Art and Madness

There are studies on the connection between the artistic impulse and mental illness. The best are books written by Kay Redfield Jamison, especially her “Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.”

In that book, she charts hundreds of writers, from George Gordon Lord Byron to Virginia Woolf, and reveals how the mental illness played a role in their writing.

In this podcast, I speak about my own struggles with manic-depression, and how it has played a role in my own impulse to write, my own need to get words on the page that reflect whatever’s in my head. It relieves the pressure; and, if I’m lucky, it’ll make for a good piece of literature.


4 responses to “Art and Madness”

  1. dyane Avatar

    You might be interested in my memoir “Birth of a New Brain” which was endorsed by Kay Redfield Jamison.
    I wrote about my postpartum bipolar disorder and how childbirth triggered not only bipolar but hypergraphia, the bizarre condition to write compulsively that’s usually associated in temporal lobe epilepsy.

    I look forward to listening to your podcast, Marcos!

    Take care,


    p.s. This is my latest podcast with the London-based Mental Health Book Club:

    1. Marcos McPeek Villatoro Avatar
      Marcos McPeek Villatoro

      I am now ordering your book! And look forward to hearing your podcast. I love reading more about the ins & outs of this illness, I’ll dive into your book once it gets to me!

  2. dyane Avatar

    p.s. You have a wonderful speaking voice. As the daughter of a speech pathologist/actress, I know a great voice when I hear one. 🙂 Dr. Jamison is a clinical psychologist, not a psychiatrist. I used to think she was a psychiatrist as well. Many people assume she’s a psychiatrist since she teaches psychiatry. & co-authored the classic textbook “Manic Depressive Illness” with Frederick K. Goodwin.

    1. Marcos McPeek Villatoro Avatar
      Marcos McPeek Villatoro

      Thanks so much–and thanks for the correction about Dr. Jamison. I’m glad you like my voice, sometimes I cringe!

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