writers_and_suicide_truebluemagazine Arts & Culture

Why Do Writers Commit Suicide? To Get to the Other Side!


Death by typewriter or shotgun by pistol packin’ drunken writers is a literary affair of the macabre, that gives new meaning to the finish of a novel – a finality to the sense of THE END! It can approach the joys felt of winning the Pulitizer Prize for prose or poetry to the truly depressed and mania-driven writer of words, and will manifest itself as a double-barreled legacy on the lost and found but profound pedestal of profundity.

We read, we heed, we memorize the mantra of depression experienced by our women of letters, only (or is it just me?) it seems the literary men off themselves in greater numbers, approaching a suicidal frenetic frenzy with more frequency than our female counter parts. Also, male writers seem to have an ongoing love affair and battle with a bottle of booze handy by the typewriter to offset the pain of the blank page as it sits staring with blank eyes back at its creator who is not very creative at times. The writer blames the paper for its thin viscosity and tosses it in the trash. The writer knows in advance of this malady, elsewise why have a trashcan at his side at the ready anyway? It’s called literary limitation and its demon is that of depression.

Ernest Hemingway suffered from depression, and self- confessed loss of creativity. It was enough to make him grab his shotgun and blow off his cranium, once so full of bullfights in Spain and life on the ocean fishing for marlin. Once creativity is lost, all can be is lost to a writer. Hunter Thompson ended it all with a pistol in hand, not a shotgun, but going one step further had his ashes shot from a cannon in celebration in Colorado. Again, the pain was too much. The fear, the loathing, where the buffalo roamed no more, the words were recycling themselves into a creative compost of leftovers. The only way out was not a million dollar advance from a publisher but a three cent bullet in a chamber, locked and loaded.

Not all writers die by committing suicide. The blank paper is the receptacle of the writers ideas, thoughts and emotions, but when sentence structure is hindered by kindred handicaps that result in syntax submerged in an ocean of obscure thought, and prose and poetry is relegated to a dumpster in the writer’s alley of junkies and drunks who offer neither help nor resistance, nor assistance of any kind but stay hidden in dark corners behind wet boxes used by the homeless to escape the cold of the city night, much as the writer’s ideas, thoughts and perfect synchronization, and flow of thoughts, likewise the idea in mind to sentence on paper to paragraphs on the page of page one of the novel become lost, homeless, and addicted to the bondage of number 10 bonded paper and bonded booze with a twist off cap that relieves the pain of creative dysfunction.

However, these ideas cannot fill in the gaps of the creative potholes left on the page as the writer falls down on the job with paragraph paranoia and the demons of bad punctuation and sentence structure so weak the building process will cause the story to crumble like old architecture on a fault line. Now just suppose that when you juxtapose your piñata of poetry and prose it doesn’t have three dimensions but four dementias. A writer begins a sentence, a project as though he is entering a village unknown, not on the maps; holographic mandalas appear as he sees young zen cheerleaders in revealing skirts of Catholic plaid, along with visions of other writers and poets and writing hipsters spinning out of orbit with a post-Beat cadence, swimming and sailing as great Ahab whaling ships in search of a novel, a story, a great white whale in a kaleidoscopic sea of murals filled with mermaids. There are beastly large frescoes, obscenely obese as magneto generators deep inside the creative vagina. The writer opens the bottle for another drink.

 The mind’s eye tries in vain to see the story, waiting for it to unfold, yet at first blockage, it only can see the dilated vacant alley eye socket stares of people with disabilities who have been the institutionalized, intuition disabled and tries to eavesdrop on those silent screaming voices in the head of characters so he can give them life and form and add them to the page of words.  He, the writer, like the non-fiction and fictional victims imprisoned in wheelchairs, straitjackets and hopped up on narco midnight pills while interjecting injections of sweet dreamy morphine. Alcohol and other drugs and alcohol inducing calm, allowing the writer to circumnavigate his own private Polar Ice Caps, past giant icebergs, round and round the Cape we go, circular storyline explorations they are, easy to negotiate, except for those 90 degree corners of fleeting reality that appeared only as more hallucinations obscuring what they really were.

Those recesses, the corners, the 90 degree forks in the literary road, are illuminated in deep shadow by electric currents, pulsating and twitching in orgasmic release, en route  it themselves to the grand nerve central station, exposing the masks of drunkards with tankards, comedians and dexadrinians. The broken mirror in the men’s room fires back olfactory warning shots over the head and a pile of neon lipstick tubes lie in the bottom of an empty William Holden swimming pool complete with the completed screenplay about Sunset Boulevard. The story finally makes itself known, and ready for the writer’s hacksaw to cut it to size, as he becomes William Burroughs and Humphrey Bogart, with visions of bright lights emanating from a very secretive Left Bank French underground, thick with homosexual transexual gender-defying mascara that penetrated deep into the bowels of the cabaret underworld of a bereft Berlin.

A socialista workers’ paradise appeared in it’s glitzy place, forewarning of a possible fornication as he sat down on the floor of the bar to watch Tom Joad and the False Maria getting it on, electing eventually to erect monstrous and preposterous monuments to The Lost Generation writers. Writing, as Hemingway said, can be like blasting though rocks to make a tunnel through the mountains. While writers like Hemingway and Thompson opted to off themselves, writers like Burroughs reached for his pile of pills, and with his loaded brain of Traffic’s Medicated Goo chased his own demons onto the page and ate them naked for lunch…oh give me home where the buffalo…and the literary roam and answers the question, for whom does the literary bell toll..it tolls for thee, we, and me – now you know the truth – and the answer – why did the writer die by commit suicide? Possibly, just possibly to get to the other side!


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