When I read about the tormented lives of some of the world’s great writers, I can’t help thinking that I may be too normal to make it as an author. Oh sure, I have my strange little quirks. Just ask my wife. Okay…no, on second thought don’t do that.
But Hemingway, Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell…oh hell, I could go on and on. Hemingway, as you know, was an alcoholic and probably a manic depressive. He wound up blowing his head off with both barrels of a shotgun. Orwell was a genius, of course. Just read ‘1984’ if you don’t believe me. But he’s another depressed author whose writing is filled with sadness and misery.
Tennessee Williams was a brilliant playwright but there again, torment and angst. A lot of it having to do with repressed homosexuality. He finally had a complete mental breakdown and died a few years later.
This would be too long a post if I was going to name them all. Suffice it say that the lives of the great writers was very often filled with depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, violence and suicide. And sometimes total and complete insanity.
And yet here I sit in my, not yet completed, writing room. I’m not an alcoholic, although I did have a beer with my dinner. Mmmm…Fat Tire. But no, one beer doesn’t do it. And I’m not depressed. I was a little unhappy yesterday because I broke the windshield on my car. Yeah, like a dumbass I was loading some wood into the SUV and…oops! That doesn’t count, though, does it? I don’t take drugs. Hell, I don’t even smoke legal cigarettes. And I have absolutely no intention of committing suicide. Should I even be bothering to write? I mean, can I turn out meaningful pros when I live such a dull and uninteresting life? Angst, I need angst!
But then again, J.K. Rawlings doesn’t seem crazy. And she’s certainly successful. I just read that her net worth is one billion dollars. Yes, you read that correctly. She’s not a starving artist and doesn’t seem to be filled with angst. Just money. Lots of money.
Of course, some would argue that she’s not a genius in comparison with let’s say, Jack Kerouac. He’s another tormented soul who finally died due to excessive drinking. And some internal bleeding due to a bar fight he’d been in a few days before didn’t help.
But maybe there is some internal strife going on that causes my need to write. Maybe I am tormented and I don’t want to admit it. You know, that’s probably it. It would explain a lot. Like I told you, my wife certainly thinks I’m crazy. So do my kids. And I’ll bet a lot of other people I know think so too. It’s just that, unlike my wife and kids they’re too nice to tell me.
I’m going to get back to my writing, now. I may have a shot at fame, yet!