Man, I wrote some pretty good shit when I was depressed.
Well, good by my own standards anyway. Sentences that were actually interesting to read. Paragraphs that clearly conveyed a message, that related whatever part of the human condition I was experiencing. Articles that had a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Now, I’m healthier. Memories that use to feel like a shotgun blast to the chest now make me laugh. I still have depressive episodes, but I get light-speed angry instead of cripplingly sad. I consistently wake up early. I go to the gym often. I study much more than I used to. I bounce back from rejection faster.
But I don’t write.
Thanks to continual mentions by delicioustacos, I’ve been reading Bukowski. Specifically Women. It’s brilliant. The story of a man who lives only to exist. To drink and fuck women. A lot of women. With zero effort. A man who could openly admit that the majority of humanity bored him to tears and that the only thing that made this soul-crushing thresher of a thing called life tolerable was the escape of alcohol and easy pussy. Reading my own, old material, when I had serious mental illness that continually deteriorated, I feel the same kind of empathy that I do with Bukowski. That comfort that comes from knowing that you are not alone; that someone else shares your flaws. And it’s ok.
Is good writing borne of suffering? I don’t know.