I should probably warn you beforehand that as I write this post, I suffer from a tremendous bout of common cold and have a monstrous headache, not to forget a tad bit emotional. Funnily enough, I was reading Agatha Christie's Hallowe'en Party, where my favorite Hercule Poirot says "The trouble with a catarrhal cold is that is hard to glean the proper amount of sympathetic consideration from one's friends". Such is my case. Today, I took the day off, and was watching You've Got Mail and admiring both the bookshops in the movie where the scene comes where Meg Ryan's character is down with cold. And Tom Hanks' character, who is madly in love with her, comes to visit her with a bunch of daisies, her favorite flowers. Now, I don't know when I became of romantic disposition, but suddenly I wish somebody would come up to me with a primo Café Mocha from Costa Coffee and maybe some lilies won't hurt. But that's asking for too much, I know.
But that is not what I intended to write about today. I was just thinking about what lots of people have telling me to do: taking my writing seriously. A hard task. It requires a dedication.
Anyways, I got thinking of women writers in particular and then, gradually, onto something, a teacher of mine had said something in passé over 2 years ago: All women writers commit suicide. Now, that, obviously is not true. But it got me thinking.
Most of the women writers do seem to suffer from some sort of a depression. Most. Not all. I hope. I mean, people like Doris Lessing and Arundhati Roy and even Sarah Webb seem okay... psychologically. But most women writers do really seem to be troubled.
The most famous example of this is Virginia Woolf. I haven't read much by her... just a few essays and Mrs. Dalloway, but still, I adore the way she writes. I do. Except for the lesbian bit which I frankly don't/ can't relate to. She writes with this poetic, rhythmic truth, it almost breaks your heart. Oh, if you're a fan of Mrs. Dalloway, please watch The Hours. It's beautiful. It is. Virginia Woolf was famously a psychological case. She was always nervous, apparently imagined things and well, you get the idea. In the end, life became simply too unbearable for to live. It's tragic and I feel really bad for her husband, Leonard Woolf. He seemed to have genuinely love her.. which most men & women won't do when your wife or husband is "mad" and has a history of committing suicide.
Ok, the next: Emily Dickinson. I mean, dude, she kept herself confided to one tiny room. In that sense, the exact opposite of Woolf who wanted to get back to London with all its charm and life. Dickinson started wearing only white. Didn't come out of her room for years they say. Starting changing her name's spelling. And fantasized about Death.
Agatha Christie is known to have run away and "disappeared" because her 1st husband walked out on her for another woman as a result of which Christie suffered from depression.
No, ok, of course this is a stereotype... all women writers cannot be unhappy! I'm not. Touchwood.
But maybe sadness and suffering has something to do with writing.. Maybe. Maybe you can assess certain emotions better then. Maybe it's not just women, maybe it's men too. But there is something intangible there. J. K. Rowling is among my favorite authors ever and she openly admits to having suffered from depression. I really admire her and she has helped me with her Harvard Speech in getting me out of a really hard time in life. Her courage to get through this thing, with practically no ray of hope for a secure tomorrow and her will, still, to write Harry Potter's life down on paper is inspiring to me. If I were under clinical depression, or nervous or shut up in my own room willingly, I doubt if I would have the will to write.
Jane Austen is my other favorite author. She never married. And she lived in the 19th Century!! She created Mr. Darcy. I wonder whether society's taunts ever got to her.
It's amazing how these women kept their will to write.