them into whatever is topical, like any writer does.

Anyway, this piece is not about Shakespeare.

However, the lunatics and the poets angle appeals to me: crazies and writers, scientists and cranks…

How do you tell the difference?

So, anyway, I’m fumbling around in her kitchen with bottles and glasses and chunks of ice, wishing I was at home, and her question is getting to me:

Is there a link between madness and creativity?

Is there a taxi for hire cruising somewhere close by?

There’s something on the floor, something suspiciously still.

Now, run this: I am totally phobic about cockroaches.

Run it again: I’m starting to hyper-ventilate right now, just typing the word, just thinking about it.

But the light in the kitchen is dim and I have drink taken, so I can’t be sure…

F**k it.

‘Your kitchen is infested with cockroaches’ I holler, ‘and you’re reciting Shakespeare?’

I suddenly remember a lecture given by a certain Professor Thomas, of a certain University’s psychology department:

‘There have always been people in societies and cultures who have different experiences of reality compared with the majority, and there’s always been an overlap between people who have those gifts, or insights, and people who are identified as suffering from mental illnesses…’

Cool, huh?

As things turn out, the cockroach is a cigarette burn, but, you know, I’m mad, I need an excuse to get out of there, and… well, let’s just call it creativity, shall we?

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