Writing and the Dark Place

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, and I thought that her positive disposition towards writing admirable. While it is obviously fluffy, and Gilbert’s magnum opus is the fluff piece Eat, Pray, Love, I just wanted to read something on writing and mental health state of writers (e.g. Edgar Allan Poe=seminal Gothic author=also alcoholic, incredibly erratic life, Ernest Hemingway=PTSD sufferer, alcoholic, etc.= recognized for writing style… etc., Virginia Woolf = well known modernist authors = depression and suicide). Do you think the tragic plot of the author’s life made them more famous? Did the torture of the soul make for beautiful writing? This can be too big, so feel free to trim this down. It can also extend to other artistic medium (think Van Gogh= cut off his ear… )

  • Hi Jill, what a great choice of topic. You've provided wonderful starting points, though it's a little broad at the moment, so I'd advise anyone hoping to pick this up to perhaps narrow it down a bit (pick one perhaps, Alcoholism, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, etc). The question of whether an artist requires a struggle with something innate for the production of good art has been around for quite a while, so it'd also be interesting to see examples of those who've conquered their demons, or whose demons play little part in their pursuit of creating art. – Matchbox 3 months ago
  • I've thought about this topic a lot, and what I find so interesting about it is how people who are so broken manage to create beautiful works of art, even if they are very dark works. I think because these authors were dealing with things such as mental illness, drugs and alcohol, etc., it allowed them to gain a new perspective on the world (and maybe on themselves as writers), one that "normal" people cannot not see. I don't necessarily think that these authors' tragic lives is what made them famous, but I think it is the work that came out of such a tragic life that is remarkable. Even if they didn't think these works were any good, these authors created something curious, beautiful, and appealing. I'm not sure how helpful this note is, but I hope I sparked some thinking! This is a really cool topic! – oqville5 2 months ago
Taken by princessmia (PM) 2 months ago.

Want to write about Writing or other art forms?

Create writer account