Writers Are Kinda
by Jarad Johnson
Writers are, as a general rule, a strange bunch. It takes someone who’s at least a little strange to concoct wild fantasies and make up stories. I found myself having a conversation with…myself. Debating with myself about whether or not to include a storyline in a piece I’m writing. I’m not sure if me, myself or I won that argument, but it did make me think about what a writer was. Ooohhhhh, self-reflection, I say to myself, so philosophical you are, young padawan. Shut up, you’re insufferable, I say, also to myself. And so on and so forth.
I then began to wonder if writing and mental illness had any crossover. I suppose the main difference is the diagnosis, but then again historically there seems to be an overlap. Lots of writers have suffered from some form of mental illness or addiction. Woolf, Hemingway, Bukowski. You might call them emo before emo existed. It seems that to some extent all authors find the constraints of societal expectations hard to operate under. Writing has always been the outlet for rebellion, non-conformity, and political and societal commentary. It’s no wonder it attracts those who wish to escape or change the world around them.
But of course, like everyone else, writers are flawed, and the ideal worlds that they seek to create are often imbued with the biases of the real one (Bukowski, anyone?). I sometimes think that every book has some flaw that is reflected in its author, which is why literature is one of the penultimate examinations of the human experience and psyche. Apologies, that was quite a mouthful. I see why my professors wanted me to revise some of my more, um, verbose papers. I still think it’s a true statement, though. Writers, many times, reflect and examine the human experience. Even fantasy novels often have an undercurrent of the on goings of the human psyche in them.
So, yes, we are all a little crazy. But it’s appropriate somehow. Gives authenticity to the work. So, keep those conversations with yourself going! They might help you churn out a great novel!
Jarad recently graduated from college at MTSU, loves tea and coffee, and tries to spend every spare second reading. He is a fervent gardener and is fascinated by all related topics and has spent several years writing about this passion. He has been gardening for 6 years and believes that Nature is our greatest teacher. He majored in English with a concentration in literature and plans to pursue and master’s degree in Ecocriticism.