ear this. I once was in one those smokey bars in Berlin. Techno was pumping and energized by it I moved to the bar displaying my best John-Wayne walk impression, like a sort of suburban peacock. All this to try my luck with the waitress. Before reaching the bar, on one of the swings hanging from the ceiling, I saw a young man, eyes down on a notebook. I could see the existential pain in his posture and the fragility of the entire mankind in his shaky hands. Of course — He was an artist.
Oh, artists! Irresistibly impulsive masters of destiny. And actors! Fascinating beasts lost in their roles to the point of not being able to find the way back to reality. And musicians, directors, and of course… Writers! Gentle souls worn out by words, consumed by cigars and soaked in alcohol to the tips of their souls.
C’mon, say it! You are not going to?
Ok, I will: Writers are a bunch of flaming weirdos!
And you know what? Now even science confirms it.
A scientific study published in 2012 has monitored for decades 1.2 million Swedes in search of a link between creativity and mental illness. It turns out that authors have a probability of committing suicide that is 50% higher than that of any normal individual.
Swedes are crazy, man!
OK, fair point. But I must emphasize that also more recent studies — conducted by other research groups and on different populations — seem to confirm this link.
So… No. It is not just the Swedes.
If you are a writer then know that sooner or later you may need to deal with your suicidal tendency — That 50% figure that hangs on you like a half sword of Damocles, sort of like the artist I saw on the swing in Berlin.
Now, you are a writer, right? Therefore creative, visionary even — You are able to create anything. It should not be that hard for you to devise an epic way to depart.
Perhaps jumping into 50 tons of molten iron? Walking into the Olympic flame? Stepping into a tiger’s den? … the list continues here
Wait! I do not have time for this!
I know, I know. We are writers, we already have a lot of things to do! We have to: Play with social networks, write blog posts that no one will read, smoke cigars, write thousands and thousands of words. How can we also have time to come up with an epic way to end it all?
Ernst Toller, Stefan Zweig, Ernest Hemingway, the list of famous suicidal authors to draw inspiration from is very long. You have no excuses!
But before you give in to your destiny and bask in the pleasures of eternity, there is one simple thing left to do: keep writing.
Fight with the unexpected folds of the plot, argue day and night with your characters, deliver a great story, and finally shine like the glorious victor in the sublime club of timeless authors.
Then and only then, dear suicidal writer, you are allowed to go ahead.
That 50% chance is with you.
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