Old Moon

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What Have I Been Thinking!

When I signed on this afternoon, I didn't intend to write a new post. I was going to try to catch up to reading some of my favorites after six days with no Internet access (my modem/router died).

Now, after allowing those tantalizing links to draw me ever farther from the original blogs, I realize there's something I want to toss out in the nature of a question that basically isn't intended to be rhetorical:  must a writer be a survivor of more than an ordinary stint at living to be any good? Must one be a one-time addict? An abused child or even adult? A divorcee? A bereft parent? An erstwhile POW? Victim of crime? Sentenced to an incurable disease?

I don't even remember my adolescence as unhappy and fraught. Youthful stupidities came out all right in the end; I got a reputable college degree and a job. I made one forgivable mistake and broke an engagement, but quit crying about him in a couple of months. Then I married the best man for me that probably could have been chosen by the stars or a matchmaker. Chemistry, matching ethical values, contrasts where we both needed them, synchronicities that welded us like the gates of Fort Knox. Three children who have made us proud. In 57 years, things go wrong, but so many were right, the sense is of the best we could have had.

Does that mean I might as well throw in the towel as a writer? Looking back on my short stories and probably half of my poetry, even what was written many years ago, I see I often used loss as a theme. Doubtless evidence of cowardice, a fear of no longer having what I at least had the sense to value, even at the time.

A quick scan of literary biographies is a daunting prospect. Either I have to decide to ignore them, or find something else to satisfy this urge to make connections. Is there any other writer out there who has been unlucky enough to live a happy life?


Glenda Beall said...

What a problem to have! Living a happy life. I have good friends who have pondered the same question, but I think they are good writers. Neither of them are famous, but one is not interested in publishing and the other writes short stories and poetry.
That is a good question - can you be a great writer if you have not lived a life filled with woe?
My Love used to tell me I'd never be a great writer because he made me happy and everyone knows a good artist or writer has to suffer.

JLC said...

But that's the question really, isn't it? Must a great artists suffer? If the answer is always yes, then we know however good at his or her art one is, one must be a wreck (recovered?) before there's any hope of being better than just good. It's enough to make self-destruictive neurotics of anyone who would like to create anything! ;-)