I’ve lost count of the amount of writers who are self-proclaimed lunatics or have been cited as such. It makes you wonder if all writers are cracked, or just the good ones. When you type “are all writers” into google the four first suggestions are: crazy, alcoholics, depressed, and introverts, so it’s a pretty common theory. I don’t intend to glorify mental illness or suffering of any kind. If anything I hate the people who think mental illness is romantic but I’m digressing here. The point is most writers are crazy, and that’s okay. I think that writing can be a source of comfort or a release for people who are struggling, and some people are pretty damn good at writing about their issues.
People are usually concerned when I say that Sylvia Plath is my favourite poet. Obviously I think her suicide was tragic and she certainly did have a difficult life, but her poems and stories are absolutely beautiful in my opinion. My favourite living poet, Shane Koyczan, has some pretty dark poems but it’s the dark and harrowing poetry that makes an impact on people. I sent “My Darling, Sara” to a friend once and it made her cry; happy poetry doesn’t do that.
My English class in 6th year hated Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, no one said that she was necessarily a bad poet; the criticism was that she just seemed “too normal”. Whereas Emily Dickenson on the other hand was a recluse, Robert Frost seemed like a pretty troubled individual, and John Montague had his family issues. They all turned to writing, and it goes without saying that they all had a knack for it.
I feel uncomfortable referring to myself as a writer. I like to write but when do you gain the title? I even decided to pursue it in college because I honestly don’t have an aptitude for much else and beer pong doesn’t count. I wouldn’t dream comparing myself to any of the writers above, but the work I’m most proud of is usually the product of not being in the best of places, insomnia, or being a little tipsy. My favourite poem I’ve ever wrote was the product of all three, but I don’t intentionally put myself in those positions for the sake of a few decent poems. It’s more important to look after yourself, but writing can be therapeutic.
Maybe everyone is a little crazy but the writers are just open about it?
Aisling is a writers based in Limerick City and kindly blogs for Stanzas and also has her own blog here which you should totally check out.