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Thread: Writers' Suicides

  1. #61
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    I am of the mind that the creative lifestyle naturally attracts those who are troubled deepest. Why? It is simple, really: when one is depressed they’re constantly trying to create solutions to solve their problems. In the case of many writers their attempted solutions were their literary works.

    Perhaps the reason that writers have the highest suicide rate out of any other form of artist is because writing is one of, if not, the deepest form of expression, thus naturally attracts those who have the most to create, and those with the most to create are those who have the most problems to solve. Poetry/writing, unlike many other forms of art, has the potential for immense figurative and literal meaning, whereas in painting, for example, much of the meaning to be discovered is figurative, if therein even lies any (a good amount of painting only aims at producing an atmosphere).

    I don’t think that writing leads to depression, but it is only correlated. But let me make clear that correlation does NOT equal causality. I have run into many people who make the mistake of equating correlation with causality and consequently generalizing the character of all writers as depressed.

  2. #62
    Registered User sixsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunninglinguist View Post
    I am of the mind that the creative lifestyle naturally attracts those who are troubled deepest. Why? It is simple, really: when one is depressed they’re constantly trying to create solutions to solve their problems. In the case of many writers their attempted solutions were their literary works.

    Perhaps the reason that writers have the highest suicide rate out of any other form of artist is because writing is one of, if not, the deepest form of expression, thus naturally attracts those who have the most to create, and those with the most to create are those who have the most problems to solve. Poetry/writing, unlike many other forms of art, has the potential for immense figurative and literal meaning, whereas in painting, for example, much of the meaning to be discovered is figurative, if therein even lies any (a good amount of painting only aims at producing an atmosphere).

    I don’t think that writing leads to depression, but it is only correlated. But let me make clear that correlation does NOT equal causality. I have run into many people who make the mistake of equating correlation with causality and consequently generalizing the character of all writers as depressed.
    If i remember correctly, Styron makes some broadly similar points in his memoir, Darkness Visible.
    'Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.' - Groucho Marx

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by sixsmith View Post
    If i remember correctly, Styron makes some broadly similar points in his memoir, Darkness Visible.
    I own DV and I don't remember Styron putting it quite like that, though it has been awhile, and for subjective non-fiction it left a bad taste in my mouth.

    I've always found Styron to be a bit priggish.

  4. #64
    BadWoolf JuniperWoolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    I think that was death by accidental overdoes. He was pretty good at what he did.
    It was listed as "heart failure," brought on by a lifetime of binge drinking and drugs. There's controversy about that, though. Some people think that his body was moved from a club where he overdosed to the bathtub in his appartment where Pam found him the next morning. Some people think that he didn't even die (which happens when anyone famous kicks the bucket).
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    Cunning: For a new member, you tap dance pretty well, but I am not sure it is that simple. You have suicides in the armed forces and high fiance as well, and these folks aren't looking for solutions to emotional pain.

    When I was in university, looking back, I allowed despondency to make me sluggish and moody, but to my memory, this was not internally chronic, but writers probably are prone to having depression become chronic, for any number of reasons, probably most inclusive of personal loss, and in my case, too, the continual reminder that bylines mean absolutely nothing, but it is what we have to do.

    I have had fans worship me and even back then, wanted nothing more than to kick them in the teeth for thinking what flowed out of my colon was gold, so I am not big on the fan base thing and only slipped up myself with icon worship 2 and a half times, the half being I sent Anne Rice a letter and in a nice way told her where she could shove it, so to speak--though it was a waste of time, because when Rose had her on his show her facial expression all but screamed it out that she was on the verge of hysteria. The bookmark her assistant sent me was cool though.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuniperWoolf View Post
    Some people think that he didn't even die (which happens when anyone famous kicks the bucket).
    Jim's definitely alive; some say he's living in Oregon.

    Others say the Seychelles.

    But this site is clearly the winner in knowing where Jimmy really is; who could doubt a site that says this about itself?

    Wheatgrass was blown away by the heavy reality trip. She immediately called the Heathen World and sold us the story for thousands of dollars because of our renown journalistic integrity.
    It's easily the most believable as it has Morrison out of his mind in a San Francisco nuthouse.

    And all this time I thought he and Elvis were running a rental car company in Bogota...
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

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  7. #67
    Registered User sixsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozanny View Post
    I own DV and I don't remember Styron putting it quite like that, though it has been awhile, and for subjective non-fiction it left a bad taste in my mouth.

    I've always found Styron to be a bit priggish.
    I just had quick flick through DV and I think you are right Joz. I had much the same reaction as you and, for some reason, I always attributed it to Styron's conflation of emotional pain and artistic endeavour (no offense Cunning: doubtless there is fertile ground to be explored). Seeing things afresh, I suspect that my distaste for Styron's confessional pamphlet is due largely to his penchant for cliche: an extra fatal flaw when trying to explore the idiosyncrasies of mental illness.
    Last edited by sixsmith; 05-13-2010 at 09:36 PM.
    'Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.' - Groucho Marx

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuniperWoolf View Post
    It was listed as "heart failure," brought on by a lifetime of binge drinking and drugs. There's controversy about that, though. Some people think that his body was moved from a club where he overdosed to the bathtub in his appartment where Pam found him the next morning. Some people think that he didn't even die (which happens when anyone famous kicks the bucket).
    You mean that guy I ran into last week didn't just look like an older Jim Morrison

    Perhaps we should remember that most writers are fairly ordinary people who live long lives that are sometimes happy. From those that I can think of there is much difference between the writings of the ones who may be mad and suicidal and those who are not.

    If the use of drugs is a marker, then William S. Burroughs should have died before 1960, but he lived and wrote into his eighties.

  9. #69
    Registered User Sebas. Melmoth's Avatar
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    Wilde said 'the artistic life is a long and lovely suicide'.

    http://www.amazon.com/Oscar-Wilde-Lo...3925900&sr=1-1

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozanny View Post
    Cunning: For a new member, you tap dance pretty well, but I am not sure it is that simple. You have suicides in the armed forces and high fiance as well, and these folks aren't looking for solutions to emotional pain.
    Cant the workoholic be using work as a solution to their emotional pain? I don't know if it's safe to assume that those men who kill themselves who arent writers arent using their work as a solution to their problems.

    Everyone deals with their problems a little bit differently. But art attracts people who deal with their problems by thinking. Business attracts those who deal with their problems by over-working themselves. Drugs attract...etc. Of course everyone solves their problems with a mixture of methods, thus most writers are usually also workoholics and alcoholics. Perhaps just as none of the aforementioned methods actually work a writer sometimes culminates his problem solving career by taking his own life.

    Also, Jozanny, I really appriciate the humor in your last paragraph of that post I quoted.
    Last edited by Cunninglinguist; 05-15-2010 at 09:06 AM.

  11. #71
    Registered User Sebas. Melmoth's Avatar
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    Heard that dentists have an high suicide rate.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebas. Melmoth View Post
    Heard that dentists have an high suicide rate.
    Spending their days with their fingers on other people's mouths does strange things to some of them.

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