Writers have long been plagued with the notion that in order to write well one must be tortured, either by their past or their present. There have been plenty of times I admit to buying into the idea of needing to be in a dark place, allowing the pain to present itself to the paper with the only form of expression I know to obtain relief – the written word. While I do think pain is especially provocative and stimulating for a writer, I don’t think it’s necessary for a writer to write well. I won’t argue with the songwriter who says they wrote their best sad songs while depressed or drunk. There’s plenty of evidence to prove them correct. Even Hemingway is quoted with saying “…all one has to do to write is to sit at a typewriter and bleed,” but do we have to be in a place of emotional hell to write deep, meaningful or painful writing? We need to be able to have balance in our lives don’t we, to be able to write all forms of emotion, even while in a very happy place in one’s life? To put this idea to a little test, I wrote the following.
Tis the Season…
Giddy from the butterflies that light from dawn to dusk,
Drunk on wine sweetened with the ripened fruit of lust.
She didn’t catch herself before she fell – too late she’s going down
Her heart is full of summer, her soul is winter bound.
He whispered with a silver tongue, dreams made for two
Until fear grabbed him tight, former promises now untrue.
Ruined he’d be, in his little town of ten – what would people think?
Oh, what would they think of him?
A king of a man, fallen from his pedestal on high, surely he’s not capable of
Living such a lie?
It must be the wretch; she’s the reason for his fall
Why else would he stray, why else, after all?
No matter that he pretends no damage has been done
He’ll always know in the quiet moments that he lost ‘the one’
She’s always wanted a Christmas tree adorned with ornamental balls
Since his seem sure to fit the bill, now she knows who to call
Okay – so I made light of the situation in the end, but I was shooting for spitefulness. Do you think I lost my ability to stay focused on the intensity of the original sentiment? Do you think we write better when experiencing personal difficulties? Are there any happy writers out there? What are your thoughts on the matter?