Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Writers and Suicide
Do we take our work as writers too seriously? Do we mistake the forest for the trees? Do we invest too much of ourselves in our writing? Or, when writers and other artists commit suicide, is it something they would have done anyway? Why did Hemingway kill himself? Or Sylvia Plath? Or Hart Crane? What was the hopelessness that caused them to want to die? Of course, we can only speculate. Hemingway was well respected as a writer. His work had been a success--at least to the outside world. Plath and Crane were young when they died. It's a little easier to see the connection between their writing and their deaths. Yet, they all had problems that had nothing to do with writing--alcoholism, depression, perhaps for Crane a sense of failure. And, back in their days, there weren't the drugs we have today to fight depression, and I have no doubt that depression played a part in the deaths of all three. Had Hemingway failed as a writer, and Plath and Crane succeeded wildly as writers, they all may still have committed suicide. Which begs the question, Is there a connection between depression and writing? Do depressed people tend to take their writing more seriously than the non-depressed?