Friday Cliché: The Depressed Writer/Artist

Every Friday we’ll be taking some cliché and hyper analyzing to get to the bottom of why it exists and what truth there is to each one. Some may ask, why? That “some” sucks, because analyzing and deconstructing things till you become unable to see straight is the most fun you can have without $50 in Chinatown. Plus, there’s got to be a reason behind all these things right? People don’t just go around making up random stereotypes and running with them. If they did ,race jokes would be awesome; I’d just let everyone know how East Asians have laser vision and the ability to walk through walls and the world would become magical, or you know, super afraid of curry. Back to the point, clichés are super fun, we’re super bored, and picking things apart like a meth addict with acne is entertaining. So, first up to bat, The Depressed Writer/Artist.

HOWL-6009

(Note: I wrote this from the writers point of view cause I can’t draw for shit, but just insert artist for writer and it pretty much still works)

The idea that all writers are depressed or in the best cases sad and/or psychotic isn’t something new. We’ve got your Dylan Thomas’s and Poe’s drinking themselves to death, and your Plaths and Hemingways taking the express train to darknessville. So, it’s not exactly an unsubstantiated claim. But, why the frowns? Why do people who journal their thoughts and share with the world, feel the need to be depressive shits? Let’s break it down list style, people like lists and I like not having to build anything that resembles a plot or story arc.

1. No One Writes When They’re Happy: It’s Friday night people are giggling, drinking overpriced mixed drinks, and having multiple explicit relations of the biblical kind. If you’re a writer you’re probably one of two places, your house being sad and thinking about the people who don’t have acute agoraphobia, or out with people drinking considerably more than they are and being reflective. If you’re not. If you are truly content, and in a great place, then you’re out being in that great place with friends and fun and living that Caligula lifestyle. Maybe, it’s a sunny summer day and you’re feeling perfect and warm and included. If any of those peppy things are going on, you’re probably not writing it down, or writing much of anything. You’re out living life and being human. You start to reflect and create moments or comment on society when you become isolated from it. No one is sitting in a crowd of friends and loved ones with a MacBook writing the next great novel. Let’s take the good old 20th century party boy Fitzgerald. He went out, had a time, and came back to his home. Did he write about all the friend he made? Nah man, he started the teary eyed analyzation of everything and what it was doing to his psyche. Simply put, if you have a life you’re living it, if you don’t, you’re writing about the one you could/could’ve had.

2. Reading is Lonely: I’m going to take a chance here and say that most writers either read, or write for people who read. Just a bit of a guess on that one. How often do you sit in a crowd of people, reading a book and feel social? You’re either with people being the weird withdrawn person in the corner, or you’re at a home/library/coffee shop by yourself because nobody loves you. That last one might be a little hyperbolic, but let’s just say that the people who may love you are probably somewhere else. If you are a writer, you’re trying to connect to people out there and you’re writing from their point of view (writing a point of view for them). A solemn person creating something new out of nothing. You may go the teenager route and feel all understood by the books you read/write, but if that works it’s just for a little while.

3. Writers are Assholes: Some writers will pull worlds and universes out of their asses like literary anal beads, these guys are a rarity and I’m pretty sure they’re all super autistic (Tolkien). The ones who don’t, your vast majority, are just writing down what they’ve seen, who they’ve met, and where they’ve been. Until you really look at this action, you may think that it’s loving, or a tribute, but in actuality it’s an objectification. Each person you meet is a new character, something to be extrapolated and corrupted (within your head) to fit the narrative you want to create. This narrative seeps onto the page/screen and into your life, causing you to cereberally distort your own reality to fit the manifested one. The first person plural is gone, you are the narrator, and you’re omnipotent and detached, not the best building block for successful relationship. Speaking of relationships, forget about girlfriends, you’ll care and nurture, but they’ll always be another, and you’ve become just yourself in a world of others, in essence, an asshole.

4. No One Gets It: When you write, you may try to establish some sort of signature, something to make you the next Burroughs/Bukowski/Cummings, you’re new and refreshing and everyone will be in awe of your vision. Well, first of all you’re not Burroughs, that dude flew way past depressed into flat out dope fueled insanity and kind of just vomited words out without regard. You’re trying to construct this new “thing”. If you’re shit at it, which you probably are, it will become either contrived or completely unreadable, which will make you feel like an idiot (hint:you are). If you’re good, if you’re the voice that’s creating a new way to look at writing as an art, one or two people might understand what you’re doing, while the others will be analyzing and debating like madmen, getting everything wrong and making you feel like your writing unibomber manifestos on the bathroom walls of the Chealsea Hotel. If you didn’t feel alone writing it (you did), you sure as shit feel alone now. At one time, no one understood you, now that you’ve written something, no one understands fictional you as well.

5. The Chicken or the Egg: Writing may seem innately depressing, but it doesn’t necessarily cause depression, at least the DSM-IV hasn’t listed anything that I know about it. Sitting alone staring at a computer or notepad, analyzing existence is a big downer, but it’s more of a symptom than a cause. If you feel like shit and isolated from the world, you’re probably going to want to get out of that feeling. Since the outside world is your problem it’s probably best to write it out and get it away from you, or at least create some distance between yourself and the feelings. That’s why the crazies write, that’s why Xanga was a fucking thing, and that’s why I’m sitting here writing about writing.

Disclaimer: Journalists can go suck a dick, with your conversations and interactions and happy times. Go interview Charlie Manson or something, we don’t have time for you in our circle of self pity.

Disclaimer of Disclaimer: Exclude our journalists from this, as well as, myself when I do something journalisty. Fuck, Dan Rather though, unless he reads this and wants to give me a job. I’m trying to sell out, stop writing, and buy a yacht, traveling and being happy and all that.

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