Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why You Can't Write

Your entire problem with literary pursuits can be put down to one simple fact. You must be happy.

Wake Forest University's pride and joy, Eric G. Wilson, has put out a new book that explains his concept of misery as a source of creativity. You don't need Prozac or any other pill that lifts your glum mood. You need the core of your sad being to tap into if you're to make it in the writing game.

According to the professor, creativity springs from sorrow and sadness. If you aren't gloomy over impending doom, how can you appreciate that which is beautiful? If you're so feckin' busy pursuing happiness, you can't begin to examine the unhappiness that novels are built upon.

To read Mr. Wilson's Against Happiness is to understand why writers turn to drink. If your world isn't already full of ups and downs, you have no choice but to create the roller coaster of emotion that is so essential to good writing. Nothing like the downside of a pounding hangover to make you ponder some conflict that you can then assign to your imaginary characters.

Feeling perky today? Suffering from writer's block? Consider your own mortality, and the possibility that you'll never see your name in print and no one will ever listen to what you have to say. Sliding into abject misery, are you? Good. You're well on your way to completing your novel and achieving literary fame, which should make you even more miserable in a different way, and won't it be easy to compose that second book?

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