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miss misery


supposedly, misery makes for great writing. from the depths of anguish comes a sort of purity of feeling, a deeper, more honest sort of creative output. or some such crap. personally, i think that from misery comes a load of self-pity and very little else, at least, when it comes to the way that most of us experience it.

i think what’s at issue here is possibly a choice of words. when people talk about the sort of intense emotion that causes some great (although frequently awful) literature, they aren’t talking about the slow, grinding pressure of being crushed under the burdens of everyday life, in a seemingly contradictory existential state of being thrust into proximity with people, while feeling no sense of identification or companionship with them.

what brings out the poet in everyone is more what i would characterise as “anguish”, that horrific, stabbing tearing feeling that your world is being destroyed. you know, that feeling of having your siginificant other leave you, sleep with someone else, give you a venereal disease (or, if you were born under a lucky artistic star, all three at once).

hey, if you haven’t experienced this sort of thing, i highly recommend doing it at least once, if only to get the creative juices flowing. (i can say that, because i’ve gone through it, more than once, so i can sit back and smugly assume that i’ve paid my dues.)

what i don’t recommend is falling into the trap of prolonged, slow, dull depression that seems determined to squeeze on your throat until it presses every last breath out of you in a drawn-out, tedious cycle that pushes you, ultimately, into an unremarkable hole in the ground. this is how people who once had dreams of creativity end up being that annoying person who spends too much time talking about what their life was like ten, fifteen, twenty years earlier. this is not the misery that leads to some sort of artistic epiphany. this is the kind of thing that leads to a long series of half-finished projects of questionable worth that have a nasty tendency towards an inexplicable sameness, no matter what you do, much like every event in your life...

of course, if you wait long enough, this sort of monotony will eventually drive you stark raving mad, which, as we all know, is only a sliver away from genius.

so cheer up. whatever kind of unhappiness you have in your life now, some day, you’ll be able to transmute it into a magnum opus. until then, stuff sucks.

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